New Zealand is becoming the first choice for second homes | ET REALITY


When Jim Rohrstaff moved to New Zealand in 2014 to help Ric Kayne run and launch his private golf club, Tara Iti, he didn’t know what the future held. Rohrstaff, who has spent decades working in golf, had no idea that one day he would end up helping to imagine and create what he describes as a new “17-mile tour of the southern hemisphere.”

That stretch of coast, along the edge of the Monterey Peninsula on California’s central coast, frames the way Rohrstaff views Te Arai Links. Te Arai is located on the same stretch of Pacific coast as Tara Iti, on New Zealand’s North Island, and is home to two public golf courses. Rohrstaff and Kayne wanted to replicate the feeling of a 17-mile ride there, about 60 miles north of Auckland.

New Zealand has long been known for its stunning coastal courses, such as Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers. When it opened in 2015, Tara Iti helped further establish the island nation as a top golf destination.

The course, which features stunning sandscapes and ocean views, is routinely ranked as one of the best courses in the world by golf summary, golf magazine and others. Mike Keizer, founder of the Bandon Dunes resort (which, in turn, has been praised for its design), said in an interview: “It’s the most beautiful course I’ve ever seen.”

All those praises for Tara Iti sparked the idea of ​​creating a luxury resort nearby. Te Arai Links (pronounced TRE), opened its south course in October last year and its north course last month. Mr. Rohrstaff spoke about the opening of the North Course and how he and Mr. Kayne bring golf and waterfront real estate together. The following conversation has been edited and condensed.

How do you determine where homes go without sacrificing the integrity of the golf course, but also giving homeowners ocean views?

We have always believed that golf should be the hero, so we worked closely with the golf course architects to ensure they were happy with the development of the land located next to the golf course. We are golf fans as well as developers, so for us they go hand in hand.

I think we have been blessed with some of the best land I have ever seen because of the combination of golf and property. The golf course faces the ocean and the homes are on elevations and ridges that allow them to sit high above the golf course and overlook the course and ocean. The terrain we have allows us to achieve this in the best way I have ever seen.

What did you see at Tara Iti that allowed you to expand and build two public courses at Te Arai? Or was that always the plan?

We hadn’t planned Te Arai from the beginning, but after three years of opening Tara Iti, we had land to work with and, at that time, it was 60 housing plots and that was it. But obviously we knew we had a lot of ground there. With the response we had from Tara Iti and how well it turned out, we thought, ‘Why wouldn’t we build more golf here? He’s begging for it.’

We also knew that golf courses would add a premium to the land and help accelerate sales. We really wanted to take a different approach and be able to really share the coastline between golf and housing.

Where do most of your buyers come from?

Our market has been dominated abroad by the United States. We have many New Zealand and Australian buyers, but the United States is by far the most foreign buyers.

Apparently New Zealand is the most important thing in the United States. That has been growing over the last decade. New Zealand offers an English-speaking rule of law environment that seems far removed from the problems of the world. There are direct flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and New York, so although it may seem far away, it is a direct flight from many of the largest cities in the United States.

We also offer “summer in winter”. The American winter is our summer, and from December to February we have long days of light, which means more time to enjoy golf, the beach, and then a nice New Zealand wine with dinner.

Does Arai appeal to families? What happens if you don’t play golf?

I think we attract families because our overall vibe and attitude is not that of an uptight, stuffy golf club. This is a golf club and a very warm, family-oriented atmosphere where everyone comes. But we also have this incredible beach in front of us for children to swim, boogie board or learn to surf. Then there’s horseback riding on the beach, pickleball, tennis, you name it. Plus, we have a large two-acre putting green, ideal for everyone from beginners to better players, and it’s all about fun.

How do you help overseas buyers navigate the home buying process in New Zealand?

Since I have dual citizenship and was born and raised in the United States, I moved to New Zealand about 10 years ago and helping American buyers is very easy since I understand the real estate business there. I can explain to you the subtle differences between the United States and New Zealand. For the Australian market, it’s incredibly similar to the New Zealand market, so they feel quite comfortable coming to New Zealand to buy property.

New Zealand has become something of a hot spot for the second home market. When creating a coastal community in such a picturesque country, what things have you done to differentiate your communities from the competition?

There are a few things that really stand out for us at Te Arai and Tara Iti. Firstly, we will become one of the best golf destinations in the world with Tara Iti (strictly private) and the two new Te Arai Links courses. Tara Iti is ranked number 1 in New Zealand, and the first course we opened at Te Arai Links (the south course) is a year old and already ranked number 2 in the country.

The North Course opened in early October and feedback from our members, guests and resort guests is that it is a split decision between the North and South Courses. Therefore, we may have the three best courses in the country, but certainly three of the five best. On top of that, we sit on almost 7.5 miles of amazing white sand beaches with a couple of great waves to surf.

Another point that cannot be overlooked is our location. When you’re on site you feel disconnected from the world, yet you’re only a little over an hour from central Auckland by car and 25 minutes by helicopter. So whether you’re thinking of Auckland for its shops, restaurants, art galleries or healthcare, we’re close by. Many places in New Zealand are extremely remote, which has its advantages, but also its disadvantages. I think Te Arai and Tara Iti have the perfect balance of being in a secluded paradise, but close to the largest city in the country.

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