21 Nov 2020

Colin Maclaren: The Man On The Island

From Saturday Morning, 10:45 am on 21 November 2020

Colin Maclaren of Rakino Island (population 19) is the central figure in a new documentary The Man On The Island.

The 77-year-old tells Kim Hill he spends his time designing, taking photos, growing olives and working on the local Rakino News.

Colin first bought 12 acres on Rakino - which is 22km northeast of Auckland - in the 1970s when "it looked like the world was going to a hell in the handcart".

He thought he could grow his own food there but it turned out there was a lack of water and an overabundance of "predators" such as pukeko: "You've got to create San Quentin, really".

He moved the island full-time in 1990 and shortly after tried to get into the accommodation game but realised he wasn't cut out for it.

"I discovered people coming to an island expect everything they can get at the Plaza Hotel, plus a beach … I had the beach, I didn't have the Plaza Hotel … and I observed that I'm the Basil Fawlty of Rakino."

Instead, Colin tells Kim Hill he's spent his time designing - clothes, buildings and books.

"And I suppose I've designed my own life ... I'm not troubled by being on my own. And if being on your own is being reclusive I guess I am."

The Man on the Island will open in select cinemas nationwide from November 23.

Colin Maclaren at home on Rakino island

Colin Maclaren at home on Rakino island Photo: supplied