Thanks to a broken emergency phone Kairakau Beach is no longer a black spot for mobile phones.

A popular summer spot an hour's drive south of Hastings, it has about 100 houses and a 26-site campground.

The public pay phone, owned by a community group, stopped working at the end of last year and a replacement was unable to be sourced.

The community turned to Ray Taylor of Taylor Broadband, which supplies its internet service, who decided to try and solve two problems at once.


He approached cellphone companies "but Vodafone were the only ones willing to talk to us about it".

He said Vodafone had a micro cell unit which Taylor Broadband installed at the beach, connecting to the Vodafone network via Taylor's broadband network at no charge.

"Anyone with a Vodafone cellphone can now get coverage around the public toilets and beach area.

"If someone is having a problem on the beach you want to be able to pick up a phone and call 111, rather than going knocking on doors trying to find someone with a land line connected."

Previously, a half hour drive was required to find cellphone coverage.

"It was a public safety issue but we have been able to work with the community and Vodafone to resolve that."

Taylor communications specialises in broadband for isolated communities, started after a friend of Mr Taylor's complained about the lack of service.

Mr Taylor went door knocking to track down the owner of Mt Kahuranaki, who gave permission to use the summit for a signal relayed from the old Napier Hospital.

His friend's neighbour rang Mr Taylor asking for a similar service and seven years later the favour for his friend has turned into a company which has 50 transmission sites and five employees specialising in rural broadband.

"It's faster than what most people can get in town," Mr Taylor said.

Mo Pearse, chairman of the Kairakau Beach Improvement Society, said the community was grateful to Mr Taylor, who was also supplying security cameras.