Who Is The Whangamata Marina Society?

After many passionate and well articulated submissions on the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement with regard to protection of Aotearoa’s Surf Breaks by many surf rider clubs, organisations and individuals in 2008, I caught up with Paul Shanks, who orally submitted on behalf of the Surfbreak Protection Society.

Paul relayed to me with some concern (and several expletives) about an organisation also present calling themselves; The New Zealand Marina Operators Association (who also represent the Whangamata Marina Society) this group were insisting on making things easier for their members to build in the Coastal Marine Area.

The New Plymouth Surf Riders Club also witnessed this gang in action, this excerpt from NP Surf riders September 2009 issue of Lineup;

“STREAM-LINING THE RMA. After nine years of waiting Nic Smith and Gerry Brownlie have the

Opportunity to make life easier for developers and cut the public and concerned organisations out of the resource consent process.

Be under no illusions that there are power and rich companies lobbying Government. At the Waikato hearing a joint New Zealand and American company clearly stated , “We want to construct 5 marinas along the Bay of Plenty coast bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy and if you do

not amend the RMA legislation we will withdraw and leave New Zealand”.

You could see the local politicians eyes glaze over with dollar signs as they plotted to buy into a slice of the action as they lobbied Government to push the changes through. And there is little doubt that the RMA will be changed in favour of the developers as the voters of the country forgot what MMP is all about and gave National the mandate to change the way things are done with impunity.

Whoops! Can’t get political. It’s just not done to speak up in this country, you have to let our elected

representatives do what they think is right.”

So who are these companies involved in developing a multiplicity of private spaces along our public foreshore and seabed?

This spreadsheet outlines some of the companies (I have yet to add shareholders on sheet 2 ) involved, of note is Minuteman Holdings ltd, and USNZ Forest Group Ltd, and in particular, The directors of the PRITCHARD GROUP from Otaki. and of the business partnerships of the Pritchard’s. The Matakana entities are interrelated. to quote from the Pritchard Group website:

“Our joint ventures are successful due to the fact that they pool both parties’ resources.
The usual agreement allows the landowner to sit back and literally watch as consents
are granted and the land developed while contributing capital consisting only of land.”

The relationships between Matakana and Whangamata become more obvious by researching the companies office website , company numbers are provided in the spreadsheet.

In 1992 a group of businessmen held a meeting and decided that the best way forward to develop a marina at Whangamata was to start an incorporated “community” Society to progress the project.

The stand alone society is of course, a separate legal entity, proclaiming to be “community based.”

Written in to its constitution is that it will; “work with other individuals, groups, companies or organisations interested or involved in the establishment of a marina at Whangamata.”

Graeme Ingham is an Account, a previous director of Ingham Mora Ltd, a director of TE KOTUKUTUKU CORPORATION LIMITED and  TKC Holdings, (a shareholder of which is the MATAKANA ISLAND TRUST) Ingham’s son in law is the detective who signed off the death of Sonny Tawhiao as suicide.

Ingham Mora Ltd was appointed as the Whangamata Marina Society Accountants after Richard Lusk passed away in October 2007.

The wetland that has just been turned into a hardstand for a car park is also creating a high density housing area. This public land is to be sold to a “preferred developer.”

The marina is now nearly complete, Prime Minister John Key is expected to open it around November 21st 2009. The marina project has been blessed with about 14 new non notified or varied consents. And the dredged channel is now not being rock lined, Paul Shanks of Whangamata attended a community meeting on the first weekend of October 2009, where Whangamata Marina Society president Mick Kelly answered some questions.

One of those questions answered by Kelly was that yes they will now have to dredge a lot more than was consented for, and a new consent will be needed for that. Non notified no doubt, but Hauraki Maori are an affected party.

Another thing mentioned is that the marina has come in directly on budget. This I presume would be a greater cost if the channel had to be rock lined.

Paul Shanks showed me a letter last year in which The Strategic Assets manager of Thames Coromandel District Council, John Whittle, stated that the wetland that has now been turned into a High Density Housing Area is to be sold off to a “preferred developer” this has also been mentioned in the past.

The Marina Society has often stated that they are just a community based organisation, and as Mai Chen of Chen and Palmer stated, the society are involved in a David and Goliath situation. It does however, appear that the Marina society committee members mix in some very influential circles, which suggest the opposite.

This land below outlined in red (approximate) is the Governor Heights Subdivision in Whangamata. The main rd of the subdivision is named Herbert Drive. The subdivision was developed in 1994-1996 by Inshallah Investments Ltd (now Spica investments) notable directors are Dick Mahoney, Pritchard and Pritchard, of the Pritchard Group, who are known for many marina and coastal developments around the country, including the one proposed for Matakana Island.

An approximate of land at Governor Hts

An approximate of land at Governor Hts

Dick Mahoney (seen here with Mick Kelly at Judicial review of veto) is also a committee member of the Whangamata Marina society.


John Gillooly is (also a committee member and Whangamata marina manager ) a business partner with a Fitzgerald, that family prominent in the Matakana land dealings.

