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Gareth Morgan's Galapagos hotel destroyed by tsunami

UPDATE WEDNESDAY MARCH 16, 12.30pm: Gareth Morgan - whose account of the Japan earthquake tsunami hitting his Galapagos Islands hotel Friday has been disputed by its owner - has uploaded his own photos, taken the morning after the waves hit, to his World by Bike site.

The pictures - taken when Mr Morgan returned to the Finch Bay Eco Hotel on Saturday morning, after being evaculated Friday night - show the wave clearly struck with some force. They show a demolished wooden boardwalk (right) and track the tidal surge's path up to the hotel's pool, and its first floor.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY MARCH 16, 12.20pm: Of Mr Morgan's account of turtles in the swimming pool (see original story below), Mr Hamilton adds: I've checked with the Manager of the Finch Bay, who has checked with the staff who were on site on Saturday morning. He reports that a marine turtle was washed up on the shores of a neighbour's house by the high tides. Hotel staff helped to carry it back to the sea. It was never in the hotel's swimming pool."

UPDATE WEDNESDAY MARCH 16, 9.30am: The owner of the Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos hotel evacuated ahead of the Japan quake tsunami has disputed Mr Morgan's version of events.

The Finch Bay Eco Hotel is owned by Metropolitan Tours. The company's communications director, Dominic Hamilton, left the below comment after NBR's original story.

Today, he forwarded NBR two photos (right), which he said were taken this morning.

Metropolitan will not repay guests for lost nights, but did spring for nights in a hotel on higher ground following the Friday night evacuation. Those who didn't fly back to the mainland on Saturday spent the following two nights at the alternative accomodation before moving back into the Finch Bay today.

Mr Hamilton's message.

I do not profess to know about how to hold a graph the right way up or to measure the success of growth fund. But I do know about the situation of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island.

Following is the correct information regarding the hotel, which certainly will NOT be "closed for a couple of months". Unfortunately, for reasons Gareth Morgan best knows, his reporting of the situation at the hotel is exaggerated.

All our staff have been working non-stop to get the hotel back to its usual, excellent state. We are delighted to report that, thanks to the dedication and energy of all our employees in Puerto Ayora, the hotel will be operational tomorrow, Tuesday 15th. It will receive its guests with the standards of service, passion for hospitality and dishes from its restaurant that has made it so popular with visitors the world over.

The hotel was flooded by the equivalent of various very high tides – not waves. Six of the lower-lying rooms were affected by the waters. They are being repaired at present and we expect these to be ready again very soon. All the other 21 rooms are fine and were not damaged at all.

An internal wall by the reception is currently being repaired, as is the boardwalk that connects the hotel with the dock (guests will walk a small section along the sand).

The swimming pool will be back to normal in under 10 days.

None of the effects of the flooding will be felt from an operational point-of-view from tomorrow onwards.

With regards to the Galapagos National Park, the park's staff, with the help of the guides onboard the vessels that cruise the islands, are currently assessing the damage that the tsunami may have had on the archipelago's wildlife. Reports today spoke of three sites "affected". It will take this week for the extent of any effects to be assessed in any professional way. All of us who care about the islands hope that the disruption to its famous wildlife has been minimal.

Dominic Hamilton
Head of Communication
Metropolitan Touring - owner of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel


UPDATE MONDAY MARCH 14, 12.30pm: Now in a hotel in the Ecuador capital of Quito, Gareth Morgan chatted to NBR via Skype about his Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos hotel being destroyed by the tsunami caused by Friday's earthquake in Japan.

NBR: What was it like when the tsunami hit - did you fear for your lives?
GM: No we were ordered to higher ground [before it arrived]. the whole town was evacuated. There was no impact here at all from the Chile tsunami this time last year, so we all thought it wa a bit of a drama until we then heard what had happened. We returned the next day which is when I took the photos [yet to be uploaded to Mr Morgan's World by Bike site, although he hopes to get them on later today].

NBR: Where were you at the time of the Chile tsunami? [August last year]
GM: We were just over the border in Argentina for the 8.8 quake at Concepcion - in a town called Villa Union - one guy killed there when wall collapsed on him.

