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 May 2006

Writer: Sue Hoffart
Photographer: Kevin Emirali

Sue Hoffart meets a Great Barrier resident who has made the most of the island's special magic.

At the south-eastern end of Great Barrier Island a gravel road passes a "No exit: legal road stops" sign. Judy Gilbert lives beyond the point of no return.

The former Auckland city dweller has happily forsaken reticulated power and water along with traffic noise, neighbours and the need to rush everywhere all the time. Now she’s used to gardening on steep, rocky, wind-ravaged terrain in the company of friendly kaka. And she is unfazed by the need to trap rats, deal with a composting toilet or wait for her grocery order to arrive by ferry.

This life is, after all, the realisation of a thirty-three-year dream. Judy was just nineteen and a first-year teacher when she bought into a collectively owned 240-hectare block of rugged coastal land on the island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.  continued

Reproduced with permission from NZ House & Garden
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