The homestead's owners and hosts are Mike and Antonia Radon, who live in nearby Whekenui Bay. Together with their three grown children, they work the 3.6km² farm, which includes their paua raising and paua pearl business.
The Radon's, she from Wellington and he from California, met in Northern California, where they were part of a caravan-living community riding on a massive boom in the sea urchin (Kina) industry.
In 1993, on one of their regular off-season trips to New Zealand, they bought the cottage as part of the 360ha farm owned and run by the Perano family since the 1920s. Since then they are have worked extremely hard to build together the Paua farm where they now grow beautiful paua pearls, and raise baby paua.
Their children having lived their whole lives on Arapawa, are now taking over more of the responsibilities. Sarah is the stock manager who takes care of the sheep and cattle. Jacob is a confident diver and not one bit afraid of the cool chilly waters of the Cook Strait and James is the keen young fisherman with sights to fish in Alaska and locally in the near future. There is much to explore around our rugged island farm. Arapawa Homestead is surrounded by stunning scenery and panoramic vistas of Cook Strait, Tory Channel and the heads at the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds. The island is steeped in the rich history of the Marlborough region. Until 1993, the homestead and accompanying farm was owned and operated by the Perano family who ran a whaling station on the island. Remnants of the factory are still there today.
Getting to Arapawa
Boat owners coming to Whekenui Bay would launch at Waikawa Marina. Out Queen Charlotte sounds, turn right at Tory Channel. Travel approx 10kms almost to the entrance to Cook Strait. Our wharf is located to the left of the leading lights, on left side of channel going out.
For those without boats there are a number of ways to reach Whekenui Bay. If you are coming from Picton you can either take a trip on the mail boat or there are water taxis available. For a quick trip from Wellington, indulge in a short Helicopter ride. Water taxi tours from Whekenui Bay to the outer Marlborough Sounds can be arranged. Dinghy and boat mooring is included in the tariff. It takes approximately 35 minutes by private charter. The mail boat from Picton arrives twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays, leaving Picton around 1pm. The leisurely trip takes between 1-3 hours.
You will need to bring your own supplies to the island as there are no roads in or shops close by. You can order your groceries from the mainland. It's such a great way to get your shopping done.
There are two supermarkets we order through.
Blenheim New World. Ph: 03 520 9030
New World uses Mark Jackson to courier the groceries to Arapawa Island.
Picton Fresh choice. Ph: 03 573 6463
Your supplies come in on the mail boat, with a charge of $3.00 a box to your grocery invoice. Order by 12 noon the day before mail boat delivery day.