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Sale held up: The sale of the 257-hectare Arcadia Station, at Paradise, can't be settled due to a caveat on the land, recently upheld by the High Court

By PHILIP CHANDLER

An Auckland firm prepared to pay $14 million for a farm near Glenorchy, famous for film shoots, can’t settle due to a legal fish-hook.

The Station at Waitiri Ltd committed to buying Jim Veint’s 257-hectare Arcadia Station, at
Paradise, in March last year.

The company paid a 10% deposit and also paid for plant, stock and machinery.

But it’s not been able to pay the balance due to a caveat lodged on about half of Veint’s farm, which he hasn’t been able to remove.

In ’97, Veint sold the top half of his property, the Paradise Block, to distinguished Kiwi expat Dr David Teece, to help him pay out his first wife after they split up.

As part of the deal, Veint, if he sold Arcadia, agreed to give first right of refusal to Teece.

He also let Teece have a caveat on the three Arcadia titles closest to his property in case he needed the land for an airstrip.

Ray White Queenstown director Bas Smith, who marketed Arcadia, confirms both issues were raised with all parties who showed an interest.

‘‘Both the vendor and the purchaser and their legal people were all well aware of their responsibilities in relation to settling the sale with a caveat in place.’’

‘‘The vendor happily accepted the unconditional sale of the property after approximately seven hours of consideration.’’

Buyer “ready, willing and able” to settle on Arcadia

Veint, 83, who’s farmed Arcadia since 1960, says he doesn’t wish to comment.

However, according to a High Court judgment last month, he applied last November to the Registrar-General of Land ‘‘to lapse Dr Teece’s caveat’’.

In response, Teece applied to the court to protect his caveat.

And, after a hearing in February, in Invercargill, Associate Judge Owen Paulsen found he still had a ‘‘caveatable interest’’ in the land.

A spokesman for The Station at Waitiri Ltd maintains the company’s been ‘‘willing, ready and able’’ to settle on the balance of Arcadia since last July.

To help Veint, he says it gave him till December to get the caveat released.

While only three out of Arcadia’s 11 titles are affected, ‘‘unfortunately those three are about half the land area, and they’re the ones that critically are in the middle of the area’’.

The spokesman says the would-be buyer’s also offered to buy Teece’s block, and offered Veint a partial settlement.

He adds the company’s already employed a stock man at Arcadia ‘‘who provides both  security and helps Jim out’’.

Lindsay Lloyd, a longtime friend of United States-based Teece and his former lawyer, tells Mountain Scene ‘‘the caveat protects an interest negotiated in 1997 between Mr Veint and Dr Teece in respect of a potential airstrip on the Arcadia land”.

“To the extent that Dr Teece has an existing right, he is not holding up the sale, and it is unfortunate that he has been brought into this argument’’.

Lloyd also confirms his friend, as per the ’97 agreement, was offered first option to purchase Arcadia last year.

‘‘But he had no interest in purchasing that further block of land.’’

He adds Teece and his children have a strong attachment to New Zealand.

‘‘One of his sons is a qualified pilot and could well make use of any airstrip.’’

Arcadia’s been made famous on screen, having featured in almost 20 movies and countless commercials.

Perhaps most well-known of them all is The Lord of the Rings — its star, Sir Ian McKellen, called it his favourite place on earth.

It’s also home to a strik ing 11-bedroom homestead built in 1906.

scoop@scene.co.nz