Luxury plans for Penrhyn hub

Friday April 29, 2016 Written by Published in Outer Islands
An artist’s impression of some of the accommodation the Merchant of Paradise group hopes to build on Penrhyn. 16042829 An artist’s impression of some of the accommodation the Merchant of Paradise group hopes to build on Penrhyn. 16042829

As well as developing a transhipment hub for commercial fishing activity at Omoka on Penrhyn (Tongareva), the Merchant of Paradise group wants to build plush resorts and accommodation on the remote northern island.


Included in the accommodation plans are “six-star” luxury villas, complete with butler service.

A comprehensive development plan sent to CI News on Wednesday by sources other than MOP, shows the group aims to build a 40-unit village resort on Omoka, a 15-unit “satellite resort” on Tetautua and five 8-unit fishing clubs on other atolls.

Funding for these ambitious plans would come from Chinese partners, MOP claims.

The plan notes that the developments will have to be approved by the Penrhyn community in order to proceeding to final approval.

The plan shows drawings of a 40-unit “Captain Cook” resort, that MOP says will come with “six-star” and five-star accommodation and four star self-catering units.

Six-star luxury villas will come with their own lap pool and spa, with a full kitchen, barbecue and the butler service, while two bedroom villas will also feature “dip pools,” full kitchens and barbecues.

The plan shows an artist’s impression of five-star luxury studios that it says will dominate the beachfront, with some studios located over the water.

According to the plan, a farm on Tongareva will supply fresh organic fruit and vegetables, free-roaming poultry, as well as eggs, pork and bacon.

Meanwhile, a 15 unit satellite resort on Tetautua atoll will integrate a farm and market, with accommodation similar to that at Omoka village resort, the plan says.

 “Unique to all Captain Cook resorts is respect accorded to God – the market and ferry service will close on Sundays, save for emergencies, so that all can worship at the market chapel.”

The plan says the Captain Cook village will feature a market incorporating “eateries,” fish and butcher’s shops, a convenience store, local stalls, a doctor’s clinic and a church.

Even more optimistically, the plan describes eight-unit “Captain Cook” brand fishing clubs to be developed on five other atolls.

These, the plan says, will be for fishing enthusiasts who want quick access to fishing grounds.

“Each club will have its own boat and equipment for fishing and diving with guests ‘guaranteed’ to catch a fish. Specialties are bone fishing, pearl diving, snorkelling and swimming with sharks in the lagoon and deep sea fishing.

“Additionally a fast ferry will be provided to connect Tetautua resort with Omoka resort and the airport, catering for resort guests and the public.”

MOP has previously announced plans to wet lease two BAe146 four-engined jets to provide the outer islands with a new air service. However MOP’s claims that these jets will airlift 250,000 passengers annually are totally unrealistic, according to one person who has checked the figures.

“If they were flying every day of the week with full aircraft, which is hugely unlikely, I believe they still couldn’t transport more than 60,000 people a year – and where are all these people going to come from?

“They say their ‘target fare’ is $200 one way for the northern group islands and $50 one way for the southern group, while charging $2 a kilo for freight to the northern group and just $1 a kilo to the southern islands.

“This is so far removed from economic reality, it’s ridiculous.”

The group also claims it will lease two 250-container ships to freight 70,000 tonnes of cargo nationally and internationally each year, again at low rates compared with the cost of present shipping services, with the disclaimer that in the case of both air services and shipping, charges will depend on all islands buying into their development plans for the outer islands.

As well as the construction of fishing hub infrastructure including extensions to the wharf to handle the 115 foreign fishing boats that it says will tranship 62,00 tonnes of fish, the plan details the financial benefits MOP claim will accrue to Penryhn landowners, including a “goodwill, payable upfront” payment of $10,000 an acre for land acquired for resorts, $75,000 for markets and depots and $50,000 for “farming and others.”

And it claims local partners will drive “some $30 million” profit after tax from fish transhipment alone.

A Penrhyn Islander who asked not to be named, described the plan as “insane.”

“Are these developers intending to turn us into an island of butlers?”


While the present population of Penryhn or Tongareva is uncertain, 2011 figures put it at around 200.


  • Comment Link unknown Wednesday, 06 July 2016 17:43 posted by unknown

    Wow!! They certainly knew how to dream !!
    Dreams are for free though right?? Lol
    oh well no harm done !! YEAH RIGHT!!!!

  • Comment Link i hope it isnt my family land that they are giving away to these Chinese land grabbing people, we certainly wouldnt be able to purchase land in China Saturday, 30 April 2016 23:13 posted by i hope it isnt my family land that they are giving away to these Chinese land grabbing people, we certainly wouldnt be able to purchase land in China

    I hope it isn't my family land that the Chinese taking from us. We certainly wouldn't have the same privilege buying land in China. Is this a way for them to build a stomping ground to attack the world from this end of the world? Also strip our waters of our Kai Moana. Be cautious people. This is dangerous. Seek advise before putting our islands at risk.

  • Comment Link Pou Vaeau Saturday, 30 April 2016 12:40 posted by Pou Vaeau

    Dream on!! Mark my words. THIS IS NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!! EVER!!

  • Comment Link Tera Albert Friday, 29 April 2016 21:26 posted by Tera Albert

    Me thinks MOP live in lala land. What on earth are these people drinking or smoking to come up with such ridiculous fantasies?

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