Matakana Island residents were at the centre of an emergency response when the isolated community ran out of water at the weekend.
The Western Bay of Plenty Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was notified on Friday that island residents were fast running out of household water, some did not have any to last them through that night.
A water tanker was arranged and by 8am the following day the first tanker load was on the island topping up the tanks.
An EOC statement this morning said there was never was there a more welcome sight to those on the island, with one kuia standing on her deck with tears of relief as the tanker rolled up to provide her household with water. They had completely run dry the previous evening.
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EOC iwi liaison co-ordinator Carlo Ellis said it was a great example of teamwork and collaboration between the island's whanau, Te Awanui Hauora, Downers and the Western EOC.
"The whanau have been amazing from day one looking after people in need, so being able to respond quickly when they reach out is perfect in these times. They were beyond grateful," Ellis said.
The EOC iwi relations team had previously established contact with island residents early in the Covid-19 lockdown period – so it was simply a matter of connecting the right people and getting the job done, Ellis said.
Since the water supplies were delivered, whanau on the mainland have sent messages of gratitude to EOC as it would have meant them breaking their bubbles to go to the island to help.
Nimmy Ngatai said it was a huge help.
"We would usually be pretty self-sufficient and sort it ourselves but with lockdown it makes it harder. Just knowing our needy whanau can stay safe over there means we can do the same here."
Downer's water reticulation manager Leslie Cunningham said it was magic the way the whole operation worked out so well and so fast.
Emergency driver Barry Frost jumped at the chance to help the islanders out, the statement said.
Frost took two tankers to the island on separate barge trips on Saturday morning, taking a total of 20,000 litres to fill the main tank that supplied the waterless homes.
"This operation was as good as it gets – the purchase orders were done swiftly, there were no delays, no questions – just a united effort to get the job done and get those people some water."