Lux­ury lodge sold to beer baron


Bri­tish bank­ing boss Sir Keith Whit­son and his wife Lady Sabine Whit­son have sold their Motueka lux­ury lodge and farm to the head of a French Poly­ne­sian beer and soft drinks busi­ness.

The ask­ing price two years ago for Paratiho Es­tate had been $20 mil­lion, but the lawyer act­ing on be­half of the new owner JeanPierre Four­cade said he paid less than that.

The lodge on the prop­erty, built about 18 years ago, was orig­i­nally a lux­ury ho­tel but has been used by the cou­ple as a pri­vate res­i­dence.

It in­cludes four lakes, a cro­quet lawn, a heli-pad, a pro­fes­sional stan­dard putting green, a swim­ming pool, ten­nis court and an area of ma­ture na­tive bush.

Along with the lodge comes a 769 hectare sheep, cat­tle and deer farm about 50 kilo­me­tres west of Nel­son.

Four­cade, 63, is the pres­i­dent of a brew­ery called la Brasserie de Tahiti and the great grand­son of the per­son who founded it in 1914.

Best known for the lager Hi­nano, la Brasserie is the sev­enth largest com­pany in the French ter­ri­tory, em­ploy­ing 391.

Lawyer Steve Ruther­ford said the Whit­sons have moved back per­ma­nently to the UK for fam­ily rea­sons.

Four­cade would use the lodge as a home and not a ho­tel.

In an an­nounce­ment the Over­seas In­vest­ment Of­fice (OIO) which had to give con­sent for the sale, de­scribed Four­cade as a ci­ti­zen of France and a res­i­dent of French Poly­ne­sia.

Sheep, cat­tle and deer are bred and fat­tened on the farm.

Four­cade plans to un­der­take a cap­i­tal fer­tiliser pro­gram, with the goal of sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing stock num­bers, es­pe­cially deer.

He has also said he will es­tab­lish a new sau­vi­gnon blanc vine­yard of 20 ha on the prop­erty.

At least three new full time equiv­a­lent jobs would be cre­ated as a re­sult of the devel­op­ments.

Four­cade has also com­mit­ted to pro­tect 13 ar­eas of the land, com­pris­ing for­est, plan­ta­tion forestry and wet­lands, iden­ti­fied as hav­ing high eco­log­i­cal value.

He will ar­range for five blocks on the land to be pro­tected with Queen El­iz­a­beth II Na­tional Trust covenants.

Two new ac­cess strips will be es­tab­lished in con­sul­ta­tion with the New Zealand Walk­ing Ac­cess Com­mis­sion.

Four­cade has been pres­i­dent of the la Brasserie de Tahiti since 1992.

In a his­tory on la Brasserie’s web­site he re­calls the smells of the hops in the brew­ery from child­hood, and looks to the fu­ture of the busi­ness.

Sir Keith Whit­son and Lady Sabine Whit­son at their for­mer home Paratiho Lodge.

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