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Ellis has begun earthworks for a driveway to a new five-bedroom holiday home on the private estate. A neighbour, Briar Ross, sent a legal letter trying to stop the work.
The home will have six bathrooms, a swimming pool, gym and a large covered "fire nook". The section includes protected native bush and is understood to contain two Maori archeological sites.
The earthworks are the first work on the 1.5ha property Ellis and his wife Agustina Mon bought in January last year for $1.65 million to build a 290sq m home overlooking Matiatia Bay and the Hauraki Gulf.
Last week, Ross, a jazz singer, sent Ellis a letter from her lawyer, Keith Wong, saying he did not have consent from 80 per cent of the owners of a jointly owned private lane to build the driveway.
"As such ... we require that you immediately cease and desist your works on the land," the letter said.
The letter failed to stop contractors for Ellis removing a fence and building a boulder retaining wall for the driveway late last week.
Work continued yesterday, said Ross.
Ellis said yesterday that Ross was clutching at straws and it was a matter for the lawyers to sort out. He did not wish to comment further.
One property owner at the estate, Victoria Sanders, said she had no comment. The other two owners could not be reached.
Ross, who has owned a 2ha property at Matiatia Estate for 10 years, said she had tried talking to Mr Ellis. The long-term resident believed Ellis should not access his property from the driveway she shares with another property, but a second driveway to two other properties on the estate.
A council spokeswoman said resource consent had been granted for Ellis' property.
"This site, together with those surrounding it are accessed via a private road. Vehicle access from a private road on to a private site is a civil matter and not something that involves the council."