NBR: How was the hotel - bit of damage or was it totaled?
GM: Not totaled, but it will be out of action for a couple of months. There was two metres of water through the bottom story which took the dining area, kitchen and six rooms out. Turtles ended up in the pool so even they were disrupted.

NBR: Were the turtles okay?
GM: Yes they were gently placed back on the shore that evening!

NBR: Was anybody injured in Santa Cruz?
GM: No - the precautionary stance of the authorities ensuring everyone was evacuated was proven to be sensible. But even they were surprised how much of a surge there was - quite surprised. In Pisco, Peru - 300 house were demolished. So it proves that distance is not necessary a safety buffer with this type of event.

NBR: What next, back to NZ? 
GM: No, no. Tomorrow we fly to Bogota to pick up our motorbikes - we'll be riding again by lunchtime. It's the third leg of what's been a big ride all over South and Central America. We finish in Los Angeles in mid-May

NBR: Whenever NBR posts a story mentioning you, there are always people who say "he's biking all over the world all the time. When does he manage his Kiwisaver funds?" etc. How do you respond to that?
GM: The topbox of my bike has a satellite dish in it, I'm online every day, I get to see far more of investment opportunities around the world than I would staying in little 'ol NZ. Indeed we have invested in a number of the themes I've uncovered as I move around.

SUNDAY MARCH 13: Outside of Japan, there were few reports of waves caused by Friday's earthquake causing damage.

But one came from fund manager and philanthropist Gareth Morgan.

Mr Morgan and his wife Jo, who has been on a motorcycling tour of the Americas, were staying on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz. He tweeted Sunday morning:

Our beachfront hotel [was] destroyed by tsunami. We were moved to higher ground. 3m water through the dining room, turtles in the pool. Sad

Official accounts are sketchy. ABC News reported that the Galapagos Islands suffered "infrastructure damage" caused by the tsunami, which struck early Saturday morning NZ time.

Then, shortly after:

Who would believe it? On Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos - other side of Pacific from Japan - and water surge has destroyed our hotel!

And Sunday evening NZ time, son Sam Morgan weighed in with:

Mum and Dad stuck up a hill in the Galapagos Islands after Tsunami rips through and destroys their hotel.

The Gareth Morgan Investments principal later messaged NBR that he had been staying at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel. The hotel's website lists it as a eco establishment with a five-star rating and rates around $NZ450 a night. It boasts - or at least boasted - "six brand new ocean view rooms" and a private yacht for guests.

Early Monday morning, Mr Morgan. tweeted another user that he was returning to the mainland hoped to be in the Ecuador capital Quito in six hours. He said he had taken photos, which he would upload at that time.

NBR is both alarmed at the wave's impact on the Morgans, and impressed by Gareth's ability to post to Twitter from a tsunami-hit island in one of the remotest places on earth.

According to Frommers, the vast majority of Galapagos tourists stay on boats or ships, but Santa Cruz is home to a small number of hotels.

BELOW: Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, off the coast of Ecuador (use controls top left of map to zoom).

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Comments and questions

Pity he can't be here a bit more trying to improve his fund rather than holidaying continuously. Currently showing a negative performance sine inception. I would appreciate that since my Gareth Morgan growth fund has gone backwards over the last few years.

This is not the first tsunami that Gareth has experienced.
His Kiwi saver fund has been hit with continuous tsunami's despite Gareth telling everyone he is the best and most honest manager.

Gareth is a very average fund manager - better away from NZ on his motor cycle

I just googled the Galapagos Islands for news items and found the article below which tends to prove that Gareth Morgan might be stretching the truth somewhat - maybe another PR exercise for his troubled fund

Santiago - The tsunami generated by Japan's massive earthquake reached the west coast of South America late Friday, but caused little initial damage.
The wave travelled nearly 16,000 kilometres to the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador and Chile's famed Easter Island. Minor flooding was reported in the Galapagos, but only higher waves were recorded on Easter Island, authorities said.
In Ecuador, more than 260,000 people were evacuated as a precaution, and in Chile tens of thousands of residents in low-lying areas were brought to safety. Authorities also issued alarms in Colombia and Peru.
The magnitude-8.9 earthquake struck north-eastern Japan Friday, unleashing a tsunami and leaving more than 1,000 people believed dead. Tsunami warnings were issued across the Pacific.

