Tokelau receives new ferry from NZ govt
A new ferry is called a game changer for the people of Tokelau.
The New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully is in Apia today to mark the handing over of a new ferry for Tokelau.
The MV Mataliki is a purpose-built vessel for Tokelau to which New Zealand has contributed US$8.5 million dollars.
A replacement vessel for the MV Tokelau, the New Zealand territory's only transport link with the outside world, had been sought by the people of Tokelau for at least ten years.
The vessel will connect the three atolls of Tokelau with Samoa and Mr McCully told Don Wiseman it will be a game changer.
MURRAY MCCULLY: As you observe it's taken a while. The design concepts were the subject of a lot of collaboration with the parties involved. The vessel iself has taken a while to build and to ensure it meets all the international requirements to travel in open waters. But it's a modern vessel obviously which is going to make the trip a bit faster as has been the case in the past. Sixty passengers on board at capacity, and significant freight capacity as well. It really does make the lifeline of Tokelau Islands to Apia and the outside world, much more modern, much safer and much more efficient operation.
DON WISEMAN: The previous boat was a very rudimentary one wasn't it, so this one a lot more comfortable?
MM: This ones a lot more comfortable and one of the key questions that people of Tokelau ask themselves is whether the fact they saw the future as being about passenger transport by ship or by air. There's been from time to time debate about whether any services are something that should be considered in the future. But the decision was made for the short term at least and for some time ahead, passengers by boat will be the order of the day. And so a lot of emphasis is gone into passenger comfort and convenience, so it's not luxurious but it's very comfortable and very safe.
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