Sunday, December 10, 2017

Somewhere in Tonga


If you're a juvenile in Germany and lack the money to travel the world, a knife might do: under Germany's 'enlightened' sentencing policy you'll be able to live on a tropical island in the Kingdom of Tonga instead of spending time in jail in Germany.

The island is real and so is the story, and both are now the subject of a feature film in which you can watch how 16-year-old Marcel, who in Germany and under the influence of drugs killed someone with a knife, repays his 'debt to society' on a tropical island in the South Seas.

Interestingly, the operators of this scheme found that Hunga Island was too bleak and miserable even for a murderer. Instead, they chose the tropical paradise of Kenutu.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Watch out for the small print!


Here it is:

"This company is overdue in its obligation to file an annual return. If the annual return is not filed immediately, the Registrar will initiate action to remove the company from the Register."

When you "buy" a "lease" in Cocomo or Seabreeze, all you're "buying" is 2,000 shares in a private company called "Hunga Island Estate Limited". No company, no shares; no shares, no lease! (if there ever was one!)

The two directors of the company, Mr & Mrs Fulivai, failed to lodge the annual return on time last year, and the company was only saved from being deregistered by a last-minute filing of the return on 11 Oct 2016.

We're already in December 2017 and the company's annual return, due on 30 June, is again overdue by more than five months. Again, the registrar has posted a warning on his website that, unless the annual return is filed immediately, he will "initiate action to remove the company from the Register".

Maybe the directors will read this blog and lodge the return in time so that the "investors" won't lose their "investment" - if it ever was one!

This is another free service from



Sunday, December 3, 2017

The facebook page for Cocomo Village & Seabreeze Cocomo Village Residence [sic]

"I'm soooo pleased they finally built a reception centre.
It makes finding your allotment so much easier!"


The facebook page for Cocomo Village & Seabreeze Cocomo Village Residence [I think she means residents], administered by none other than one of the directors of Hunga Island Estate Limited, Helen Fulivai, is a very exclusive club with just thirty-one members.

I'm their persona non-grata and ineligible to join - anyway, as Groucho Marx said, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member" - and so I asked an old friend to 'infiltrate' the group. Helen graciously admitted her; after all, she might be a potential buyer of one of those non-existent leases on Hunga Island, mightn't she?

As it turned out, like Cocomo Village and Seabreeze Village themselves, their facebook page is just another Potemkin Village with no sign of life. So I asked my friend to lighten things up a bit by posting this photo with the caption, "I'm soooo pleased they finally built a reception centre. It makes finding your allotment so much easier!"

At first deafening silence! Then Patrick Henry reacted with "Trolling for a specific reason?" Clearly, he's the Ralph in "Lord of the Flies" rallying the survivors. One member, Christopher, LOLled it, while another even liked it before being pulled back into line and quickly 'unliking' it again.

Anyway, this page, which is "for Cocomo Village and Seabreeze Cocomo Village residence [sic] to be connected and to share ideas on how we can all help each other in our piece of Paradise", hates outsiders and wants to stay secretive because by day's end my friend's membership had been cancelled and their languishing membership was back to 31.

As William Golding wrote in "Lord of the Flies", "This is our island. It's a good island. Until the grownups come to fetch us we'll have fun".

Well, let them have their fun until the men in white coats turn up.



Monday, November 20, 2017

Pity this fruitcake is dead now. He would've been perfect in the non-existent Cocomo Village.


Imperium is a 2012 satiric novel by the Swiss writer Christian Krach about a German who in the early 20th century travelled to German New Guinea where he founded a religious order based both on nudism and a diet consisting solely of coconuts.

Sounds nutty? Well, the man existed and his name was August Engelhardt. He was born in 1870 at Nuremberg and left school early to become a pharmacy assistant. By 1899 he developed an interest in healthy living, vegetarianism and later nudism. In 1902 he bought the small island Kabakon. close to Neu-Lauenburg, which is now the Duke of York Island, with a small plantation. Kabakon is about 28 miles from Herbertshöhe, today’s Kokopo, the place of German administration at that time. From October 2, 1902 Engelhardt lived on Kabakon, at first the only white man among 40 Melanesians. He was always naked and a complete vegetarian, living mainly on coconuts. He worshipped the sun as the central spring of life, as well as coconuts, because they grew nearest to the sun; and he them the most natural food for men. He was convinced that by eating only coconuts he would achieve a higher almost divine state of mind and a place in a kind of paradise.

He then tried to convince other people about his lifestyle, by his writings in which he developed his philosophy of ‘kokovorismus’ which stated that the constant eating of coconuts led people into a god-like state of immortality. Engelhardt seems to have been wealthy, as he could support financing the passage of followers to the island. His second follower, Max Lützow, wrote after two months on Kabakon an enthusiastic letter to the most-read vegetarian magazine in Germany. Then a lot of followers came; it is said, that for some time 30 nudists lived on Kabakon. After a short time disillusion and frustration set in, there were diseases and accidents, and all followers including Max Lützow, left the island, some of them only to die shortly afterwards of the diseases they had got on Kabakon.