The tsunami wave in Santa Cruz , Galapagos was 1.77 meters. Combined with the high tide of 1.7 meters that was occuring at the same as the second and mosts damaging wave makes for a 3.47meters wave. There was extensive damage all along the bay front in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz and the Finch Bay and SolyMar hotels were heavily damaged. I'm surprised this is not being reported more prominently.

The tsunami wave in Santa Cruz , Galapagos was 1.77 meters. Combined with the high tide of 1.7 meters that was occuring at the same as the second and mosts damaging wave makes for a 3.47meters wave. There was extensive damage all along the bay front in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz and the Finch Bay and SolyMar hotels were heavily damaged. I'm surprised this is not being reported more prominently.

That's odd, Mr earlier anonymous, because I've got the GMK growth fund as well and it's gone up since inception, currently at the highest it's been. You holding the graph the right way up?

Gareth is that you?, I dont know about graphs but I know I can read a table, I do each month and shudder a little, the bit where it says things like this months.

Growrth Fund Since Inception -4.2%

Overall your performance has been 5% improvement vs a benchmark of 13%

No graph to hold, wish I was holding it the wrong way.


Is that from Gareths own assessment of his fund.
Because he is not independently reviewed by Fundsource like the real Mccoy funds are.
Sounds like Gareth is a bit shy on others assessing his performance

If his report is correct about the size of the wave, it is Gareth's being surprised that is interesting. Here is someone who thought he could be a patron of a book on climate change, and judge which scientists could write it! But he knows so little about the behaviour of mother earth, even about things taught in school these days!

Gareth will try to say that global warming caused the earthquake, and that if everyone introduced a carbon taxes or ETS this never would've happened. Perhaps now Gareth will see that nature runs the show and not man.

Luckily nobody is injured....

Why is it that people in general tweet everything about their lives and then it makes itself to mainstream news?

I don't tweet, twitter or facebook - but why do people feel compelled to tell the world every little detail about their lives.

Eg "I just cooked the best two poached eggs" - Who gives a rats.

Listen Gareth - next time you get found surfing a tsunami on your roof 15 miles offshore - maybe tweet us all then and we will send coastguard - but in the meantime enjoy your holiday without a cell phone.

[Hotel destroyed by tsunami is a *little* more dramatic than two poached eggs - Editor]

I am so sorry about the Galapagos Hotel.
I have spent many 4th of July's there with Jack.
It is sad that many of my friends in Galapagos are suffering.

The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most incredible wildlife and they are the most beautiful places on earth, it breaks my heart to think there may be any damage at all.

Gareth is NZs next biggest risk for retail investors. Many of these people have lurched from one investment issue to the next (CDO funds, Finance companies...) and cant afford another hit in confidence as they may give up on saving all together.

It is in all NZ's interest that he hops of his bike and starts managing investors money. You cant do this travelling, especially when the rest of the investment team are too afraid to do anything without his blessing.

GMI returns are very poor as he elects (really !!) not to hedge the currency. The earthquake may be the thing that helps his investors recover some value. His index is self selected and makes his returns look overly good, when compared to average managers that are crap (his words)

Get home - Get real

Gareth is NZs next biggest risk for retail investors. Many of these people have lurched from one investment issue to the next (CDO funds, Finance companies...) and cant afford another hit in confidence as they may give up on saving all together.

It is in all NZ's interest that he hops of his bike and starts managing investors money. You cant do this travelling, especially when the rest of the investment team are too afraid to do anything without his blessing.

GMI returns are very poor as he elects (really !!) not to hedge the currency. The earthquake may be the thing that helps his investors recover some value. His index is self selected and makes his returns look overly good, when compared to average managers that are crap (his words)

Get home - Get real

Typical NOO ZOOland attitude to think you can only make money from behind a desk. GM is a self-promoting tosser but based on the nasty, ignorant comments, anyone criticising him here is hardly capable or qualified of judging his performance as Fund Manager.

Most of the commentary suggests they are competitors.

I do not have funds invested with Mr Morgan, however would go on to say kiwisaver is a long term savings plan for most, and it would be inappropriate to measure their returns over the short term.

