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Rothschild banking dynasty

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Rothschild family member buys piece of Banks Peninsula
07 January 2004

A member of one of the world's richest families the Rothschild banking dynasty has chosen to spend some of his millions on a piece of Banks Peninsula.

The Overseas Investment Commission confirmed yesterday that a 442.67ha farm in Hickory Bay, just north of Akaroa, has been bought by HB Land Ltd, a New Zealand company that boasts French banking magnate David de Rothschild as one of its two directors.

The amount paid for the property was not released by the OIC, but a valuation and sales report records the gross sale price as $2.69 million.

It is believed to be one of the highest prices paid for a Banks Peninsula farm.

The Rothschild family, famed for an international banking empire spanning more than 200 years, is believed to be one of the wealthiest dynasties in the world. With branches throughout the world, it has been credited with bailing out the British economy more than once.

De Rothschild heads the Paris-based branch Rothschild & Compagnie Banque, France's second-most active investment bank.

The extent of de Rothschild's involvement in the farm is unknown - residents say visitors have kept a low profile but it is understood the land is in the hands of a farm manager.

The OIC consent lists the proposed use of the land as a base for breeding and training horses for a stud farm it owns in England, retaining the remainder as a sheep and cattle farm.

Longer-term plans include growing and organic products and herbs and possibly a vineyard. The farm has a special micro-climate that allows the growing of table grapes, figs, feijoas, loquats and citrus fruit.

The property is not only notable for its productive farming qualities. Hickory Bay is the southern limit for native nikau palms and mamaku ferns, and the farm has significant remnants of a native forest.

It also has two houses a four-bedroom Edwardian villa and a modern three-bedroom home.

It fronts on to a surfing beach, access to which can only be gained through the farm.

However, surfers can rest assured. The OIC decision confirms that the new owners have placed an open space covenant over the part of the property that leads to the foreshore, ensuring continued public access.

The passing of the property to a family dynasty is in keeping with its past Hickory Bay Farm was owned for three generations by the Grigg family a well-known Canterbury family.

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