Support from Auckland Emergency Management is enabling a passenger ferry service between Kawau Island and Auckland’s mainland to continue so residents on the isolated island can replenish their supplies and access essential services.
From this week, Kawau Cruises is offering three runs a week, one of which is being funded by Auckland Emergency Management for the next month.
The company normally runs a five times a day, seven day a week service at this time of year from the island and also operates a water taxi service.
“This link is vital for residents so they can come across and get groceries or access medical services so I am delighted that we have been able to do this, with the help of Auckland Emergency Management,” says Rodney Local Board Deputy Chair Beth Houlbrooke.
A big part of the operator’s normal work is transporting thousands of children to attend Camp Bentzon as well as visitors using the island’s hospitality and accommodation services.
“The lockdown has dramatically changed the normal work of the ferry service. We are very happy that we are able to support the operator in adapting to provide this significant lifeline link for Kawau Island residents,” she says.
“Many locals were concerned for the viability of the service during the lockdown and any ongoing travel restrictions – potentially leaving the island without a service in the future and asked if we could help in any way,” adds Houlbrooke.
As part of the agreement, the operator was provided information about and reminded to ensure passengers had enough space on board to ensure physical distancing to reduce the risk of becoming sick.
“We are really pleased to have been able to support this initiative which means those living in remote communities will be able to access to essential services and supplies, which is vitally important at this time,” says Auckland Emergency Management Group Controller Rachel Kelleher.