Raglan spacehouse trekking south
When children asked, Captain Peter Farrell told them his house had come from outer space - provided their parents allowed this, of course.
Now, the spaceship home that has captured the imagination of thousands of Raglan children is blasting off on its next mission - to Christchurch.
As publisher of the book Baches of Raglan - a project by Wintec media art students - former Waikato Times editor Venetia Sherson interviewed Mr Farrell in 2008 about his experiences in the quirky home.
The out-of-this-world house was snapped up by Mr Farrell when his ship berthed in Tauranga in the 1970s following a voyage from India. While aboard the ship, Mr Farrell had come across a copy of Playboy magazine with an article on Hugh Hefner showing that the famous ladies man owned a "moon house".
When he came across one in a field in Tauranga Mr Farrell "bought it on the spot". "I fell in love with it, especially since it gave me something in common with Hugh Hefner," Mr Farrell told Ms Sherson.
He spoke of the warmth the house held in winter, boiling heat in summer and the quirks of the house, such as steps which raise like a drawbridge.
The former owner of the Raglan spacehouse died last year, but Ms Sherson fondly remembers her interview with him at the house.
"It was a total tip when I visited him. He'd accumulated a lot during his voyages and it was just packed with memorabilia. He had to clear a place for me to sit," she said.
He told her of the great romance the house held, especially on a moonlit night with an attractive lady around, though the former seafarer never married.
The "futuro" house, which is built of fibreglass and sits on a concrete pad, is the product of idealistic space race-era thinking by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. It went on the market last February, soon after Mr Farrell's death.
Ray White Raglan director Julie Hanna said there had been huge interest in the property, especially when it grabbed media attention last year.
She said most of the potential buyers were looking to relocate the home. It eventually sold at auction for $80,000, to be dismantled and relocated to Christchurch.
Mr Farrell was a well-known local and "lovely old fella", Mrs Hanna said.
"He would be happy enough just to know that someone loves it enough to take it and give it a new home, because that's what he did."
The Maori-lease land on which the spacehouse sat has now been taken off the market as the owner has realised its value, she said.
Maori-lease lands had been selling at about $80,000 for the past few years, but the most recent sale fetched $295,000.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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