The Halls’ island paradise
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.