The town came to meet the country for Mangere's well-established McIvor family, controlling the last remaining farm on Auckland International Airport's main road approach.

But the three McIvor siblings have no intention of selling.

Their farm, dotted with rusting car wrecks, gorse and macrocarpa trees, won't be developed into logistics buildings or a paved carparking lot any time soon, says one.

"The airport have wanted to buy it but we say no because it's not compulsory," said part-owner Maureen McIvor, 80, referring to statutory authorities' mandatory acquisition powers under the Public Works Act.

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"We're quite happy to sit here and my oldest brother, he's the one running things," she said of John, 83.

"We're just living quietly."

The McIvor farm. Photo / Jason Oxenham
The McIvor farm. Photo / Jason Oxenham

For more than half a century, the siblings have lived traditionally on the land, sagely watching the advent of a $140 million motorway, supermarkets, new neighbourhood shopping centres, office blocks, hotels, huge new carparking lots and logistics centres like Mainfreight's nearby.

You might have noticed the farm as you head down the increasingly busy George Bolt Memorial Drive towards the airport: a group of buildings with rusting roofs huddles behind large, overgrown hedging to the left, more akin to Smash Palace than the airport's increasingly flash $2.6 billion real estate hub.

A residential letterbox on the four-lane airport approach states the McIvor's address: 162.

"We've been farming here since 1951," says Maureen McIvor, somewhat surprised at the Herald's interest in the unusual property she owns with brothers John, 83, and David, 74.

"We're most probably the only ones left. All the others have been bought up," she says of the formerly rural land along the highway to the now-grand airport entrance.

"We used to run dry animals, bull calves, etc, and had 13 acres [5.2ha]. We sold the back lot and now we've got 10 acres. All the factories and buildings are going up and we don't have our nice view," she laments.

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Rusted vehicles at the McIvor family property on 162 George Bolt Memorial Drive. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Rusted vehicles at the McIvor family property on 162 George Bolt Memorial Drive. Photo / Jason Oxenham

In 2007, the siblings sold a strip to the airport, enabling the creation of the new link, Verissimo Drive, to the east.

McIvor says real estate agents show little interest these days. "They think it's all to do with the airport. It used to be that only the airport could buy us out but now you can sell to anyone."

The farm is just before the roundabout which turns left into Verissimo Drive and right into Landing Drive. Vehicles, farm implements and outbuildings surround the house.

Mark Thomson, the airport's property general manager, agrees the McIvor farm appears unusual, particularly since the creation of a new formal airport entranceway, designed by San Francisco-based urban design adviser James Lord.

Auckland Airport property general manager Mark Thomson.
Auckland Airport property general manager Mark Thomson.

"We are developing to quite a high standard but we respect the desire for land owners to do what they want with their land. We've got an interest in all the land around the airport," Thomson said of acquisition plans.

"We've got a good relationship with them. We don't really divulge our intentions about buying land."

But the airport put a caveat on the farm title this year - a possible sign of its appetite for the farm.

"This forms part of an agreement the Auckland airport has with the McIvors, the content of which is private and which I am not at liberty to discuss," Thomson said.

Auckland Council's valuation information shows the 5ha was valued last year at $5.9 million. Annual rates are $41,068.60.

And while some complain of the increasing activity and noise from overhead jets, Maureen McIvor says that doesn't worry her or the brothers.

The farm

• 5ha property near to airport.
• Last farm on main roadway approach.
• $5.9 million valuation last year.
• Owned by Maureen McIvor, 80, and brothers John, 83, and David, 74.


See a Google Map of the property here: