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NZ Exclusive Ranch on Market for $62 m

New Zealand’s Most Exclusive Fishing and Hunting Ranch on Market for $62 million

New Zealand¹s most exclusive fishing and hunting ranch, Poronui Station, is being marketed for sale internationally for $62 million.

Nestled in a secluded mountain valley half an hour from Lake Taupo in the central North Island, Poronui extends over 7000 hectares.

A working ranch with beef cattle and deer, the station also has established eucalypt and pine plantations and an ancient 2400 hectares beech forest.

For most of the past 37 years Poronui has been in overseas ownership.

Current owner is American banker and avid fisherman Mark Blake, together with his brother Todd and sister Wendy.

High profile guests including world leaders, Hollywood actors, and sporting and rock stars come for mostly just one thing --- the fishing.

Two world-class fly fishing rivers, the Taharua and Mohaka Rivers, flow through the property.

The Mohaka River, a tumbling freestone stream, wraps itself around the mountainous southern boundary, separating the station from vast estates of National Park and Maori land.

The Mohaka and Taharua provide 40 kilometres of superb fishing where trophy trout weighing upwards of 4.5kgs thrive in the conditions.

Fishermen, however, have to be satisfied with photographs of their prized trophy trout as a strict catch and release policy is currently observed by Poronui¹s owners.

As a result of sound environmental management and low anglingpressure, Poronui has enjoyed a reputation for an impressive and robust trout fishery.

Trout were first introduced in 1878 when brown trout from England were brought to New Zealand and released into the headwaters of the Taharua River.

Rainbow trout eggs arrived in 1883 from the Russian River Hatchery in California and released.

But fishing is predominantly for brown trout.

The first release of Sika deer occurred when six animals gifted by British Duke, the Duke of Bedford, were liberated at Poronui in the early 1900¹s. Together with Red Stags, the Sika deer have thrived, consistently presenting fine trophies.

The station also has an abundance of wild ducks, quail an pheasants.

The Blakes, who live in San Francisco for most of the year with their families, have embraced sound environmental practices, not only with the trout fishery but also with the entire farming operations.

Blakes¹ careful stewardship of the land has cemented Poronui Station¹s reputation as an extraordinary wildlife habitat in one of the world¹s most pristine, natural environments.

For Mark Blake, balancing commercial realities with environmental issues has been crucial to minimise the pressures on the station¹s natural resources.

"By limiting guest numbers and being strict about our catch and release policy means there will always be trout in the waterways," he says.

Angling pressures, for example, are constantly monitored and controlled to maintain the health and confidence of the trout.

Blake says he has been impressed and influenced by the attitude of New Zealand¹s indigenous Maori people to caring for the land.

"This is about stewardship to ensure the property remains intact for future generations. I know what I am leaving behind is in much better shape than when I first discovered Poronui. This will be the future challenge for any new owner," he says.

Putting Poronui on the market has been an emotional wrench for Blake. He had been coming to Poronui for over a decade to fish for trout and was hooked on the lifestyle it offered.

"I kept coming back to fish each year, bringing more and more friends and family with me. Then I started thinking about buying a property of my own."

So when Poronui came on the market in 1998, as Blake says, he "cast his line and landed it." His dream of buying "something small" with family members was quickly discarded in favour of "big, breathtaking and bountiful."

Since then, the Blakes have taken what was essentially a rustic fishing and hunting camp and with a multi million dollar investment turned it into a world class fishing and hunting lodge, together with the farming operation.

Waiting for the family of a new owner is a magnificent five-bedroom, five-bathroom private residence, situated on a plateau overlooking the Taharua River valley. Designed by one of New Zealand¹s leading architects, John Blair of Queenstown, it was built four years ago.

The house contains two expansive entertainment areas, an office with broadband internet access, library, cigar room, and a five-car garage. The station¹s natural environment has been reflected in the building¹s design and materials, using ancient hardwood beams, smooth river rocks and heated slate floors.

Overlooking the Taharua River, the homestead is just a few minutes walk from Blake¹s favourite fishing spot.

Fishermen are accommodated in an exclusive lodge catering for just 14 guests, a 15-minute drive from the owner¹s residence. During the peak fishing months from November to March the lodge is usually booked out in advance. Should guests want a change from catching giant trout, there is a separate and dedicated entertainment centre with a gym, health club including steam and sauna rooms, massage treatment studio, cigar room, and a billiard room with a full-size antique English billiard table. The centre comes with its own outdoor barbecue area and a horse riding stable.

Hidden beneath the centre is a world class underground wine cellar storing up to 10,000 bottles. A computerised cellar system keeps track of the collection while controlling the cellar¹s temperature. The wine cellar is a focal point for entertaining, wine tastings and dinner parties around a mammoth 22-seat English oak table

If that¹s not enough, nearby is a modern Olympic level clay shooting course located in a steep wooded valley. This has multiple shooting stations and an automated 20-trap layout that simulates upland game birds and waterfowl.

The decision to sell has not been easy for Blake and his family.

"I still hope to fish the haunting waters of Poronui for the rest of my life, but as a client and not an owner."

Family reasons are dictating the sale.

With the sale of Poronui, Blake will continue his focus in New Zealand producing world class wines in the Hawkes Bay where he has two vineyards.

Meanwhile the company marketing Poronui, Colliers International, has a worldwide campaign underway.

Its New Zealand sales director, John Goddard, says Poronui is featuring in magazines targeting high net worth individuals in the United States, Australia, Asia, Europe as well as New Zealand.

More than 6000 information kits comprising a DVD promoting the property, and a comprehensive 40 page brochure, are being mailed to potential purchasers around the world.

Information on the sale has been given to the Ministers of Conservation, Land and Tourism.

Any new overseas owner will be required to seek approval to purchase through the Overseas Investment Commission.

Goddard expects a high level of interest for Poronui. "In the global context high net worth individuals are increasingly recognising the value that the privacy and seclusion that properties like Poronui offer. When the rest of the world is caught up with the threat of long-term terrorism, Poronui will give someone their Œheaven on earth,¹ " he says.

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