The Chatham Islands are one of New Zealand’s true hidden treasures, but locals expect new infrastructure investment will help share the Island’s rugged beauty to a much larger audience.
News of the funding, worth $40 million, was delivered to the cheers of locals (myself included) who’d gathered at the local Tuuta airport in anticipation of the announcement. The package — which works out at about $57,000 per resident — will go toward upgrading airport facilities, developing tourism and expanding the Islands premium quality seafood industry.
Unlocking the Islands’ Potential
The world is shrinking and sometimes it seems as if there’s nowhere to truly get away from it all. There are some places, however, that remain spectacular and untouched by virtue of being far removed. The Chatham Islands is one such place. As those who’ve visited the Islands will tell you, the Chathams possess a rugged kind of beauty— even by New Zealand standards. Future proofing transport connections and tourism opportunities is an important part of unlocking the Islands’ potential.
Moreover, the local economy will benefit greatly from plans to extend the airport, which will allow larger, more modern planes access to the Island. Additional speed and capacity in air freight is a massive plus for growing companies like Chatham Island Food Co, enabling faster and more economical pathways to market. For us, this opens up the potential for a more diverse product offering, and more importantly, greater value passed back to the fishermen, who risk their lives daily so we can bring our exceptional, wild caught seafood to your plate.
The benefits of improved social connectedness for NZ’s most isolated community shouldn’t be overlooked either. A more reliable air service means more visitors, family visits, and overseas outings — not to mention improved access to essential goods and services.
Its fair to say, most people who either live on, or visit the Chatham Islands, feel a strong affinity to the land and sea. Naturally, the team at CIFCo were delighted to see over $1 million go to projects aimed at restoring local flora and fauna. This includes the Islands Taiko Trust — established and co-managed by Delwyn’s parents — which aims to produce 62,500 native seedlings for replanting projects every year.
These funding enabled programs and others, like a planned aquaculture facility, will create jobs, showcase the Islands beauty and protect its bounty for future generations. As a local business with a longstanding island heritage, we are grateful and excited to be part of this new chapter in Chatham development.
Delwyn Tuanui, Founder of Chatham Island Food Co.
Photos By: ANNA PEARSON