What I do know about Mr Morgans kiwisaver funds is that his fees are amongst the lowest available, and far more transparent than most.

He is prepared to put his personal name to the funds, unlike alot of the bigger funds which hide behind some brand, which means nothing other than higher fees.

If people havent worked it out, brands are just an exercise in promotion, extracting super profits from the masses who buy into them.

Richard S

GM ( Gareth Morgan ) is a brand you dork

GM Kiwisaver, yes I went with him based on the sales pitch. Turns out that the fund (aggressive) has been less than stellar

I hope that the GM Kiwi team are reading NBR because it is clear that the "investing is for the long term" line is not going to cut the mustard. The highly focused Fisher fund has had a blip, albeit favorable, but I doubt Carmel will be able to keep up the winning formula. Bryan Gaynor on the other hand at Milford is a different story.

Gareth, you are focusing on your globe trotting, and its time you either focused back on GMK, or more of us will be moving. Its a risk, but so far the Milford Asset Aggressive fund has "constantly" beaten the GMK fund and all it takes is 2 or 3% per annum to create a significant gap over a decade or so.

Gareth it appears your commentary, like your fund are fulla sh*t.

Happy Brian Gaynor customer

The only decent wave Gareth Morgan has surfed is the financial tsunami provided by his son. Gareths inflated ego expanded further as a result and he has now reached global saviour staus in his own mind. He would be astonished to learn there are thousands of NZers like me who don't care who Gareth Morgan is,what his views are,where he is,where his missus is or what he's doing. I can only assume that his followers are irritated beyond belief with the endless reports of where he is deciding to de-luxe himself next

So why did you read all this and bother to make a comment? Gareth is an entertaining speaker, but we all know economists are about as useful as seismologists when it comes to the future.

Point taken --- I only read the headline -- but I must have assumed correctly,however, that the article was more Biggles-type claptrap plus deep and meaningful musings from the great man. As for entertaining speaker, I've heard him and in my view he'd make a glass eye go to sleep. I agree with your seismologist/economist comment though

Janet - oh the memories.

I worked with Gareth and this is not the only thing that is exaggerated. I would not trust a single thing he says anymore, including that he will help uncover malpractices in NZ funds sector. I have seen him take photos on his tour of rough roads and pretend he biked down them when he did not!

Found this blog from someone in Ecuador covering the tsunami situation in the Galapagos:

Well,hes a block off the old chip. People who become public without doing the walk shouldn't do the talk. John Hawesby's another one,expert on wine at above what the general person can afford all from having a winning lotto ticket.

Yet another instance on GM's part of style over substance - shame on NBR for continuing to perpetuate this shameless bagging by GM of someone trying to get their business back on track after what was obviously only a moderate impact not the wipeout that he portrays.

There you go Mr editor.

Maybe my two poached eggs were more of a story than the Gypsy's holiday tweet.

This is not a news story but rather a personality wanting attention when the real news is the poor buggers suffering in Japan.

This guy gets his attention anyway he can whether it be employing Global Warming "experts" and "used confusion" as a tool to fill a room of potential grey haired investors - then bagging every other fund manager around.

Now it appears the gypsy's latest is to Tweet his life to the world and exaggerate reality.

Lets not forget one of his first ventures was how to make many betting horses.

My main point remains not so much about this gypsy but rather why do people in general feel they need to tweet their personal lives to the world. I just don't get it. only conclusion is that he may be marketing himself during a time of crisis????

Sorry, but can't we get back to some real financial and business news? Or should we just give up on NBR and subscribe to the Herald on Sunday?

Well said Bob. With rubbish like this and daily Terry S stories it is no wonder why the majority of NZ'ers have no financial literacy when 'leading' business publications resort to reporting this trash.

While I don't have an opinion on Mr Morgan, you can't argue with success. He's done far better than me and most on here so good on him for being able to do the things he enjoys doing rather than being a slave to the machine...

Don't like the way he manages his fund - don't invest in it.

An influential professor who worked as an assessor for the United Nations IPCC has called for democracy to be replaced with an eco-dictatorship where enslaved masses are ruled over by an “elite warrior leadership” and forced to adhere to a new green religion, in yet another shocking example of how prominent global warming alarmists are revealing themselves as dangerous eco-fascists.

