January 10, 2020
Ngati Awa takes stock two months after eruption
The chair of Ngāti Awa Group Holdings says it could be more than a year before a decision is made whether trips to Whakaari-White Island can resume.
It’s now a month since the eruption that killed 17 people and left 25 others fighting for their lives in hospitals in Aotearoa and Australia.
Paul Quinn was in Auckland yesterday meeting with relatives of some of those still in intensive care at Auckland Hospital, including the parents of White Island Tours guide Jake Milbank.
He says as well as offering aroha and compassion to those caught up in the tragedy, Ngāti Awa also thanks those who selflessly exhausted their time, resource and energy into the emergency response and recovery.
Mr Quinn says the company will keep all its employees on until at least the end of January, and management will look at whether resources can be redeployed for other tourism operations.
He expects WorkSafe to take at least a year to complete its investigation and report, and there can be no question of a return before that.
The tour company makes up less than 10 percent of Ngāti Awa’s asset base, although it was a relatively large employer.
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