Key Points:

From the wide, shady "lanai" deck of John Key's $5.6 million Maui holiday home, the view of the Pacific Ocean and Wailea Beach is sweeping. Below is the gated community of Ho'olei, part of the Wailea Beach development on the southern side of Maui - 600ha of world-class resorts, 2000 condominiums and 500 private homes, three championship golf courses, a dozen world class restaurants, countless pools, several luxury spas and the 12-court Wailea Tennis Club.

It is the playground of the super wealthy, mostly American business people who have a second, third or fourth home at Wailea.

It is here, in a double-storey, three-bedroom townhouse that Key, his wife, Bronagh, daughter Stephie, 15, and son Max, 13, are holidaying, away from prying eyes and occasional protesters outside their gated Auckland home.

For them, Ho'olei is their third home in which they spend time and was bought last April.

They also have a $6.8 million home in Auckland's Parnell area and a $3 million property at Omaha Beach, north of Auckland.

The family also reportedly has an apartment in London, used by a niece, and another house in Wellington.

Key has been reluctant to reveal the location or purchase price - US$3.25 million ($5.6 million) - of the Hawaiian home but these details are revealed in official ownership records.

The 322sq m townhouse has a mini bar and flat-screen TV in the master bedroom, three en suite bathrooms, a lani barbecue area with grill and outdoor fridge, a private lift, limestone floors, plush carpet and cherry cabinetry, and comes with luxurious furnishings and artwork.

Ho'olei has its own tropical lagoon pool and children's pool, both with artificial sandy beaches, a waterfall and grotto, and poolside massage on demand. The resort boasts a state-of-the-art gym with weight training, sauna and spa pools. Wailea Beach, one of 10 along Maui's south side, is a short walk away. Behind, a brooding dormant volcano overlooks Wailea Blue Golf Course, which surrounds Ho'olei on three sides.

A spokesman for Key wouldn't say if members of the Diplomatic Protection Squad have packed their board shorts to accompany the family to Maui but a local real estate agent who sells the 120-townhouse Ho'olei development said the resort was gated and had 24-hour security.

Golf carts shuttle guests around the community and through the gates to other resorts, which include the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa, which boasts a US$50 million art collection, and the Four Seasons Resort Maui.

The Key family can walk to 10 world-class restaurants within five minutes or order room service from the beachfront Grand Wailea Resort across the road. Half an hour away, at Ho'okipa, is some of the best surfing and windsurfing in the world.

When the homes aren't being used by their owners, they can be rented out, starting at about $1700 a night.

Wailea estate agent Sean Crowley said the Wailea resort area had been planned since the 1970s.

Ho'olei was one of the newest developments, he said, and Key had bought one of the top townhouses. "Your Prime Minister has very good taste."

The price of a townhouse at Ho'olei ranges from $5.17 million to $8.36 million, depending on the configuration and the extent of the sea view.

Jolanta Frazier, principal broker of the Wailea Group which represents Ho'olei, said the two townhouses on either side of Key's house were for sale - one for $5.77 million and the other for $8.36 million.

Key's spokesman said the Prime Minister had personally paid for the airfares to Maui and that Key did not take advantage of the 50 per cent discount allowed to MPs for airfares.

He confirmed that Key was continuing with his practice, started when he was Leader of the Opposition, of giving away "a good part" of his salary to charity and good causes.

It was not an "exact science", the spokesman said.

Key did not discuss how much he gave away or which organisations he supported, although records show he donated at least $30,000 to the National Party last year.