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Historic Tipapa Estate has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, being reborn as a North Canterbury events venue. Now, owner John Carr is looking to move on. Robyn Bristow reports.

 

By Robyn Bristow

Greta Valley’s historic Tipapa Estate has gone on the market, as 73-year-old owner John Carr eyes the future.

He describes Tipapa is an “incredibly special place”.

“I enjoy living here. It’s magical and I love it enormously,” he says.

However, it is time to look to the future, says John, who has reluctantly decided to put the property on the market.

“I travel a lot. I have basically said to myself that by the time I am 75 it would be good, probably, to move on.”

John says he is looking two years out and making people aware it is for sale and available to someone who wants it.

“I love it, and I will go on loving it, until someone else comes along to love it.”

He hopes, and expects, to still be at Tipapa for sometime yet, unless a suitable buyer comes along in the meantime.

“You have to find the right buyer for properties like this. It is not like selling the standard house. It has to be the right person who connects, cares about it and looks after it.”

Meanwhile it is business as usual until March 31, 2019, when John says weddings will cease at the property.

He bought the Tipapa Estate in February 2004, at a time when the home and garden needed extensive work.

Renovations to the two-storey Heathcote Helmore designed homestead, considered one of the finest period houses in the South Island, took nine months, with the servants’ quarters at the back removed and the gardens and grounds turned into a park-like setting.

Today, the home has five ensuite bedrooms and large interconnecting living and entertainment areas opening on to the garden.

Part of the 127-year-old woolshed was refurbished from a working woolshed into a successful events centre.

It hosts more than 15 weddings each season, in addition to corporate events and dinners, as well as wine, food and fashion events.

The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand Opera have performed there.

Next to the main woolshed, original stables and shed complex has been converted into a gallery, office or boardroom plus a small cottage, retaining all its original character.

It is surrounded by large trees in a private rural setting.

Tipapa, originally part of the large Motunau Run, was first settled in 1888 by a well-known land-owner of the time, William Acton Adams, a prominent lawyer and financier from Christchurch.

He built the woolshed in 1890 and in 1928 his son Herbert replaced the original Tipapa home with the Heathcote Helmore homestead.

The family crest remains in the entrance porch of the homestead, etched in marble.

Herbert’s son, William, sold Tipapa to Don and Bobby Robertson in 1965 and almost 40 years later John bought it.

The property at that time was 200 hectares, but is now about 25 hectares.

Today, John says he has a “fabulous” group of people who look after the property, and another “fabulous” group who help out with the weddings.

“I have a great support system and I am very grateful to them,” says John, who hosts many organisations at the property.

Last year, he filled the breach for the Scargill Flower Show which was without a home due to the Scargill Hall being out-of-bounds due to the earthquakes.

“It was fantastic and I will be making the venue available again this year.

“I have other events planned for October and have some bigger events planned for the coming season,” John says.

Shane O’Brien, National Director of Rural and Agribusiness for Colliers International, which is
selling the property, says the picturesque property will have wide appeal.

The 670 square metres of high quality accommodation offered buyers a home that could equally be an up-market lodge, exclusive bed-and-breakfast, or commercial enterprise.

“One of the great things is that it hasn’t been structurally altered, having been in the same family until 1965 and only having one other owner since then.

“The options are endless and it creates a unique opportunity to capitalise on the incredible tourism boom New Zealand is experiencing, with increased numbers of international visitors, plus ever-increasing gaps in the market for domestic visitors for specialist locations for weddings and corporate events,” ┬áMr O’Brien says.