A RETIRED building engineer, artist and life-long Buddhist, who gifted his 6ha Takou Bay property to a Buddhist trust to use as a meditation centre, has died aged 96.
Bruno Mertens died peacefully on April 19, at the Kaikohe Care Centre, where he had been a resident since 2008.
His funeral was held at the Otaha Rd property, now used by the Pannarama Buddhist Sati School, last Thursday.
Friends of Mr Mertens said he would be cremated and his ashes scattered on the property.
Mr Mertens was born in the Netherlands, but moved to New Zealand in the late 1980s.
He founded an engineering firm in Kaeo because he wanted to help poor people, then gifted the business to his employees.
He later sold a large collection of his art works, donating the proceeds to blindness prevention charity the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Mr Mertens devoted most of his life to learning and teaching meditation and was a Buddhist monk in Thailand for 18 months in the 1930s.
It was a long-held wish that his Takou Bay property, where he built a domed meditation hall out of earth bricks, one day be a place where people could learn meditation.
- © Fairfax NZ News