Iconic North Island farm sells
One of the most highly valued sheep and beef properties in New Zealand has been sold. The 4,839 hectare Mangaohane Station located just off the Taihape to Napier Highway between the Rangitikei River and the Ruahine Forest Park.
It has been sold by the family of previous owner, the late Jim Bull. Jim was known as ‘The Potato King”, and bought Mangaohane at auction in 1973 for what was then a record price.
During the last 40 years, the property has been dramatically transformed - with 1500 hectares of scrub cleared, and a further 1200 hectares of tussock developed into top quality high producing pasture.
The station has been purchased by interests associated with the neighbouring Erewhon Station. The deal was brokered by Bayleys Taihape salesperson Pete Stratton.
Mr Stratton said that the sale price for the station had not been released. The 2011 government valuation is $22.2 million and most recent sales in the district had been above government valuation.
Mr Stratton said that four tenders were received for Mangaohane. All were from New Zealand entities, and at very good levels. The station winters on average more than 44,000 sheep and cattle stock units - placing it among the top echelon of productive primary land in New Zealand.
“The confidence expressed through the four tenders underscores the long-term value being placed in sheep and beef units,” Mr Stratton said. “From my understanding, the price achieved ranks Mangaohane as the most valuable sheep and beef unit to have sold in the North Island.
“While the three unsuccessful tenderers are obviously disappointed at missing out on one of the country’s ‘trophy’ farms, we will continue to work with them to find other suitable properties.”
Mr Stratton said the price achieved for the sale of Mangaohane reflected the extensive capital invested in building the soil fertility and improving the pasture species on the station.
“Over the last 10 years, around 2600 hectares has been cropped before being sown into new grass, with a further 290 hectares currently in swedes,” he said.
He said “The Bull family had invested in more than 100 kilometres of new fencing, plus a further 40 kilometres reconstructed to form a whopping 140 main paddocks across the station with an average size of 30 hectares, with most having reticulated stock water.”
Mangaohane also has 132 hectares of forestry - comprising mainly radiata pine all planted since 1992.
Mr Stratton said Mangaohane’s new owners had indicated they would continue operating the station as a sheep and beef breeding unit, in conjunction with their existing farming operation.
Mangaohane was one of four farms owned by Jim Bull, who started growing potatoes on 14 hectares of leased land. Over 20 years he grew the potato empire to be the biggest in Australasia, with a factory at Rata in Rangitikei. In 1984 he sold the business to Watties to concentrate on farming.
The Rangitikei town of Bulls was named after his grandfather, also James Bull. Bull was heavily involved with Massey University and is recorded as the first businessman to fund a research project there. It was on how to process potatoes efficiently into chips.
In 1995 Jim Bull’s distinguished service to farming and agribusiness was recognised with an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, and in 2005 Massey made him an honorary doctor of science. Bull was also active in horse racing and at one time was chairman of the Racing Conference.