341 GORDONS RD, WAIHEKE ISLAND
5
3
5+
SIZE: Land 34ha, house 558sq m.
PRICE INDICATION: $15 million.
INSPECT: By appointment.
ON THE WEB: bayleys.co.nz/2150352
SCHOOL ZONES: Te Huruhi and Waiheke primaries, Waiheke High School.
CONTACT: Clive Lonergan, Bayleys, 0274 993 278.

What we are selling here is the sound of those waves," says Chris Reeves. "The beach is really the value here, we are just selling the beach with the house thrown in."

Chris is referring to the 2km-plus of riparian water frontage of his 558sq m beachfront Waiheke home. On 34ha, it also has a caretaker's cottage, two visitors' units, double garage, helipad, tennis court and boatshed.

Views across Kauaroa Bay take in Koi Island, Church Bay at the western side of the island, Rangitoto and the CBD skyline.

"We travel quite a lot and we haven't seen this duplicated anywhere in the world," he says.

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Only four owners have been privileged to enjoy this property in 150 years. The homestead now has been renovated and extended to measure 558sq m while retaining the character of the original built in 1865.

Chris tells how he came to buy Kauaroa Bay after he and his late wife Margaret sold their Kaikohe farm during the Muldoon years, concerned about the future of a farming industry propped up by government subsidies.

He was looking to buy another property when he saw a Herald advert describing beachfront land close to Papakura. He didn't realise it was on Waiheke.

"But the vendor brought us across from Maraetai, and we stayed for two nights. We got a taxi to pick us up and we went through five farm gates and along the farm track," he says.

"At the time $800,000 could have bought all of Church Bay, or Awaawaroa Bay for $220,000. I thought about buying Church Bay but my wife Margaret said we should buy on the beach. We signed the agreement on the back of a cigarette packet."

When the Reeves bought this property in 1981 it had the original farmhouse including a room added in 1896, the cottage built for the married son of a previous owner, and units built as shearers' quarters.

The couple embarked on major renovations -- practically a rebuild in pine, kauri and macrocarpa, staying true to the traditional lines.

Bedrooms were added upstairs and additional floor space allowed more living spaces, an extra bathroom and the large farmhouse kitchen, which has impressive limestone fossil benchtop slabs. The 52m of veranda fretwork was all done by hand, and islander Tony Jurd crafted the kauri stairway.

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The "boat room", opening to the veranda, is named because of its curved wooden ceiling.

"We put in the equivalent of five man years in 1984 to renovate the home, adding and upgrading as well as putting in the gazebo and pool, sailed across from Maraetai. " That has since been replaced by a heated 11 x 8m pool sitting between the house and beach).

Chris also bought more land from the Rothschild family, but later sold the bulk, retaining these 34ha where 36 head of cattle graze 14 paddocks. Bore water supplies everything on the land.

Eventually, Chris met Jackie and she came to live in the bay.

"We have used this as accommodation for the family, we have seven grandchildren and six children between us," says Jackie, who has planted the land surrounding the homestead in a colourful English country-style garden including a railway sleeper framed potager vegetable and herb gardens, citrus and stone fruit trees among larger, mature trees, including an oak planted on Armistice Day 11 November 1951.

Ask what makes their property special and Chris replies: "The 2.71km of riparian coastline, a private beach, boat ramp, jetty, three moorings and the manmade details like the wine cellar and the tennis court."

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Jackie adds: "It is an open, happy house. It is one of those homes that is great with Chris and I rambling about but it comes alive when the family is here. We do Rotary Christmas parties here, hospice lunches with 200 people, we did the Jassy Dean [community trust] garden safari when we opened the kitchen and turned it into a cafe.

"And when it is just Chris and me here, we sit in the Ma and Pa seats and have a glass of wine, watch the TV. I love that spot because I can see all the roses out the window."

This island property was their permanent base until they bought a beachfront home at Takapuna in 2004, moving across to live on the Shore in 2006.

Chris and Jackie are now selling their piece of island paradise to reduce debt.

"We won't replace this with another rural property. I only need one house. My work here is done," says Chris.