The Halls’ is­land par­adise

Kapi-Mana News - - MANA ISLAND SPECIAL - By RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

Es­cap­ing the world and be­com­ing the sole oc­cu­pants on a re­mote is­land is some­thing many only dream of, but for the Hall fam­ily it is their life.

Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion Ranger Jeff Hall and his fam­ily are the only peo­ple who live on Mana Is­land full­time, though there is ac­com­mo­da­tion for sea­sonal work­ers.

The fam­ily have lived in their 1970s three-bed­room house, com­plete with bright car­pet, for two years.

They re­turn to the main­land ev­ery 10 days, and have to care­fully plan meals to last the time be­tween.

‘‘It has its chal­lenges, but it’s nice to be away from the hus­tle and bus­tle,’’ Jeff Hall said.

Like any good Welling­to­ni­ans, the cou­ple look for­ward to real cof­fee when they visit the main­land.

Hav­ing a whole is­land to roam is any child’s dream and the boys have quickly learnt how to take care of their en­vi­ron­ment.

Hall said that though it wasn’t the av­er­age child­hood, Brodie, 3, came to the is­land so young he just saw it as home, whereas for the first year Finn, 6, thought they were on hol­i­day.

‘‘I would like to be able to see it through their eyes. I think they think that we are ob­scenely rich.’’

His wife, Ali­cia, home­schools Finn. She said rais­ing two boys on the is­land was ‘‘ awe­some and chal­leng­ing. There is space and we can give the kids free­dom they wouldn’t nor­mally have.’’

The fam­ily have tele­vi­sion and in­ter­net and like his peers, Finn is ob­sessed with Mind­craft and Lego.

The only way to get to Mana Is­land is by boat.

Life as the is­land ranger in­volves re­port­ing weather to Niwa, mow­ing the tracks, or­gan­is­ing groups, set­ting and check­ing bait sta­tions, track­ing species, weed re­moval, keep­ing an eye on breed­ing and keep­ing the place pest-free.

‘‘One of the things I like about my days is they are not all that av­er­age. It’s a life less or­di­nary I sup­pose,’’ Hall said.

Some­times it was easy to for­get what a par­adise they lived in, Hall said, but ev­ery time vis­i­tors came he was re­minded.

‘‘When you see it through fresh eyes it rein­vig­o­rates you a bit,’’ he said.

With a third child on the way in April, the fam­ily will be tak­ing a few months off on the main­land.

Mana Is­land is open to vis­i­tors all year round and does not re­quire a per­mit.

Is­land life: Jeff Hall, left, with his wife Ali­cia and chil­dren Finn, left, and Brodie.

No fear: Brodie Hall, 3, gets up close and per­sonal with a common gecko.

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