Bayleys news & articles

Internationally-renown author and artist places diverse rural landholding on the market for sale

Tags: Marlborough Rural

One of New Zealand’s most diverse rural properties – owned by an internationally-renowned author and artist whose talents range from olive oil and wine-making through to fiction writing and painting – has been placed on the market for sale.

The 122 hectare property in Waihopai Valley south of Marlborough is owned by eclectic entrepreneur and culture aficionado Mike Ponder and his wife Di ,who have developed the site over the past eight years – expanding its productive capacity year-on-year.

The Ponder name is synonymous with viticulture in Marlborough – dating back to the early 1990s for the manufacture of award-winning wines. Mike Ponder is also regarded as the early pioneer in New Zealand’s niche virgin olive oil market. He is also a professional artist – best known for his iconic stockman works.

Mike Ponder is also an author, well known for his non-fiction works on olive oil and art. He has also written two best-selling novels, The Windsor Conspiracy and Four Kings. The third to complete the trilogy will be released shortly.

The Ponders’ Tyntesfield Road property up for sale contains one of the most varied income streams in New Zealand’s rural sector, including:

  • Some 30 hectares of planted sauvignon blanc and pinot noir vines with a commercial grape supply contract in place
  • Approximately 50 hectares grazed by premium breeding cattle
  • Nearly 25 hectares of mature pine trees primed for harvesting over the coming decade
  • 300 olive trees producing
  • 70 walnut trees


  • A recently renovated two-bedroom cottage available for visitor and tourism lets.

The freehold land, buildings, and business assets are being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Marlborough. Viticulture sales specialist John Hoare said the property and its diversity or revenue streams reflected Mike Ponder’s own colourful personality.

“Occasionally you can find a vineyard for sale which may have a commercial accommodation dwelling on it. Or a cattle grazing farm with a forestry block to one side. Or an olive plantation with an adjoining specialist horticultural activity on the periphery. But I certainly haven’t seen anything that has all of these aspects on one single property,” Mr Hoare said.

“To say that there are multiple revenue streams is somewhat of an understatement. There’s so much going on with this property…. it’s a goldmine opportunity for potential buyers to think where to start.”

The vineyard plantings are split into 28.5 hectares of sauvignon blanc and 1.5 hectares of pinot noir. The crops are being sold with a supply contract in place to Matua Wines, with the sauvignon blanc vines annually producing between 400 – 500 tonnes of fruit.


Meanwhile the shorthorn cattle herd comprises 24 breeding cows and 15 heffers. Stud bulls are brought in for mating purposes. In the centre of the 122 hectare estate is a wetland area containing a natural lake teeming with wildlife including ducks, swans and exotic royal spoonbills.

The property’s homestead is an open plan style three-bedroom/ two bathroom residence with its own sleepout and internal garage, while additional farm and vineyard infrastructure includes a hay barn, a large farm equipment/implement and general storage shed, and two cattle yards.

The separate two-bedroom/two bathroom cottage on the property was fully renovated four years ago to create an open plan residence containing modern appliances and décor.


Mr Hoare said the pine forest plantings were an added bonus offering in the Tyntesfield Road package - as they could be harvested now, or in the short to medium term.

“Mike’s enthusiasm for environmental sustainability is well documented. As a member of the New Zealand Forestry Council, he consistently championed the cause of the small scale forest owner,” Mr Hoare said.

“And he very much lived what he preached when it came to sustainable land management – not only seeding substantial olive groves and boundary vine rows not only for aesthetic purposes, but also the commercially- harvestable pine plantations for logging.”

Related articles