Professor David Shearman, MD, is Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Adelaide, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences and Law School. Shearman was an Assessor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report and the Fourth Assessment Report.

In his writings, Shearman, who labels humanity a “malignant eco-tumour” and an “ecological cancer,” says that “authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity” and that in order to save the planet from man-made climate change, an “elite warrior leadership” needs to be formed that will “battle for the future of the earth”.

Part of this battle involves replacing traditional religions like Christianity and Islam with a new green religion that would fit better with an authoritarian government.

“It is not impossible that from the green movement and aspects of the new age movement a religious alternative to Christianity and Islam will emerge,” writes Spearman. “And it is not too difficult to imagine what shape this new religion could take. One would require a transcendent God who could punish and reward – because humans seem to need a carrot and a stick.”

Spearman’s “transcendent God” is the God of the state, punishing the enslaved citizen for every eco-infraction under this new green totalitarianism. He openly advocates the contrived manufacturing of a new God and a new religion so that the masses of enslaved citizens under his envisaged eco-autocracy would be to coerced to comply as part of some hideous global brainwashing program. This obviously has its roots in ancient pagan beliefs of barbaric sacrifices being necessary to appease mother earth, which at one stage in history involved mothers killing their own babies for the greater good.

Even more chillingly, Shearman advocates the set up of specialized re-education centers where eco-zombies are trained to become part of a green army of enforcers.

“Chapter 9 will describe in more detail how we might begin the process of constructing such real universities to train the ecowarriors to do battle against the enemies of life. We must accomplish this education with the same dedication used to train its warriors. As in Sparta, these natural elites will be especially trained from childhood to meet the challenging problems of our times,” writes Spearman.

Spearman outlines his vision of a dictatorial global government comprised of the elite ruling over the planet on page 134 of his book, The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy.

“Government in the future will be based upon . . . a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists. These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities. These guardians will be specially trained for the task.”


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“Posted on a blog somewhere, such a plan would probably elicit a visit from the anti-terrorist division of the police,” writes Haunting The Library blog. “But the fact that it comes from a professor at a major university, who works for the IPCC and was written at the behest of a serious academic institute, founded by Act of Congress, means that the author need not be afraid. But we should be.”

“I could go on quoting from the book, but I’m sure you’ve already got the gist of what’s being proposed here: Global warming presents such a massive and immediate danger that democracy no longer cuts it, and an authoritarian ecological government of ‘natural elites’ will have to be found to replace it, as well as a new green religion to help provide ‘social glue for the masses’.”

As we have documented, Shearman is not alone in his brazen call for freedom to be abolished and replaced by an authoritarian green tyranny. Indeed, this is a common cause embraced by a multitude of influential climate change activists and scientists.

- Finnish environmentalist guru and global warming alarmist Pentti Linkola has publicly called for climate change deniers to be “re-educated” in eco-gulags and that the vast majority of humans be killed with the rest enslaved and controlled by a green police state, with people forcibly sterilized, cars confiscated and travel restricted to members of the elite. Linkola wants the last 100 years of human progress to be “destroyed”.

- James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, told the Guardian last year that “democracy must be put on hold” to combat global warming and that “a few people with authority” should be allowed to run the planet.

- This sentiment was echoed by author and environmentalist Keith Farnish, who in a recent book called for acts of sabotage and environmental terrorism in blowing up dams and demolishing cities in order to return the planet to the agrarian age. Prominent NASA global warming alarmist and Al Gore ally Dr. James Hansen endorsed Farnish’s book.

- The current White House science czar John P. Holdren also advocates the most obscenely dictatorial, eco-fascist, and inhumane practices in the name of environmentalism. In his 1977 Ecoscience textbook, Holdren calls for a “planetary regime” to carry out forced abortions and mandatory sterilization procedures, as well as drugging the water supply, in an effort to cull the human surplus.

- Another prominent figure in the climate change debate who exemplifies the violent and death-obsessed belief system of the movement is Dr. Eric R. Pianka, an American biologist based at the University of Texas in Austin. During a speech to the Texas Academy of Science in March 2006, Pianka advocated the need to exterminate 90% of the world’s population through the airborne ebola virus.