The Pittar family, who are well known for their internationally-published book series and contributions to charity have placed their much-loved Gisborne on the market.
Gill and John Pittar bought Waikereru homestead and the 25 hectares it sits on in 1987. Since then the couple have raised their family in the idyllic home, farmed the land and built up internationally successful book and doll company Milly, Molly which supports several charities, from the property. More recently, their son and youngest daughter’s weddings were held at the property and it is the venue for regular family gatherings with their children, seven grandchildren and extended family.
With their children grown up, the six-bedroom home now exceeds the Pittars’ needs so they have decided to move to a smaller property and have reluctantly placed Waikereru on the market for sale.
Bayleys Gisborne salespeople Kirsty Ingram and Simon Bousfield are marketing the property through a tender process closing on December 17. Waikereru has a rateable value of $750,000.
Located at 1235 Riverside Road, the property offers country living while only 20 minutes from Gisborne. Set in secluded park-like grounds, the sprawling six-bedroom bungalow features an office, spacious kitchen opening to a formal dining area, marble fireplaces, and a double garage. Also on the land are cattle yards, a high-stud warehouse, and implement sheds.
The 25-hectare property is made up of Waimata River flats, suitable for horticulture or crops, native bush, a small fruit orchard and stunning established trees and abundant birdlife – which were an instant attraction for Gill Pittar.
“I immediately felt at home here - the smells, sounds, country silence, seasonal changes, hills, river, trees, and the birdlife…..I love it all.
“Among the grounds are magnificent Maples, Chestnuts, Oaks, Elms, Birches, a huge Magnolia Grandiflora, Flowering Cherries and a pocket of native trees. The dawn chorus is a joy to wake to, with Waikereru home to a multitude of birds,” she said.
During their time at the property the Pittars have carried out several renovations to return the 90-year-old homestead to its former glory including extending the verandah, adding an outdoor living area and an additional bathroom.
Mr Pittar said: “The property is large enough to accommodate all of our children and grandchildren and has been the location of many memorable family gatherings, which always create much mirth and mayhem”.
“Barbecues, competitive golf games, trolley races down the slope in the garden are all popular activities when we get together. The family also likes to be involved with the animals on the property. We fatten 30 bullocks each year and have sheep, which the children love to help with.”
Not only has Waikakereru been home to the couple and their children, it also provided inspiration for characters in the Milly, Molly book series created by Mrs Pittar.
The concept for the company started with a double-headed doll - Milly who is dark and Molly who is fair - to promote tolerance and understanding between people of different ethnicities. The dolls carry the message, ‘We may look different but we feel the same’.
The dolls and their message were well received and as a result the Milly, Molly book series was launched and the books are published in more than 100 countries. Milly and Molly are five-year-old best friends who live in the countryside and have several adventures. Among the characters featured in the book are Farmer Hegarty, a piglet and a lamb.
“Farmer Hegarty was inspired by the previous owner of the property, and Oink the piglet and Little Dot the Lamb were tiny runts born at Waikereru. The rest of the animals and adventures featured in the stories come from my rural childhood years and my children’s experiences when they were young,” said Mrs Pittar.
John Pittar joined Milly, Molly as managing director and runs the global business from his office at Waikereru. The doll, merchandise, television and publishing company also contributes to a number of charities.
The peaceful rural setting of the property and it’s accessibility to Gisborne and beyond meant a new owner could have the best of both worlds, said Mr Pittar.
“With internet availabilty and the airport only 20 minutes away, a new owner could run their business from Waikereru and travel to Auckland or other cities when required without the stress of long daily commutes,” he said.
Kirsty Ingram said the property would be ideally suited to a young family looking for an idyllic place to raise their children, or a horticultural-minded couple.
“It would be difficult to find a better place for children to grow up. For a young family there is room for horses, a vegetable garden, an orchard, plenty of space to run around and a river on the back doorstep. Alternatively, it could appeal to a working couple, with the option of commuting if necessary, or an older couple wanting a rural lifestyle that is close to Gisborne.
“Waikereru is the perfect spot for anyone seeking a rural paradise.”
For further information about Waikereru contact Bayleys Gisborne salespeople Kirsty Ingram on 027 749 7839 or Simon Bousfield on 027 665 8778.