November 29, 2023

Richie and Gemma McCaw build new Wānaka mansion on prime, picturesque location

Consent documents show plans for Richie and Gemma McCaw's new house in Wānaka.

Richie and Gemma McCaw are building a new multi-million dollar riverside mansion in Wānaka.

Construction has started on the sprawling house for the former All Blacks captain and ex-Black Sticks hockey star.

It will be nestled on a spot at Hāwea Flat near picturesque Wānaka, overlooking the meandering Hāwea River and an “Outstanding Natural Landscape” corridor.

A biking and walking track runs along the river’s edge in front of the new McCaw development.

The 12,670sq m property’s land value, according to Queenstown Lakes District Council, is $1.6 million.

And that is before a brick is laid on the main house, and a second building planned for the spot.

The McCaws, who already own several properties in Christchurch and in Central Otago, where the 148-test legend was born at Kurow, bought the land last year.

A resource consent application was lodged with Queenstown Lakes District Council in July.

Planning documents seen by the Herald show plans for a “large single-storey dwelling with simple gable roof forms” in what is a high wind zone.

“The materials proposed are natural schist stone, vertical cedar shiplap timber and Espan 340 profile Coloursteel roofing on a 35-degree pitch,” according to a report by an urban designer and landscape architect.

“Although the proposal is located in a Landscape Priority Overlay area and adjacent to an Outstanding Natural Landscape, the scale and nature of the proposed elements, chimney and water tanks, are such that they do not have an adverse effect on the character for the receiving environment.”

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The report says the development will not affect the experience of hiking and biking trail users.

The median sales price for houses in Wānaka, according to property platform One Roof, is $1.35m.

Wānaka has become a playground and lifestyle choice for the rich and famous.

Canadian singer Shania Twain used to own the luxury Mahu Whenua complex, while controversial former US TV host Matt Lauer purchased the lease to Hunter Valley Station, on the shores of Lake Hāwea for $13m in 2017 and US tech billionaire and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel bought a slice of prime land in 2015 for a reported $13.5m.

McCaw has some old friends in town too, with former coach Sir Steve Hansen and ex-teammates Ben Smith and Damian McKenzie all having properties in Wānaka.

Richie married his long-time sweetheart Gemma at an intimate, top-secret wedding in Wānaka in 2017.

Before they tied the knot, the Herald reported how the high-profile pair had splashed out on a spectacular $2.5m five-bedroom family home in an upmarket part of Christchurch.

The McCaws, with their three young daughters, have been in France to support the All Blacks as they embarked on a campaign to win another Rugby World Cup.

However, Gemma McCaw decided to head home with the girls slightly earlier than planned, writing on social media that “the reality of traveling with three kids under 5 has been a wild ride to say the least”.

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