A final claim could soon be staked on Cardrona's abandoned
gold mining era sections, which are up for sale for the first
time in 140 years.
Once occupied by Chinese gold miners and other early settlers
dating back to the 1870s, the nine properties in and around
Cardrona village have been put on the market by the Public
Trust after the descendants of the original owners could not
Eight of the sections are next to, or opposite, the historic
Cardrona Hotel and several are used as hotel car parking.
Public Trust retail customers general manager Matt Sale said
solicitors previously acting for the Queenstown Lakes
District Council tried unsuccessfully for six or seven years
to identify descendants of the owners.
Court orders were then obtained in 2012 appointing the Public
Trust to manage the abandoned land and further investigation
was carried out by the trust.
''Following realisation of the properties, more extensive
inquiries will be undertaken,'' Mr Sale said.
Proceeds from the sale of the land would be retained by the
Public Trust for seven years, in the event of claims by
relatives, before being transferred to the New Zealand
Government Consolidated Fund.
Mr Sale would not reveal the property valuations, as the
sections were being offered for tender with a no price
The unserviced sections are listed with Harcourts and are
zoned rural visitor, which allows for visitor and commercial
activities subject to QLDC resource consent.
Harcourts agent Eamon Young said inquiries had come from
throughout New Zealand, mainly from people who had either
visited or lived in the area before, or were living there at
''The opportunity to purchase this land seems to be unlocking
possibilities that may not have been there in the past.''
Among the interested parties is the Queenstown Lakes District
Council, which will discuss the purchase of land at Cardrona
during the public-excluded section of its full council
Deputy mayor Lyal Cocks said the council was considering two
options to enable the creation of a village green -
identified in the Cardrona Valley Structure Plan - on some of
the abandoned land.
''We've got it in our programme to try and make that happen,
so we may be involved in the tender process to try and
acquire some land there,'' Mr Cocks said.
''There is an option, as an acquiring authority, we could
apply to put a designation over it and that is something that
is also being considered.''
Cardrona Valley Residents and Ratepayers Society chairman
Barrie Morgan said the society wanted the council to
designate some of the land for community use so car parking
and a safe school bus stop area could be retained.
The properties have attracted interest from would-be owners
in the past.
Former hotel proprietors Edmund and Rosemarie Jones are
understood to have sought the title to one of the sections in
the mid-1980s but their application was refused.
The Cardrona community and the council were angered on two
occasions in 2008 when some of the properties opposite the
hotel were fenced off by former Wanaka resident Andre
Prassinos, who hoped to claim them.
In 2012, another former hotel owner, Brian Gilbert, gave up
his claim to two of the sections, on which he had paid rates
for many years.
The same year, retired Wanaka Presbyterian minister the Rev
Catherine Little said several of the sections had been given
to her grandfather - storekeeper Robert McDougall - by
Chinese miners unable to pay their bills.
The legal work required to transfer ownership to her
grandfather was never done, though, and she hoped the sites
would become community-owned property if descendants could
not be found.
Tenders for the properties close on July 11.