August Engelhardt (standing) and Max Lützow

At this point an old friend of Engelhardt, the writer August Bethmann, came to Kabakon. He was soon convinced by Engelhardt and started to send reports to Germany about the new paradise. Then Engelhardt became ill. When he reached the hospital in Herbertshöhe, he weighed only about 85 pounds. His skin ulcers and scabs were cured at the hospital and Engelhardt came back to Kabakon. He now stated that the ulcers, the last impurity, had left his body, and he would be ready for the highest state of mind. In the meantime Bethmann had started to have doubts about the nudist life on Kabakon, and by June 1906, he was waiting to leave for Germany. But before that date, Bethmann died. There seems to have been a quarrel between Engelhardt and Bethmann: suicide, manslaughter, murder, nobody knows, but it was not due to disease, and Engelhardt was again alone on the island.

August Bethmann, Bethmann's fiancée Anna Schwab and August Engelhardt

Engelhardt again started a publicity campaign to find followers, but now the German government was cautious. All civil servants were requested to warn every newly arriving settler of Kabakon. Once again everything on Kabakon became quiet, but Engelhardt became ill again, and the German doctor at the hospital in Herbertshöhe judged Engelhardt to be "a paranoid wreck". In 1909 Engelhardt closed down his "Order of the Sun" cult and only attended to his plantation, but he became a point of interest for tourists in German New-Guinea. The composite map below shows Rabaul, New Britain (red arrow) and Kabakon (blue arrow) in the Duke of York group of islands.

During WWI Engelhardt was for some time in an Australian camp in Rabaul, then he was able to return to Kabakon. Engelhardt now started to study the flora of the island and sent a lot of specimens to the Botanic Gardens of Brisbane and Sydney. He also started to paint plants in watercolors, and a lot of his paintings remained after his death and in the 1930s, they were obtained by a friend of Engelhardt. August Engelhardt died May 6, 1919 and his grave is unknown. The coconut plantation had been operated as Engelhardt & Co., Kabakon from the early 1900s, as shown in the cover.

One of the last people Engelhardt met was the Australian Captain Jones, who wrote, after leaving Kabakon, "Is it Engelhardt who is mad or is it we? And yet – could the world do without living examples in self-sacrifice – even if their ideals are wrong? And would we not all fall asleep, if it were not for a sprinkling of extremists?"

Imperium has been translated into several languages. While the narrative is sometimes as nutty as Engelhardt's prized foodstuff (and not always historically correct: in the book, Engelhardt continues to live alone on Kakabon and is discovered decades later by American troops at the end of the Second World War), in terms of both theme and language, it's reminiscent of Conrad’s 'Heart of Darkness' and Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'.

Few records have survived. Perhaps they were destroyed because the whole thing was too much of an embarrassment to the Kaiser. I ate the odd coconut when I lived and worked in Rabaul in the early 70s but never heard of the odd August Engelhardt and his 'kokovorismus' until now when it may even become a movie.

Click here for more details

Pity this fruitcase is dead now. He would've been perfect in the non-existent Cocomo Village.



Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lord of the Flies in the Heart of Darkness


I've always thought that if ever several people get together way up there in that figment of somebody's imagination, Cocomo or Seabreeze Village, supposedly under development on that brooding rock that is Hunga Island, it would turn into a re-enactment of "Lord of the Flies".

Thankfully, it is highly unlikely that many people will ever go willingly into exile in such a miserable location, which leaves just the odd one out, the one lonely nutter, who may have read "Heart of Darkness", and fancies himself as another Kurtz. "The horror! The horror!"



Saturday, November 18, 2017

Time to move on

facebook Hunga Haven


Barry and Cindy Beer registered their domain sometime in late 2012, so I guess that's how long they've been on Hunga Island, first building their own house and then ever so slowly carving a tiny "resort" from the jungle on the shores of Hunga Lagoon. Here's an update of their slow progress from Christmas 2013:



Their tiny beach front is the only accessible part of the forbiddingly-looming volcanic rock that is Hunga Island. But, as they say, it's time to move on and Barry and Cindy want to sell up for US234,000 - no small "Beer" but, hey, how much are you willing to pay for a tropical dream?

Just make absolutely sure that the dream doesn't turn into a nightmare and that all the legal stuff is in order. For starters, methinks there's no such thing as a "88 years remaining on lease" - not that it matters as you'd probably have moved on long before it's run its course.



Drones don't lie!


Remember Robert Bryce's fantasmagorical description of how his two brainchildren, Cocomo and Sea Breeze Villages, are filling in nicely with people from all over the world? Please read more here.

Well, people from all over the world have been filling the developers' pockets with well over US$600,000 since this scheme was first hatched, but there's been very little "development" - in fact, NONE! And very few people have settled there - in fact, NONE!

See for yourself! Drones don't lie!


P.S. ... and for the final clip, click here.