Retiring Green MP Gareth Hughes and his family have begun quarantine of a different kind, in Dunedin.

He and wife Meghan Hughes, alongside their two children Arlo and Zoe, are the new keepers of Quarantine Island after making the move across the peninsula on July 7.

Meghan Hughes, an app developer, said the loss of her Dunedin-based brother earlier in the year prompted a move to the city to be closer to family.

"We decided that we would come initially for just six months to spend time with them."

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The family moved into a Broad Bay property two weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown and fell in love with Dunedin.

"We couldn't have found a more magical area. We fell in love with the peninsula and the harbour."

She became aware of the advertised position for a new keeper of Quarantine Island — in charge of bringing people to the island, welcoming school groups and acting as caretaker — and decided to apply.

When she found out she had been offered the position it was "one of the happiest moments of our lives".

Gareth Hughes will make his valedictory speech to Parliament on August 4 before being based in Dunedin permanently.

He joined the Green Party in 2010 at 28.

Green caucus from left: Jan Logie, Chloe Swarbrick, Gareth Hughes, James Shaw, Marama Davidson, Julie Anne Genter, Eugenie Sage and Golriz Gharahman. Photo / supplied
Green caucus from left: Jan Logie, Chloe Swarbrick, Gareth Hughes, James Shaw, Marama Davidson, Julie Anne Genter, Eugenie Sage and Golriz Gharahman. Photo / supplied

Retirement would mean more time with his loved ones, having made sacrifices as an MP with a young family, Meghan Hughes said.

"It's been more than 10 years. Our oldest child was 2 and I was pregnant with our youngest when he began, so it's all we've known, really.

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"He's counting down the days until he can be here fulltime. At the moment he's still making the commute to Wellington."

Gareth Hughes planned to work on personal writing and research projects, she said.

The family had originally wanted to sail around the South Pacific for several years, but Covid-19 meant it was no longer possible.

"We were wanting to do something adventurous and different, and spend more time as a family, so this fits the bill.

"Gareth has been working very hard over the years ... it is a big change for all of us."

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The two children had begun attending Broad Bay School, and the family were getting used to a daily commute by dinghy.

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"We feel so lucky to be here. I don't think that will ever go away."

Green MP Gareth Hughes, wife Meghan and children Zoe, 9, and Arlo, 12. Photo / Supplied
Green MP Gareth Hughes, wife Meghan and children Zoe, 9, and Arlo, 12. Photo / Supplied

Meghan Hughes said the family had no fixed time for how long they would remain on the island, but were looking forward to working with the Quarantine Island Community Council to "plant trees and watch them grow".