The homestead’s owners and hosts, Mike and Antonia Radon, began their journey as Arapawa
Seafarms in 2001. Starting with just four tanks in total, today they have over 200. Arapawa Seafarms was
originally geared toward the cocktail-size paua meat industry, claiming their first sale in 2003.
Since then, Arapawa Seafarms has shifted their focus and expanded their market to include growing paua for commercial re-seeding and Paua Pearls, also known as “Blue” or “Abalone” pearls.
These pearls are considered as the most lustrous and some of the rarest cultured pearls in the world due to New Zealand’s Paua species (Haliotis Iris) being endemic, fragile and also slow growing. Paua eats up to half its own body weight per week and requires constant supervision in a clean and spacious environment to ensure their wellbeing and survival. On top of this, each pearl takes at least 2.5 to 3 years to grow with only 5-10 pearls out of 50 (depending on the harvest) making it to, and then through the meat shucking, pearl processing and then the final grading currently done by the pearls sole buyer, Murray Brereton of Brereton Blue Pearls in Picton.
After all this work the graded pearls are handset into precious metals and sold through the
Brereton's shop in Picton or internationally on their website (www.breretonbluepearls.com
These are the only places in the world you can buy the Radon's stunning pearls.
The Radon and the Brereton families chose to work together exclusively because of the combined experience and specialized knowledge each possessed. The Breretons have specialized in Blue Pearls for over 15 years and the Radons have spent their lives diving for and growing Paua. Due to this skill they supply pearls of exceptional quality that any other grower would struggle to match.
They are one of the most reputable “seed” suppliers in New Zealand and hope to gain a similar reputation in the pearling business. Their first major pearl harvest
was in 2010.
Extensive paua farm tours are available upon request. The cost is $50 per person and includes afternoon tea, a short video and a walk around the farm. Depending on the time of year, it’s possible to see paua of all sizes, from dust-specs in a larval rearing tank to size paua with pearl inserts. Don’t miss this opportunity to glimpse a unique part of New Zealand marine life and spend time with experts in the paua industry. Tours take approximately 1 hour.