Country estate ranks as one of Rotorua’s finest
March 2023

Country estate ranks as one of Rotorua’s finest

Growing up in Natal, South Africa, Derek Clarke’s family home neighboured a dairy farm. 

Derek and his brother spent many hours with the cows, so knew where milk comes from, not to mention where calves come from. Moving to adulthood, Derek went into medicine, though remained fascinated with farming. 

By 1994 Derek was an orthopaedic surgeon at Rotorua Hospital. Needing space to give their horse-loving high school-aged daughter Emma free rein, Derek and wife Jenny bought a 16 hectare property overlooking Lake Rotorua, just beyond the city limits at Tikitere, 12 kilometres north east of the CBD. In the 29 years since they have put plenty into the property, and gained even more back, as Derek explains. 

“It is a Cape Cod type house, which appealed to us, and there was abundant space. Over the years we’ve purchased plenty of dry root stock, and those specimens are now big and mature oaks, London plain trees and acers, among other species, while the shelter belts have also fully established. 

“We aimed for the aesthetic of an English country estate, and the trees play a large part in that,” he says. While the trees were growing, Derek revisited his childhood interest in farming.

“Under the influence of a stockman neighbour, we set up a Poll Dorset stud. To begin with I knew nothing about sheep, though with plenty of good advice, for many years we bred Poll Dorsets, and did well, including winning prizes at the Waikato A&P Show. We also established a small herd of Hereford cattle, and calved each year.

“Since so many Bay of Plenty farms went from sheep to cattle a few years ago, rather than having to put one ram in the trailer to take him to a lifestyle block, which is what we were doing rather than loading up the stock truck to take mobs of them to farms, we finished with the Poll Dorsets and now run a flock of Romneys, which are better suited to the property: they are smaller and I can flip one onto its back, which I couldn’t do with the Poll Dorsets,” says Derek.

ROT37303 Lifestyle Collection blog 2023 - house

Derek is semi-retired now, using his expertise in trauma surgery to provide medico-legal opinions to Australian lawyers and plaintiffs. Although the Clarkes have decided it’s time to make a move, they are not going far. They’ve subdivided a small portion from the property for a new build retirement home. 

Graham Beaufill of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Rotorua is selling the Tikitere property, which he describes as one of the district’s finest. 

“All the necessary attributes are in place here: a large six bedroom, two-storey colonial brick dwelling with modern fixtures and a granny flat attached; predominantly flat to sloping land, including a main race to most paddocks, suited to prized stock or an equine base; sheds for a truck or stables plus attached shearing shed, implement shed, sheep and cattle yards; and extensive plantings to emphasise the grand setting, which capitalises on stunning views across Lake Rotorua to Mokoia Island,” says Graham. 

Now with a 16.34 hectare footprint after boundary adjustments, the Tikitere property has a listing price of $2.95 million.

ROT37303 Lifestyle Collection blog 2023 - cows

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