Kidnapper Terence Traynor was a quiet man, passionate about sailing, and anxious to share his love with a young boy he had befriended on Waiheke Island.

But Traynor, whose own son had died aged 5, never got to sail with the boy with whom he was restoring a dinghy.

The child was killed in a freakish accident, electrocuted after poking a screwdriver into a heater he had salvaged from the side of the road.


Traynor's former Waiheke neighbour Owen Martin recalls the excitement of the 12-year-old who wanted to sail and lived a few houses up the road.

"He had this P-class. Terry was doing it up for him, and then this kid got electrocuted.

"He'd picked up a heater up from the side of the road on council collection day, plugged it in and got electrocuted.

"I've got the P-class now."

Traynor, 54, estranged from his own family for years, had two other children, a daughter who now lives in Australia and a son.

Mr Martin said Traynor never spoke about his dead son, but then again, he never asked.

Traynor's crime, the kidnapping last month of 8-month-old Kahu Durie, daughter of Justice Eddie Durie and lawyer Donna Hall, and the $3 million ransom demand, shocked Mr Martin, who shared a divided house with him for more than four years.

"I couldn't believe it ... Gee whizz. I thought I knew him but obviously I didn't.


"I reckon he was bored. I really think he was bored, he just wanted to make a splash."

Mr Martin has no idea why Traynor wanted so much money, far more than he needed to fulfil his dream of owning a nice boat.

"He wanted to buy a boat, one he could comfortably live on. Sailing seemed to be his biggest thing. Half a million dollars would have bought a nice boat."

Mr Martin said Traynor was a good neighbour who did not go to the pub but might have had a drink at home - "I suspect he did, but who doesn't?"

Although Traynor had a string of convictions, including some for firearms, Mr Martin can only recall one dispute between Traynor and anyone else.

"There was the neighbour he hit over the head with a shovel, but that's not really fair.

"This solo mother next door had three dogs ... They barked all day, it damn well annoyed me."

Traynor complained to the council, and was confronted by his neighbour's friend. Mr Martin said Traynor had undergone a hip replacement operation and, scared he would be hit, struck first with his makeshift crutch.

"It was self-defence," Mr Martin said.

Police disagreed, and Traynor was arrested.

Mr Martin said Traynor had few visitors, and disliked work, seldom doing any. He claimed he had money to live on from a divorce settlement, and never spoke of being short of money, or of wanting to strike it rich.

Traynor's home was bare, but spotless, inside and out, and he was enthusiastic about his native plant plot atthe end of the shared section.

"It wasn't really a garden, but there were native trees down the bottom. That was the only thing he had to do. He was looking after his patch."

Mr Martin was not surprised at Traynor's swift confession to the kidnapping.

"He's not exactly slow, his brain power was very sharp. At the time he would have realised things were up, there was no good fighting it."

Traynor left Waiheke last year - Mr Martin said he had seemed unwell and "fluish", and he worried about him.

He was living on a boat at Westpark marina, West Harbour, and in January, bought the Taumarunui house where he hid baby Kahu for eight days.

"About six weeks ago he rang up," said Mr Martin. "I was quite surprised to hear from him. He'd bought a campervan and was just tripping around from campsite to campsite."

Traynor spied on Kahu's family from a campsite, the Hutt Park Top 10 Holiday Park, five minutes' drive from the Durie home.

Mr Martin, who moved to Waiheke six years ago from Taradale, said he still considered Traynor a friend. He does not know if he will see him again.

"He's in jail. So that's that then. But I might go and say hullo to him one day."

Traynor, who last week pleaded guilty, will be sentenced on May 24.