Neil Balnaves, the Australian arts philanthropist, former television executive and Mosman resident, has died aged 77 after a boating accident.
Mr Balnaves had been holidaying on board the Oneworld mega-motor yacht off the Polynesian island when disaster struck.
It’s believed he was aboard a tender when it flipped over in the waves, throwing him under.
Mr Balnaves had been holidaying in Tahitii when disaster struck.
Mr Balnaves had a successful career in TV, running Southern Star production house and producing popular shows, including Big Brother, Bananas in Pyjamas, Water Rats and McLeod’s Daughters.
After a string of successes, he became chair of the Ardent Leisure Group – which runs theme parks such as Dreamworld on the Gold Coast – from 2003 until 2016.
Mr Balnaves, photographed at home. Image: Graham Monro/gmphotographics
Following a boating accident on the Gold Coast in 2002, which almost killed him, Mr Balnaves became an avid philanthropist. He gave away $20m of his fortune to arts organisations.
“As you can imagine, I had a lot of time to think throughout this period,” he told the Adelaide Advertiser in 2011.
“And what I came to was this: How many more houses do I need? Do I want the jet plane? Do I want another yacht? Not really.
“There comes a time when those things stop meaning so much to you.”