Thirty-three hectares of open green space, a nine-hole golf course, polo field and a six bedroom mansion with three fireplaces are no longer the property of Eric Watson.
The Te Hihi Estate, in Karaka, carried a CV of just under $6m and served as a $10,000 per night retreat for corporates and celebrities.
It has been sold by businessman Watson’s company Cullen Investments to Luxury Resorts New Zealand according to property records.
Agents for the property confirmed in February that it was up for sale in February and listings indicated offers on it were closed by February 28.
An Agent for New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty, Jason Geddes, confirmed the property had been sold but declined to given any further comment.
Luxury Resorts New Zealand is solely owned by Qing Ye, a Director of GMP pharmaceuticals.
GMP Pharmaceuticals is a recipient of numerous business awards for exporting natural health products to Asian markets through their large factory in East Tamaki.
Watson, who also owns the Vodafone Warriors, once owned both the estate and a nearby stud farm.
Both carried the name ‘Westbury Stud’, but Watson managed to sell the stud in 2009.
The Te Hihi estate also carried the name ‘Westbury’ at the time and was offered up for sale in 2010 through Colliers International but was taken off the market some time afterwards.
At the time it was reportedly marketed with a selling price around $10m.
A two-minute promotional video in 2010 uses the word ‘large’ numerous times to describe every aspect of the property from its billiard room to walk-in wardrobes.
The spa bath near the main house overlooks a 15-metre swimming pool.
Its all-weather floodlit tennis courts open up to a polo field.
A helipad offers easy-access for fly-in, fly-out commuters.
And then there is the nine-hole PGA-standard gold course.
Features like these made rooms at the estate some of New Zealand’s most expensive AirBnB listings at $10,000 per night.
In the words of one agency that promoted the property under Watson’s ownership, “a great venue for your next big birthday”.