Denis Mackenzie CSG
In March of 2017, it was reported that Graeme Hart, the richest man in New Zealand, had purchased a $24 million holiday home in Queenstown, marking the first eight-figure residential property sale in the resort. The property, located at the exclusive Closeburn Station, boasts six bedrooms and covers an area of 746 square metres. It also comes with a 144sq m day spa and 91sq m implements shed.
Interestingly, the property was originally built for the family trust of Brisbane businessman Denis Mackenzie, who founded IT company CSG Ltd. Mackenzie’s trust had commissioned the house from prominent Auckland architect Lawrence Sumich, and local builder Triple Star completed the 12-month build in December 2015.
At the time of the sale, Luxury Real Estate NZ agent Terry Spice was believed to have brokered the deal. Spice had also brokered the Australian family’s purchase of the site in 2012, which had set a then-record for the most expensive section sale in Queenstown at $2.85 million.
According to the resource consent application for the property, the house has five chimney stacks, formal avenues of exotic and native trees between the buildings, a sculpture garden including a 26sq m loggia between the main dwelling and the spa building, and a driveway about 180m long. The spa building itself includes a gym, relaxation area, indoor and outdoor spa, sauna and bathroom.
According to Sumich’s website, the client “wished for a resort-style retreat to share the beauty of Queenstown with his family and friends”. Sumich also noted that the “challenge, architecturally, was to provide the number of rooms required without overpowering the sensitivity of the site that is perched above the 12 Mile Delta.”
While Hart declined to comment on the purchase through his Rank Group PA, it was noted that the Queenstown property was just one of the big-ticket toys he had accumulated in recent years. In the July 2016 National Business Review Rich List, which again rated him New Zealand’s richest man, it was reported that he had recently launched two mega-yachts worth over $100m each in Norway, with one of them listed for sale at $266 million.
In addition to his Queenstown holiday home and mega-yachts, Hart’s Auckland family home was reportedly worth $45 million. He also reportedly owns two homes in Queenstown’s sister city of Aspen in the United States.
As mentioned, the Closeburn Station property was originally commissioned by the family trust of Denis Mackenzie, who founded IT company CSG Ltd. While little is known about Mackenzie himself, CSG has had a relatively high-profile history in Australia.
Founded in 1988, CSG was a provider of managed print and IT services to small and medium-sized businesses. In 2014, it acquired Australian IT services provider Business Connect and subsequently rebranded the company as CSG. However, CSG’s fortunes turned in 2016, when the company warned of a profit downgrade due to increased competition and pricing pressures. This led to a share price plunge of over 50%.
In 2017, the company was reportedly exploring strategic options, including a possible sale, as part of an effort to address its financial difficulties. However, in 2018, CSG announced that it would be divesting its technology solutions business and focusing on its print and managed IT services.
Today, CSG remains a leading provider of managed print and IT services in Australia and New Zealand. However, its financial struggles in recent years serve as a reminder of the challenges faced by even successful companies in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of technology.