By PHILIP CHANDLER
‘‘Passionate’’ owners have been found for Arrowtown’s most well-known old stone cottage.
A Tauranga couple have bought Reidhaven with the idea of doing up the home, built in 1866 — which housed three generations of Arrowtown mayors — and preserving its heritage orchard.
Neighbours had been concerned that while the cottage enjoys heritage protection, the orchard could be carved up for housing similar to the nearby Three Mayors Ridge subdivision that was originally part of Reidhaven.
However, that’s not the new owners’ intention.
Graham Anderson says he and his wife Mandy had been looking for an Arrowtown home for a few years — ‘‘there’s not a lot comes up’’.
‘‘We just felt [Reidhaven] was exactly what we were looking for.’’
Its history appealed, he says.
‘‘You can build something that looks like it but it’s still not the same.
‘‘We’re excited about having it and I guess bringing it back to life how it would have been before.’’
Anderson says it’s like coming back full circle for them as they once owned an 1880s Auckland home with a similar kind of orchard.
Having latterly owned a smaller place, ‘‘now we’ve just decided we’d like to have a bit more open space around us’’.
They also view Reidhaven as ‘‘a bit of a project while we’re still able to do it, before we get too old’’.
They’re happy, he says, to work within ‘‘all the rules and regulations that are there to look after the place’’.
Neighbour Nadine Conway says she’s ‘‘absolutely thrilled’’ the new owners will leave the orchard alone and bring the cottage back to life.
The new owners intend moving down late next month then living in it to get a feel for what needs to be done.
‘‘It’s pretty sound, actually,’’ Anderson says, ‘‘it’s not leaking inside.’’
He won’t comment on what they paid.
‘‘We just paid what we had to, at the end of the day we just think it’s worth it for what we want.’’
They’re looking forward to living in a small community ‘‘and getting away from traffic’’.
The 3110 square metre property was marketed by Ray White Arrowtown, which sought offers over $3 million.
Selling agent Holly Hargreaves says ‘‘we’re so delighted the sale has resulted in the historic Reid family property being passed on to passionate owners who will nurture it through the coming years to ensure it remains a much-loved landmark’’.
For its first 141 years, Reidhaven’s owners were, as the name implies, the Reid family.
James, the original owner, was mayor in 1895, his son John was mayor from 1919 till 1923 and John’s son Jack was mayor from 1980 till the borough was dissolved in ’89.
In 2007, Irish billionaire Eamon Cleary bought the property, including the later site of the
Three Mayors Ridge subdivision, for almost $4.5m.
A condition was Jack Reid could stay there till he died.
In the event, Cleary died first, in 2012, and the property was then owned, till last month, by his family trust — Jack passed away in 2016, aged 95.