‘Prince’ sells Kapiti girls’ home to lo­cals

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JOEL MAXWELL

A ram­bling, de­serted Catholic home for girls, owned by a self­styled Ge­or­gian prince, will fi­nally be sold.

Marycrest, on State High­way 1 be­tween Peka Peka and Te Horo, was listed on Trade Me in 2014 for a min­i­mum $2 mil­lion by Vic­tor Green­wich, now liv­ing in Syd­ney, who said he was a de­scen­dant of princes from Ge­or­gia.

The new own­ers plan to live in an empty chapel on the site while they work out what they will do with the com­plex.

The for­merly grand Marycrest has not been used since it shut in the early 1980s. Green­wich said he bought it in 1988 af­ter build­ing a home nearby.

Kapiti res­i­dent Drew Macken­zie said she and hus­band An­thony Ryan would take own­er­ship of the14.5 hectare prop­erty in early De­cem­ber.

‘‘In the first in­stance we’re go­ing to live in the chapel, it’s the build­ing that was least dam­aged. We’re go­ing to seal up the rest of the build­ings for the time be­ing.’’

Macken­zie said they had ‘‘a few ideas’’ about what they would do with the rest of the com­plex, and had held clean-up work­ing bees.

‘‘Like every­body on the coast’’, she had driven past and been cu­ri­ous about what it was like in­side. ‘‘It was up for sale, and we thought ‘We’ll have a look’ but we didn’t think it was in our price range.’’

The age­ing com­plex’s his­tory, and the pre-Pakeha his­tory of the land it­self – it was the site of a ma­jor bat­tle – did not bother the cou­ple, she said.

They would drop the Marycrest name and re­vert to the Maori name for the land, Makahuri.

They had not spent a night in the church yet, but had spent a night on the prop­erty, which had six or seven build­ings.

Peo­ple told them they were brave to be stay­ing there, she said. Marycrest has been con­sid­ered one of the creepi­est prop­er­ties on the Kapiti Coast.

’’We don’t feel like it’s brave. It’s lovely, and it’s al­ready cre­at­ing the sense of com­mu­nity with the peo­ple com­ing to help.’’

Green­wich said the sale, once com­pleted, would be tinged with sad­ness as it was the last piece of Kapiti prop­erty he owned, from a happy time in a district that he said was ‘‘mag­i­cal’’.

He came to New Zealand with his mother in 1949, and said pre­vi­ously they ditched their Ge­or­gian name Da­di­anov and chose an English sur­name.

PHOTO: CRAIG SIMCOX/FAIR­FAX NZ

Marycrest, sold to a Kapiti cou­ple.

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