Crown seized the land

PHOTO: The properties as they appear on the Colliers website. The Crown seized the land under proceeds of crime legislation, but is having trouble selling it. Photo: Supplied / Colliers via Stuff

It must be the most difficult real estate listing in the country – gang-connected Bay of Plenty waterfront properties that – so far – no-one wants to buy.

It’s a developer’s dream: an idyllic spot on the Maketu estuary with views along the western Bay of Plenty coastline all the way to Mount Maunganui.

There’s just one catch – the properties belonged to the town’s Mongrel Mob president, Valentine “Pop” Nicholas, until the Crown controversially seized them under proceeds of crime legislation.

Nicholas and his wife do not recognise the Crown’s authority to take the family land and have vowed to stay put even if there are moves to forcibly remove them.

Fergs Coffee

“Inspections are not possible,” said the listing on the Colliers website, in the only hint that there was anything unusual about the sale.

Two adjoining properties – 631 and 633 Maketu Rd – and one across the road – number 634 – have been for sale since April.

Naomi Bentley, manager of the criminal proceeds management unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said the initial sales period ended on 8 September, with no offers received.

They are now for sale “by negotiation”.

Valentine "Pop" Nicholas does a hongi with a supporter after he was served with an eviction notice.

Valentine “Pop” Nicholas does a hongi with a supporter after he was served with an eviction notice. Photo: Stuff / Christel Yardley

According to property records, the waterfront block had a rateable value of $520,000 in 2019, while the one across the road was valued at $333,000.

Anyone who approaches the entrance to the main property, which includes a garage converted into a gym and a two-level home, is greeted by signs warning people they need “written consent, kai and koha” to enter.

The local hapū has “unqualified sovereign jurisdiction” over the land, the signs say, and kaitiaki (guardians) “reserve the … right to remove any … aliens at any time.

“All presumed claims of title or right in and over our whenua … are not recognised and thus have no validity.”

Buy one, or buy both - #2

631, 633 and 634 Maketu Road, Paengaroa, Western Bay Of Plenty, Bay Of Plenty