Tom Neale
Guy Lochhead, 04/03/12
New Zealander famous for living for sixteen years on a remote desert island in the Suwarrow atoll, in three periods between 1952 and 1977. He decided to live here as a sort of development of a first job care taking empty shops on various Cook Islands. He had the opportunity to visit Suwarrow and decided he wanted to live there. His first stay lasted from 1952-1954. He put his back out throwing an anchor off his boat and was luckily rescued, after four days of agonising pain in his hut, by a passing yacht. He returned to the island six years later, after a long struggle to get permission to go back there. In that period he married and had two children. His second stay ended in 1964 as he found periodic visits from pearl divers increasingly annoying. In this period away, he wrote an autobiography. The sales of this allowed him to buy more provisions for his return in 1967. He stayed for ten years until he was discovered suffering from stomach cancer in 1977. He died in hospital on Rarotonga. What a strange life! I would like to include his autobiography, as I’m sure it’s an interesting read…

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