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Southern adventure … Stewart and Jane Whiteside have bought Tipapa Estate and are moving down from Auckland. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By ROBYN BRISTOW

Greta Valley’s historic Tipapa Estate has been sold.

John Carr wanted his home of nearly 15 years sold by the time he was 75. And he wanted the buyer to love it, just as he loves.

“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.”

His wish has come true.

The property has been sold to Stewart and Jane Whiteside, who will take over early next year.

Stewart says they have been searching for the right property for a long time.

“We loved it right from the first time we saw it,” he says.

“We understand the responsibility of owning an historical property such as Tipapa, and very much see the need to be involved with the local community and people in the area to make it work.”

They plan to continue to run it as a wedding and events centre, but will also offer a luxury boutique bed-and-breakfast experience so people can enjoy the beautiful old home, high-end accommodation, and sample what the local area has to offer from wineries and restaurant food to truffles and visitor attractions.

“It is an up and coming region,” he says.

John is happy Stewart and Jane are going to continue to build on what he has started, such as extending into lodging. “I’m delighted about that.”

John put the property on the market in February last year. After he hands over the reins he is off to Berlin to immerse himself in the art world.

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 woolshed, which is more than 125 years old, was refurbished from a working woolshed into an events centre.

Next to the woolshed, an original stables and shed complex has been converted into a gallery, office or boardroom, as well as a small cottage, retaining all its original character.
Kate Blundell, the director of Collective Concepts, will continue to market and manage the
Tipapa enterprise.

“It is a special property and there are a lot more opportunities for it than just weddings,” she says.

Expansion of the accommodation, offering facilities for small board meetings, and corporate
events are just some of the things being explored.

“The way John speaks about the venue encapsulates the way he has restored the history. He has done such an incredible job,” Kate says.

John says Kate’s experience has been an “integral part to the whole”.

“It’s a three-part deal. They (the Whitesides) are buying, I am off to Berlin, and Kate will run Tipapa,” he says.

Meanwhile, local staff will continue to keep the grounds and property in good shape, while Neroli Jones will continue to be on-site to show prospective clients what is available.

While it will be Stewart and Jane’s home, for the past year they have worked on a business plan to ensure the Tipapa enterprise can be sustainable.

Stewart, a commercial airline pilot and pilot training manager, will continuing working, and
commute, while Jane will do much of her academic administrative role at Massey University remotely from Tipapa.

“We are escaping Auckland. Tipapa will be our home and our farm.”