THERE is life after White Island tours for Peter and Jenny Tait.
After selling the tourism business to Ngati Awa last year, Mr and Mrs Tait have found a new project in the property next to the Wairere waterfall.
The couple have agreed to purchase a property on Wairere Street, which is made up of three titles, from Omataroa Rangitaiki No 2 Trust.
The 3154 square metre, zoned for business centre use under Whakatane District Council’s planning code, was marketed as being ideal for a boutique hotel.
And while Mr Tait said they hadn’t settled on any plan for the property, he ruled out a hotel.
“We bought it for the location – because it is close to down town centre and the wharf, it is right next to the waterfall and it is has three titles in one.
“So, it gives us lots of options.”
Mr Tait said they had lots of ideas but nothing specific and would take some time to consider what to do with it. He said they would consider leasing out parts of the property while they took time to develop a plan.
“We don’t take it over for another couple of weeks, so it is too early to speculate. It is a project for us and it was a fantastic opportunity to get a good block of land.”
Omataroa Rangitaiki No 2 Trust deputy chairman Charlie Elliott did not respond to inquiries made by the Beacon, but it is understood that it needs to sell the property to provide cash for their investment into development of a dairy plant at Kawerau.
The trust is among 11 Maori entities that have joined together to form the Kawerau Dairy colloboration to partner with a Japanese food company, Imanaka, and develop the dairy plant.
The collaboration will own two-thirds of the plant, while the Japanese company will own the remaining shares and it is expected that the first stages of the $32 million development will begin next year.
The dairy venture is following the model of the Miraka milk company near Taupo that was set up by Maori interests with an overseas food group as a cornerstone shareholder.
Its power is supplied from Maori-owned geothermal assets and much of the milk supply sourced from Maori farms in the area.
The other Maori entities involved in the development are comprised of Te Manawa o Tuhoe, Maori investments, Putauaki Trust, Ngati Makino, Rotoiti 15, Tataiwhetu Lands Trust,
Tapuika Holdings, Rotoma No 1, Wharepi Whanau Trust and Poutama Trust.