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Doak’s Tara Iti GC to open in October

3.11pm 24th June 2015 - Courses

The reachable par-4 7th at Tara Iti Golf Club on New Zealand's North Island
The reachable par-4 7th at Tara Iti Golf Club on New Zealand’s North Island

Legacy Partners, Ltd. have announced the initial real estate offering at Te Arai, a 1,400-acre, beach-front property (a 75-minute drive from Auckland’s central business district) that serves as backdrop to the new Tara Iti Golf Club, slated to open for member play in October.

Designed by American course architect Tom Doak, Tara Iti GC was laid out amid the dunes north of Te Arai Point, a favoured headland among Northland surfers. Otherwise, this stretch of beach — some 11 kilometres in length, spreading north from a surf break known as “The Forestry” — remains largely undiscovered, despite its location less than 100 km from the Auckland Harbor Bridge.

Auckland-based Legacy Partners – –  is a boutique real estate brokerage firm that markets iconic and exclusive New Zealand property, while at the same time representing buyers from New Zealand and overseas. With this real estate offering, Te Arai is the first Legacy Partners community to elicit widespread public notice.

Today, the only finished structure at the Te Arai is the Tara Iti clubhouse, designed by Auckland-based Cheshire Architects. According to Legacy partner Michael Pleciak, the complete build-out plan at Te Arai calls for just 46 individual home sites across 600 hectares of freehold land. Buyers may acquire home sites or completed residences — all boast access to the community’s 5.5 kilometres of Pacific Ocean frontage.

“This low-density approach is the land-planning handiwork of John Darby at Queenstown-based Darby Partners,” said Pleciak. “Clearly, the limited number of homes here, on such a huge property, further underlines our commitment to the natural environment at Te Arai. In creating these home sites — virtually all of which are elevated (and north-facing, to maximize aspect and sunshine) — we’ve managed to balance this preservational ethos with the privacy of each homeowner. The result, in our opinion, is a truly special, seaside community that honestly doesn’t exist anywhere so convenient to Auckland.”

Tom Doak’s course design at Tara Iti Golf Club differs from his only previous work in New Zealand, Cape Kidnappers GC in Hawkes Bay, where the soil is not sand-based and cliff-side golf holes sit hundreds of feet above the surf. Tara Iti GC instead occupies the sandy dunescape along the beach itself. While this “links land” environment is rare (and prized across the golfing world), Doak has worked there before: at Pacific Dunes in Bandon, Oregon, USA; at Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania, Australia; at Sebonack GC on Long Island, just east of New York City. All maintain places among the world’s top 100 golf courses, according to GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest.

The par-3 17th at Tara Iti GC
The par-3 17th at Tara Iti GC

Doak, club principals and a few special guests had the opportunity to test-drive Tara Iti during an April sneak preview event (the opening is planned for 1 October 2015).

“Once a golf course routing is finished, we start building holes in some sort of sequence that makes sense for construction purposes, and we pretty much never walk the course in order from 1 to 18 until it’s ready to open,” Doak said. “So, what I appreciated most about Tara Iti during this recent visit was the pacing and rhythm of it. What also struck me is how much it plays like a links — and how fun that is. You can’t take your eye off the ball until it stops rolling, and C.J. [Kreuscher, the course superintendent] has the playing surface so tight, the ball is still rolling long after you think it might stop.

“I played in April with everyone from a tour pro [Daniel Chopra] to 18-handicaps, and they all had smiles on their faces the whole time. And I couldn’t help but smile myself when someone would compare the place to Royal Dornoch or Cypress Point.”

Because of his track record working in the links environment, Doak was the only course architect considered for Tara Iti, according to Legacy partner Jim Rohrstaff. “It’s been instructive to see his team at work,” Rohrstaff said. “They work deliberately, not so much designing golf holes so much as identifying them in the existing landscape. This minimalism, this assuredness in the links discipline, has proved a perfect fit for our overall approach at Te Arai.

“Of the 11 home sites that border on the golf course, 9 are already spoken for — but we will have 35 beautiful beach-front home sites sitting on 5 kilometres of Pacific Ocean. It’s difficult to see these sites and not be reminded of the Hamptons.”

Legacy Partners enjoy the exclusive authority to market the real estate assets of the New Zealand Land Fund (New Zealand Land Fund 2 GP Limited), which is dedicated to the prudent development of prime oceanfront, mountain and lake property throughout the North and South islands. The General Partners of the Land Fund are Darby Partners of Queenstown, Los Angeles-based Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, and Terrapin Palisades Ventures, also of Los Angeles.

In addition to Te Arai and Tara Iti Golf Club, Legacy Partners are involved with several other notable projects, across New Zealand:

“Our firm also represents other New Zealand vendors in the marketing of premium property to purchasers both domestic and overseas,” Pleciak explained. “These are bespoke services tailored to the specific needs of individual clients — our work at Omarino is a good example. With this overall portfolio, it has been Legacy’s goal to assemble the very best properties New Zealand has to offer. Te Arai and Tara Iti GC more than meet this standard, so we felt it was high time we brought them to the public’s attention.”

Tara Iti GC is named for the New Zealand fairy tern, a bird species that has spent several decades on the country’s critically endangered list. Indeed, the club logo features a fairy tern in flight, and club founders have established a charitable trust — the Te Arai and Mangawhai Shorebirds Trust — to conserve and protect fairy terns and other threatened, at-risk shorebirds on the Te Arai property and in the surrounding area.

According to Gwenda Pulham with the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, 39 fairy terns were assessed at the beginning of the 2014-15 season. In April, Pulham reported that figure had grown to 43 — a small but appreciable increase for such a critically endangered bird. (Pulham also reported the dotterel count reflected a significant population increase over the last two years, from 231 to 274.)

The Tara Iti GC property (indeed, the entire shoreline stretching north from Te Arai Point) has long been home to dense, non-native tree cover — hence its local nickname, “The Forestry”.  Unfortunately, this non-native pine forest provided shelter to all manner of fairy tern predators. The clearing and development of Tara Iti GC, in addition to selective clearing for housing sites, has played a major role in the marked diminishment of these predators — and the uptick in fairy tern populations.

“In everything we have undertaken here — from the meticulous development of Tara Iti and the home sites, to supporting the Te Arai and Mangawhai Shorebirds Trust — the priority has and will always be protection and preservation,” Rohrstaff said. “So far as we’re concerned, this effort serves our own interests and those of club members, home buyers and the entire regional community. The native environment here is such an important part of what makes Te Arai extraordinary — one of the truly special places in the world of real estate.”

Legacy Partners Ltd.

Tara Iti GC

Tom Doak / Renaissance Golf Design

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