This local press article first appeared in the Wairarapa Times Age.
INTERNATIONAL production company owner Raymond Thompson is looking forward to sitting on a tractor and forgetting about actors and scripts on his newly-purchased Martinborough vineyard and farm.Thompson, who founded and owns the international Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group, has bought 4ha planted in grapes from Voss Estate in Martinborough along with the 400ha Martinborough Station. Thompson started out as a scriptwriter and cemented his reputation with the award-winning BBC series Howard’s Way. He worked on numerous other projects before founding Cloud 9 in 1994, which has gone on to produce several children’s television series, including the popular show The Tribe which was filmed in Wellington. “ When I first came to the Wairarapa on a wine tour I fell in love with the place and have always kept my eye on it for a chance to invest,” he said. That chance eventually arrived and Thompson said he plans to begin producing wine under his own Tirohana label from his newly-acquired pinot noir and sauvignon blanc grapes as well as visiting his Wairarapa properties to wind down from the fast-paced world of screen production. “ My business is such a phoney one in some ways so I’m looking forward to just sitting on a tractor and to stop thinking about scripts and actors,” he said.“ I just love the Wairarapa, it’s a beautiful part of the world.” He said the Martinborough land purchase is part of his dedication to New Zealand which has seen Cloud 9 shoot a number of productions here, including a series fronted by Star Trek’s William Shatner.“ We’re committed to New Zealand and have invested many millions here and now we have invested in Wairarapa,” Thompson said. He said Wairarapa people are nice and he sings the praises of New Zealand and Wairarapa on his travels around the globe.“ I’m thrilled it’s (the land) always going to be here.”“ One of my grandchildren was born in New Zealand and I have visions of him growing up as a Wairarapa boy,” Thompson said.
28th July 2004