If you fancy a trip into space but can’t quite afford the current $US20-25 million fare, you could always compromise with your very own spaceship — at a handy Raglan base — for a fraction of the cost.

Ocean Beach’s distinctive and much talked-about “moon house” has just gone on the Raglan market for the first time and, while vendors Ray White Raglan Real Estate are tipping many people will be “breaking their necks to have a look at it” at open days this month, the leasehold property’s expected to sell at auction for a healthy rather than astronomical price.

The property comes not only with a colourful history involving an old seadog and an ageing playboy but also with a separate two-bedroom pad and a three-bay docking station — or if you like, garage —for the moon buggies.

Ray White Raglan principal Julie Hanna expects that with a little maintenance it will make either a “quirky beach house” or great holiday accommodation. “It’s one of a kind,” she says of the “moon house”, which featured in the 2008 Wintec-published book ‘Baches of Raglan’.

Julie’s tipping there will be a “huge turnout” at the open days and the on-site auction, and says there’s even a Futura club whose members are interested in viewing the property.

The “moon house” and its outliers have been put on the market by 56-year-old Bill McKinstry and his Papua New Guinean wife, who bought the property two years ago from longtime family friend Captain Peter Farrell. The old ship’s captain lived on in his beloved spaceship by the sea until departing this earthly life late last year at the age of 83.

The McKinstrys’ friendship with Peter went back decades, to when they were neighbours in Whangaparoa north of Auckland. Peter was still going to sea two years on and one off, but when he retired in the mid 1980s had the “moon house” he’d found earlier in a Tauranga paddock transported down to leasehold land at Raglan.

Over the years the McKinstrys became increasingly regular visitors to Raglan and for the last two years they’ve lived in and renovated the bach behind the grounded spaceship.

Bill and his wife are selling because they don’t see renovating the “moon house” as the best financial course for them. They’re looking instead at moving down country and doing up properties in the likes of Tokoroa.

But why would an old seafarer have bought a spaceship lookalike for a retirement home anyway? “It’s like a one-bedroom apartment and also a little like a captain’s cabin, and that’s why I think it appealed to Peter,” says Bill of his late friend of 40 years.

How Captain Peter Farrell found his spaceship makes fascinating reading in the ‘Baches of Raglan’ book. Peter related how in the 1970s he was in command of a ship on a voyage from India to New Zealand, and on board there was a Playboy magazine with an article about Hugh Hefner and “he had one of these domed houses”.

After the Jelunga berthed at Tauranga, Peter wrote, a couple of his juniors happened on a house like Hefner’s in a paddock. “I went and saw it and bought it on the spot,” he said. “I fell in love with it, especially since it gave me something in common with Hugh Hefner.”

Ray White Raglan Real Estate will have open homes at the property every Saturday and Sunday of February. The property will be auctioned on site on March 2.
Edith Symes