A multi-million dollar lodge boasting its own waterfall and helicopter pads - and which had previously been illegally bought by Chinese businessmen - is back on the market.
Kourawhero Mountain Lodge spans 100 acres of heritage protected land north of Auckland and includes 18 luxury guest villas, a cocktail bar, restaurant, tennis courts and day spa.
Yet the lodge near Matakana was also subject to a recent Overseas Investment Office investigation.
That led the High Court to last year order Chinese businessmen Zhong Liang Hong and Xueli Ke to sell the property.
Hong and Ke ran afoul of New Zealand law by buying the lodge in 2012 without Overseas Investment Office approval.
Current owner Christopher Tanner was then able to snap up the "majestic purpose-built lodge" for $3.25m in March last year.
That was considerably below its $5.5m Auckland Council valuation, and he has since operated it as a high end getaway with rooms going for up to $490 a night.
Yet just over one year later, the lodge was now back on the market.
Tanner told the Herald he loved the property but had decided to sell now because being aged over 60, he was looking to slow down and take it easier.
Selling agents Bayleys had not listed an expected sale price.
But Tanner said he had been able to snap the lodge up at a great price last year due to the former owners being forced to sell.
"My timing was excellent, but you had to be game to take it on at that point," he said.
That was because although the lodge buildings were purpose built in 2007, little money had been spent on them since.
Tanner subsequently spent the next 18 months and a lot of money upgrading the property in a "labour of love".
"I'm a perfectionist and we've brought it up to an amazing standard," he said.
And while the Covid-19 pandemic had led New Zealand to close it borders to foreign tourists, Tanner claimed it had actually been a blessing in disguise for his business.
Many Aucklanders who might otherwise have holidayed overseas were now spending more time on local getaways, he said.
"Weekends have been fantastic, we're fully booked this weekend, for instance," he said.
While corporate and wedding bookings had been down, they were now also picking up again, including from "big name" corporates, he said.
And the lodge didn't just have appeal to those in the hospitality industry, Bayley's selling agent Diana Coman claimed.
Rich listers could also be tempted to buy the property with its "pair of helicopter pads".
"With its discreet rural setting and easy car and helicopter access to the Super City this property could be of great interest to wealthy individuals seeking a trophy property landholding," Coman said.
Chinese businessmen Hong and Ke earlier bought the lodge in 2012 for $2.55m.
They did this by arranging for New Zealand citizen Arthur Qui Churchill to place the property under a company name in which Churchill was listed as the sole shareholder and director, High Court Justice Mark Woolford concluded in his judgment last year.
This agreement then remained "undocumented" for about one year, Woolford said.
However, in late 2013, Hong and Ke "became aware that Mr Churchill had misappropriated funds in relation to the lodge and had taken out a mortgage against the lodge for his own purposes", he said.
To protect their interests, Hong and Ke undertook legal proceedings against Churchill.
They then transferred the lodge into the ownership of a another company with a separate New Zealand citizen listed as its sole shareholder and director.
However, Hong and Ke again failed to seek OIO approval.
It was only later that they sought to get retrospective OIO approval, but this was rejected.
The OIO then initiated an investigation against the businessmen that led to them being prosecuted in the High Court.
The pair were subsequently ordered to pay $2.95m to the Crown as a fine for buying the lodge and another farm nearby without OIO approval