This from the CAFCA website :

  • U.S.A. residents, Messrs Dittmar, Druckenmiller and Bacon, are restructuring their ownership of three farms on the Coromandel Peninsula. Carolina Farms Ltd will own 1,189 hectares of land previously owned by Ned Farm Ltd, Whangamata Farm Ltd, and Ohinemuri Farm Ltd. The farms were bought in 1993, when they were reported by the OIC to total 1,120 hectares. It appears more land has been acquired without notification. The same people own 212 hectares of sheep farming land at Lake Hayes near Queenstown which they purchased the same year (then reported to be 210 hectares). The ownership of this is also be restructured, moving from Threepwood Farm Ltd to Protocol Holdings Ltd. Carolina Farms and Threepwood Farm are to be owned by the Coromandel Settlement Trust, the Stanley F. Druckenmiller Jersey Trust and the PCI Trust, the respective settlors of which are the three men and their associated family interests.

On August 24th 2009 Carolina farms director Herbert Hoell passed away. The Directorship has been passed on to Jacqueline Joy Pritchard, the credit Suisse shareholding has been transfered to Louis M Bacon.

Hoell was on the staff of the Watergate committee, owns several hundred of thousands of acres of forest lands in New York state and elsewhere.

Michael James Damien Dee was also a director of Carolina Farms. Dee is the Chairman of Europlan international Fiduciaries which is reported, among other things, to be a front company  for slush funds regarding many questionable deals and federal indictments. As well as connected to breaches of restricted arms sales. Dee’s Europlan, has always been a shareholder, (Dee has just been reappointed as a director) the other shareholding is in the name of Credit Suisse.

Mr Louis Bacon is also very wealthy in his own right, Chairman and CEO of Moore Capital Investment a hedge fund manager and trader. Bacon’s MCI is widely believed to have been involved, and profited by Meriwether’s Long Term capital Management (LTCM) influencing of the 1998 weakening of the Euro, and leveraging up to a trillion dollars worth of derivatives.

Bacon’s MCI has been ranked as world no.1 for assets, and among the top six hedge funds for performance. Bacon is also the principle investor in Apex Silver Mines Ltd. a company that boasts the largest private silver holdings in the world. Bacon owns the historic Robins Island in Long Island Sound, New York,

Mr. Druckenmiller is widely regarded as one of the preeminent money managers in the world. In 1992 he made two Billion dollars U.S. profit in a matter of weeks for his mentor George Soros, and by June 1993 had acquired properties at Whangamata and Queenstown.

This was the same time that David Rare of Ngati Pu reported seeing an Enron marked helicopter land at Whangamata farm.

The Whangamata Farm was once owned by Mick Kelly, and transferred to the above men, I understand that Kelly still resides on the property, and has worked in a farm management roll. Bell Gully Ltd describes is administration of Carolina Farms as : General management services, including the development of 400 hectares of plantation forestry, and rural subdivision, on 1200 hectares at Whangamata – ongoing.”

The Photo below was mapped with ‘TUMONZ’ and the property data being up to 3 years old, I don’t have access to updated data, but I doubt much has changed. The Whangamata Farm along with two others has been incorporated into what is now known as Carolina Farms. Whangamata can be seen at the left of the picture, Whiritoa at the right, about 12km away by road. The Directors are now Pritchard, Bacon, and Dee. (click on the image to enlarge in a new window)


With the likes of Drukenmiller , Dittmar and Bacon landing their immense wealth in little old Whangamata, and their ability to influence major world currencies, does it really look like the David and Goliath situation Mai Chen portrays in favour of the marina developers? I suspect it is all done with mirrors.

The sighting of the Enron helicopter at Carolina Farm back in 92/93 does not lend me much confidence in the Overseas Investment Office ability to be anything more than a rubber stamp for the confiscation of our coastal rural land, and Foreshore and Seabed.

At this point in time I do not know the total Prized Bay Of Plenty / Coromandel coastal real estate that belongs in the hands of foreign investors, but with what has happened in Matakana and Whangamata I believe that even I would be surprised if the Overseas Investment Office ever decided to take proactive steps to find out, and report back to the New Zealand public it supposedly serves.

When I hear Nick Smith incessantly complaining that 50% of New Zealand is locked up in Conservation reserve, I am fully aware that the writing is on the wall for many more species, some yet to be classified as endangered.

How many more Areas of Significant Conservation Value, in particular wetlands and estuaries and any rare native species that inhabit them, must be exterminated for the sake of marinas and the supposed increased capitisation and benefit they presumably bring? The Carolina farmowners are capble of buying New Zealand many times over.

So much for Mai Chen working for David versus Goliath it appears to me that it could be no further from the truth.

Whatever happened to our sovereignty? Law and justice is just a commodity, just another Over The Counter Derivative. Sovereignty is just an illusion.

As for the Pritchard’s and Fitzgerald’s of this land? Their many multiple business partnerships with foreign investors appears to emulate Long Term Capital Management as this excerpt from a July 2009 article of the Bay of Plenty Times demonstrates:

A Matakana Investment director Brian Fitzgerald told the Bay of Plenty Times that his group will fit in with want (sic) the local community wants – it could be a marine project that takes place over 30 to 50 years.”

Well Done Right Honourable Dr Nick Smith, previous Minister of Conservation, Current Minister for the Environment, and nothing more than a company man.

And today, John Key is clinking Gin and Tonics with the marina developers, celebrating the “local boaties” finally getting a marina to park their palaces.

The real local boaties are now facing parking charges by the council because of the marina, and are squeezed for access. So much for foreshore for all.

For an up to date assessment of the devastation at Whangamata, go to : http://whangamatacampingassociation.blogspot.com/

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