Two meetings are being held to update businesses, potential investors and the public on a proposal by Midwest Ferries Ltd to launch an inter-island freight and passenger service between Whanganui and Motueka.

Whanganui businessman Neville Johnson, who has been working on the proposal since 2010, says meetings will be held in Whanganui on Thursday, one for local businesses starting at 5.30pm at the Whanganui RSA, to be followed by a public meeting at 7.30pm at the War Memorial Hall.

Mr Johnson said the first meeting was open to any business-owner who wished to attend and would not require an invitation.

The meetings would include a presentation from consultant Nik Zangouropoulos who has been retained by Midwest Ferries to prepare a detailed business plan and feasibility study.


The company is offering shares and seeking donations to help fund the studies.

"While the costs of investigating and developing this project to date have been met from our own sources, we can no longer continue to do this," Mr Johnson said.

He is one of four trustees alongside Rod Pearce and Graham Adams of Whanganui and former Christchurch District Councillor and tourism promoter Gail Jewell from Motueka.

Mr Johnson said the recent Kaikoura earthquake underlined the importance of an alternative road and ferry service in the event of a major disaster. A Whanganui-Motueka link would also provide savings and efficiencies for freight operators.