The house built by one of New Zealand’ s most notorious drug lords has been placed on the market for sale – complete with its own escape tunnel and helicopter pad on the front lawn.
The waterfront mansion in the Bay of Islands was built for Terry Clark, who headed the ‘Mr Asia’ international drug syndicate, which smuggled millions of dollars worth of heroine into New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom in the 1970s.
Known for his ruthless and extreme violence, Clark gained the moniker of ‘Mr Asia’ after successfully plotting the murder of its previous leader Marty Johnstone. Using his profits from the empire, Clark started building his multi-million dollar dream home at Okiato Point in the Bay of Islands. However, he never completed the project as he was arrested for Johnstone’s murder in 1979 and went to prison where he died four years later.
The property, which includes a main house and a cottage, was later sold. It has now been placed on the market with Bayleys Auckland by negotiation.
Located at 49 Okiato Road, the stunning two-storey, six-bedroom main house is built on an elevated two-hectare site encompassing the peninsula and overlooking the water. When the current owners bought the property in 1997, it was in a state of disrepair. They spent ten years fully renovating the house and landscaping the grounds, said Mr Rendell.
The owners were aware of the property’s history when they bought it and some remnants of its infamous past still remain – including a wardrobe leading to an alleged escape passage under the house, he said.
“There’s a hatch under a wardrobe, which you can go down and comes out about 10 metres in front of the house, towards the water – allowing a potential quick escape by boat. We were told the space was for ventilation, but it could have been an escape tunnel for its previous owner, some locals say,” said Mr Rendell.
A heliport which Clark has incorporated into the property and which remains today, is also believed to have been part of his alternative escape plan by air if needed – reminiscent of the 1980s gangster movie Scarface.
Entrance to the property is through security gates, offering maximum privacy and security. The main house opens to a large entrance hall leading to two floors, each with their own kitchen and living areas and decks to capture all-day sun. The upstairs floor has a mezzanine, two large bedrooms with ensuites and lounge areas. Downstairs has a formal lounge and dining room, four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
A smaller residence located 50 metres away, can sleep up to seven people, providing additional self-contained accommodation, said Bayleys Auckland Central salesperson Chester Rendell, who is marketing the property with colleague Irene Bremner. It features an open-plan kitchen, lounge and dining
area leading to decks with views out to the Veronica Channel and beyond.
The landscaped grounds include a spa, manicured lawns, native bush and pathways large enough to be used by golf carts to access all parts of the property. Four moorings and a floating jetty big enough to accommodate sports or pleasure boats of up to 50 feet and a boatshed with its own cradle rails and docking system a for the launching of smaller powerboats make access to the water effortless, said Mr Rendell.
“This is the perfect place to relax with family and friends, only 10 minutes from Russell and three hours from Auckland,” said Mr Rendell. “The property is large enough to cater for several families and brings together the best of both worlds – a stunning, private, waterfront sanctuary, yet easily accessible to amenities and everything the Bay of Islands has to offer.
“It is rare to find a property of this calibre that combines the facilities, size and sought-after location of this one. The property’s colourful history is likely to only add to its appeal and the interest of potential buyers.”
The property would appeal to a family wanting a magnificent permanent home or an expansive holiday home, said Mr Rendell.
The property has a rateable value of $2.35 million. However, it is expected to sell well in excess of this figure, said Mr Rendell.