Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Island Paradise for Sale

An Island Paradise for Sale


Pakatoa Island

The nearest I got to a des-res was a day trip to Pakatoa island with my university flat mates, I, L and LG, in the late 1970s. We were among the rich and the not so rich but masquerading to be rich to get away from it all. We went in their private boat, swam in the swimming pool, drank from their bar and ate in the licensed restaurant. We watched people playing golf and tennis, and wished we were not day trippers but campers in their chalets.

Then in the 1980s, I worked for the Kerridge Odeon Corporation founded by the movie mongul Kerridge family who owned this island and paid their accounts. I rubbed shoulders with the captain of their private boat Kotuku. I didn’t get to go to the island but worked from their city office at 246 Queen Street building, and liaised on the phone with the managers of the resort and their store.

Companies sent their staff for conferences to what was a time for play rather than for work. Their most famous employees must be Russell Crowe. He was seventeen when he became the entertainments officer for Pakatoa Island Resort. He laughs when reminded of that time. "Yeah, it was lovely living on an island but I got sick of organizing Bingo tournaments.”

Alas, the corporation no longer belongs to the Kerridge family and Pakatoa Island was up for sale. A German con artist caused quite a stir in the late 1990s. Ralf Simon offered to buy the island with no money in his pocket or bank account. He was subsequently deported.

Now, the island is for sale for a mere $40 million dollars. It is approximately sixty acres and is only 45 kilometers from Auckland city. The weather is mild, and you can arrive in Auckland by air or by sea.

***Kotuku in Maori is a white bird, egret. By coincidence, my room where I teach ESOL is the Kotuku room***

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