Environmentalists call on government agency to buy Wellington’s Pencarrow Lodge

Pencarrow Lodge is for sale for the first time in over 30 years.

Provided

Pencarrow Lodge is for sale for the first time in over 30 years.

It is home to deer, has an impressive forest of nikau palms, stunning views of Wellington Harbor and the Kaikōura Ranges and, for the first time in over 30 years, Pencarrow Lodge is up for sale.

But local environmentalists are hoping a government agency will be the one to buy the 205-hectare property next to East Harbor Regional Park and located between Baring and Pencarrow lighthouses.

Eastbourne conservationist Sally Bain knows the area well and said it would be “fabulous” if a government agency bought it.

It bordered two nationally significant lakes (Kohangapiripiri and Kohangatera), had stunning nikau palms, a breeding population of banded dotterels and was next to a regional park, she said.

READ MORE:
* Backyard tourism: Lower Hutt offers ‘pockets of awesomeness’
* Conservationists fight for birds on Eastbourne beaches
* Community of Eastbourne came together to help Wahine survivors
* “Loo with a view” part of the Baring Head upgrade proposal
* The Baring Head restoration is getting a little closer
* Lower Hutt identity Mike Curtis bid farewell

The sun is setting, looking towards the South Island, at Pencarrow Lodge.

Provided

The sun is setting, looking towards the South Island, at Pencarrow Lodge.

Pencarrow Lodge, a wedding venue and lodge, was developed by Mike and Jane Curtis in the 1990s. Mike died in 2015, but Jane continued to run the business. She declined to say why she is selling, but would like to see it bought by a private buyer.

In 2010 the Greater Wellington Regional Council purchased the nearby Baring Head and has ambitious plans to restore the native flora and fauna and the lighthouse complex.

Greater Wellington President Daran Ponter had not heard pencarrow was for sale until contacted by Thing, but he planned to ask the officers for more information and, until he knew more, he would not comment on any possible purchases.

Hunting, horseback riding and cycling are all potential uses for the new owner.

Provided

Hunting, horseback riding and cycling are all potential uses for the new owner.

Lower Hutt Ecologist Quentin Duthie​, who is running for regional council in October, backs a government agency buying the property.

“The sale is a unique opportunity for Greater Wellington to take a hard look at public procurement, improve access and recreation, protect nature and fight climate change,” he said.

Running a lodge was not a core business for a regional council, but he said it could be rented out.

Although expensive to purchase, like other regional parks, it was possible to earn “significant revenue” through carbon credits.

Pencarrow Lodge sits on a 205 hectare property on Wellington's rugged south coast.  It has beach frontage, stunning views and regenerating tracts of native bush.

provided/stuff

Pencarrow Lodge sits on a 205 hectare property on Wellington’s rugged south coast. It has beach frontage, stunning views and regenerating tracts of native bush.

Department of Conservation senior adviser Herb Christophers said the DOC was not considering buying it.

“Pencarrow Lodge is a business enterprise more suited to an entrepreneurial endeavour.”

Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry said buying it was not an option for the council “but I recognize that it is a very special place that we want to see thrive, whether in private hands or another organization,

Estate agent Mark Hourigan said there was significant interest in the site locally, nationally and internationally.

What surprised him was the wide range of potential buyers. Until recently it was run as a lodge and wedding venue.

In addition to people wanting to continue running the business, there were groups of buddies who wanted it as a hunting block and those interested in a lifestyle block.

Horseback riding, mountain biking and connecting to the Remutaka Bike Trail were all possibilities, and he said his future was likely in tourism.

A 15 minute drive from Eastbourne and a 5 minute helicopter flight from Wellington Airport, it has also appealed to those looking for an upscale residence in a relatively remote area.

It was a “truly unique property” and Hourigan said the sheer number of potential uses made it very difficult to assess.

The only comparable property in the area was Tora in the Wairarapa, but Pencarrow’s proximity to Wellington made it unique.

Visitors had come from all over the world to enjoy the beautiful scenery and Curtis hoped the new owners would continue to run it as a lodge.