Mission property sells
The historic Mission vineyards property in Meeanee has sold to Hawke’s Bay businessmen who say they will preserve its heritage.
The six-hectare property, which includes the original St Mary’s Church and a 94-year-old villa, has been bought by West Quay Holdings, a company owned by Neville Smith, Brian Martin and Kevin Atkinson.
The property failed to sell at auction in September last year and was later advertised for $400,000. It was sold by Harcourts’ rural specialist Bill Apperley.
West Quay Holdings has leased back the vineyards to the Mission Estate winery. The company says redevelopment options for the villa and church include tourism or hospitality related ventures.
The Greenmeadows Mission Trust Board owned the property for the last 140 years.
The land was bought by the Society of St Mary in 1857 and used to grow grapes for sacramental wine.
Grapes from the vineyard were first used for commercial winemaking in 1871, with the winemaking operation later moving to the Mission’s Church Rd site.
The small church, built in 1863, is believed to be Hawke’s Bay’s oldest wooden structure.
Both buildings are rate category II by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
The international scientific community know the property as the site of the first observatory to photograph Halley’s Comet, in 1906, four years after the observatory was built.
The region’s first artesian well, tapping into the Heretaunga Plains aquifer, was sunk on the property in the 1860s.
West Quay Holdings hopes to use native timber from the former Nissho Roberts building in West Quay, Napier to strengthen and upgrade the Meeanee buildings.
The company is redeveloping the original 1888 Dalgety wool-store as a rock climbing adventure centre.
Photo caption – Mr Smith in front of the St Mary’s Church.