Spending a year in the US as a teenager on an American Field Service Interntional Scholarship must have been a seminal moment for Peter Cooper.
Today the son of a Kaitaia contractor divides his time between a ritzy residence in Newport Beach, California and a sumptious mansion in the Bay of Islands.
To describe it as a rags to riches story might be a step too far but Mr Cooper has come a long way since leaving the economically depressed Far North. He went on to become a partner at Auckland law firm Russell McVeagh as well as executive director of Lion Nathan, chief executive of LD Nathan & Co and joint managing director of Mace Development Corporation.
These days the man dubbed the “Kaitaia Kid” is a major property developer running Cooper & Company, which he founded in 1989. Since then he has developed a highly acclaimed residential and retail development in Texas known as Southlake Town Centre, while back home in New Zealand he is the brains behind Auckland’s $350-million Britomart development.
He is also putting his stamp on Northland, where he has built a 1487sq m family house on 1.6 hectares in his new Mountain Landing development. The property, which is believed to be worth around $12 million, is one of 44 residences that will eventually make up the development on the remote Purerua Peninsula in the Bay of Islands.
In June, Cooper & Co emerged as a half-owner of Coliseum, the new media group that grabbed the rights to English Premier League soccer coverage.