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Doak Course in New Zealand Proposed
Golf course architect Tom Doak may be plying his talents again in New Zealand. The Michigan native, who crafted the much-heralded Cape Kidnappers course on the island nation, has been hired by billionaire Los Angeles financier, Ric Kayne, to design a golf course on property along New Zealand's east coast north of Auckland.
According to an October 20, 2012, report in the New Zealand Herald (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10841745), the property - which boasts three miles of shoreline - features white-sand beaches, dunes and a pine forest. In addition to the golf course, Kayne also wants to develop 45 residential lots positioned discreetly inland, apart from the coast.
The site has been considered for development before; a former project sought 2,000 homes for 1,500 acres of the so-called "Mangawhai North" forest. Kayne's purchase involved $10 million for 570 acres, a much smaller footprint than the previous proposal.
Kayne's project has not gone through environmental review, and one of many issues that must be addressed is the habitat for the critically endangered fairy tern and other rare species that breed and nest in the dunes.
According to Herald reporter Geoff Cumming, the land sale has received approval from the Overseas Investment Office, with provisions to replace the pine forest with native plantings, protect dunes and wetland areas, and set up a conservation trust to protect the endangered shorebirds.
New Zealand conservationists are opposed to the project, primarily because the introduction of civilization to the natural area would bring along influences that would threaten wildlife. "One dog could wipe out the entire population here," Chris Wild, spokeswoman for the Te Arai Beach Preservation Society, told Cumming.
"Human disturbance and human-related pests have caused that destruction. We are down to the last, which is why we are not going to stop fighting. We are the line in the sand."
The 65-year-old Kayne, an avid golfer and sailor, operates Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, which manages more than $12 billion in investments. He'll need financial clout to assuage the opposition that his golf development will preserve this untrammeled stretch of New Zealand coast.