Since Carey Winterflood read about the Cook Islands as a child, they have been like a magnetic force, drawing him in.
In the mid-1990s, Carey’s dream was realised when he moved there from Australia where he had worked in the computer industry for two years.
Together with his wife Akemarua, Carey set up the iconic and successful Saltwater Café in Rarotonga.
“I finally got out of micro-chips and ended up doing fish and chips,” Carey quips.
After dabbling in various businesses, Carey entered the world of property sales in the Cook Islands, and he is the current Managing Director of Cook Islands Real Estate (CIRE), which he runs with mentor Peter Heays.
On a recent visit to the Cook Islands, Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Acting Trade and Investment Commissioner Manuel Valdez met with his old-time friend and valued client.
The pair first met when PTI conducted the Property Investment Mission in the Cook Islands in 2008, where a group of 10 people took part in visiting real estate businesses; food and beverages manufacturers; agribusinesses; pearl farmers; and other related investment opportunities in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Since then, the pair have been communicating on a regular basis, to promote and facilitate investment opportunities in the Cook Islands, Manuel says.
“If you are considering a radical ‘sea-change’ and doing something completely different in your life, Carey could be the man to talk to, particularly if you have legal questions around owning your own slice of paradise,” Manuel adds.
Cook Islands RealEstate Ltd is entirely focused on property sales within the Cook Islands.
“We provide first-hand and realistic expectations to clients exploring business opportunities in the Cook Islands; we know what is involved in the buying, owning and on-going operation of local businesses,” Carey says.
Being ex-pats, and not having any family ties to the land, means the Real Estate business is constantly privileged with information from vendors that may, at times, be too sensitive to discuss within those circles, he says.
“We often hear this is why clients are happy to deal with us – we complement this aspect by drawing on our years of association with local law firms, government departments, foreign investment, immigration, banks, loans officers, and valuers.”
Familiar with local tradespeople, especially New Zealand and Australian certified, means CIRE can make recommendations to investors wanting to build on their newly acquired assets.
Relaxed and informal, while keeping up with island style, Carey says he prefers to meet clients at a café or their accommodation.