The new world class golf course is taking shape alongside Te Arai Beach, near Mangawhai, on land formerly occupied by a commercial pine forest with nine holes almost completed.
Trees have been harvested, and the dunes are undergoing minimal re-shaping to construct a links course designed by Tom Doak, who also created the very successful Cape Kidnappers course near Napier and the Barnbougle Dunes course in Tasmania, both ranked in the top 100 courses in the world.
Doak, who believes in using natural contours and native vegetation as much as possible in a dunes setting, is confident the new Te Arai course, with its stunning views over the Pacific Ocean and offshore islands, will also be in the world’s top 100.
He will be in Auckland next month to inspect progress including the completion and grassing of nearly half of the 18 holes. Overall completion is planned for the second half of next year.
While the golf course is a permitted activity, applications for various consents for water rights, earthmoving and ancillary buildings, including visitor accommodation for up to 30 guests will be considered in coming months.
When completed the project will represent a substantial investment by Los Angeles financier Ric Kayne and wife Suzanne, keen golfers and long-time visitors to New Zealand, where they have done extensive sailing around the coast.
It has been calculated that the course will contribute about $3 million a year to the local economy and up to 30 jobs, attracting high net worth tourists.
The Kayne’s have named the course Tara-iti after the rare fairy terns which have traditionally nested between the northern end of the old forest and Mangawhai. Removing the forest cover, which formerly harboured a range of predators, and establishing a conservation fund to enable greater surveillance of nesting shore birds, including dotterels, will increase their prospects for successful breeding.