Hira rural volunteer firefighters Paul South, Ian Thomas, Derek Bonnington and Dave Newton, whose organisation will benefit from the Pepin Island fundraiser. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Pepin Island opens for good causes

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The gates to Pepin Island will once again open to the public on Sunday, possibly for the last time.

The biennial fundraiser for the Hira Rural Fire Station and Hira School gives members of the public a chance to explore the private island by foot or bike.

Hira volunteer fire fighter Derek Bonnington says they are lucky to be able to offer the opportunity to experience an “amazing part of Nelson”.

The open day will raise much needed funds for rural fire equipment but will also double as support for the Nelson Marlborough Rescue chopper and St John Ambulance.

“It’s also an opportunity to make people aware that we are a volunteer brigade and it’s a chance to encourage people to join us,” says Derek.

Around 1500 people normally venture to the island to take in unparalleled views of both Delaware and Cable Bay.

The family-friendly walk takes around three hours with options along the way to stop for a picnic lunch or a cup of tea. Entry is $10 at the gate.

“People are always rapt, the feedback is always really positive,” says Derek. “It’s a really special place.”

Pepin Island is currently listed for sale with a $16 million price tag and it is not known what the new owners might want to do with it. It boasts 1280 acres of land, a 7-bedroom farmhouse and three separate cottages as well as eco-chalets around the island.