Kawarau River Station for mortgagee sale

Kawarau River Station, one of the Wakatipu's largest freehold sites, is for sale. Photo supplied.
Kawarau River Station, one of the Wakatipu's largest freehold sites, is for sale. Photo supplied.
A trophy freehold farm on Queenstown's doorstep is for sale by mortgagee auction.

Kawarau River Station, on the northern face of the Remarkables mountain range, has been on the market since last November and attracted hundreds of inquiries from international and national buyers.

However, no satisfactory offer has been made to owner Steve Laing, Ray White Queenstown agent Bas Smith says.

''Unfortunately time has passed and the owner is now working with his lender and Ray White Queenstown to take this outstanding property to mortgagee auction.''

Mr Smith says two offers, from Christchurch and United States interests, have been received.

Both were under valuation ''but not significantly''.

Mr Smith revealed the property has been valued at $12.5 million and $16 million, the latter reflecting its status.

The first mortgage is held by Heartland Bank and the second mortgage by an Auckland-based private lender.

''They want it sold,'' Mr Smith says.

''There's obviously enough debt there for them to be concerned that the owner hasn't got the ability to cover it.''

Mr Laing bought the former Cone Peak Station when it was in pastoral lease in 1995.

Four years later, through a tenure review process, he freeholded 1825ha and surrendered 1262ha of mountaintop to the Crown, including parts of The Remarkables Ski Area and Doolan Basin.

The farm, bounded to the north by a 14km stretch of the Kawarau River, grazes cattle and red deer on 190ha of river terrace and, in the past, merino sheep in the high country.

Mr Laing's business interests extend to boat-building and hospitality and he has owned bars in Frankton and Wanaka. His Wanaka Ale House company was placed in receivership last year by Bank of New Zealand.

Kawarau River Station will be auctioned on July 4 at Ray White Queenstown's offices, at 2pm.

Mr Laing could not for contacted for comment this week.

- Philip Chandler.