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Statement from Paul Quinn, Chair of White Island Tours

11 December 2019

Statement from Paul Quinn, Chair of White Island Tours Limited:

“First and foremost, we would like to express our sorrow and offer condolences to those who have lost their loved ones following the eruption on Whakaari / White Island on Monday.

At this stage, recovery of loved ones who are still on the island is of paramount concern and all of our resources including vessels, protection equipment and personnel have been made available to NZ Police and Civil Defence to support the recovery mission.

For Ngāti Awa (tangata whenua of Whakatāne) our responsibility to provide care for our people and visitors during this difficult time is foremost in our minds and actions. We are focussed on wrapping the necessary support around affected families and staff, all of whom are understandably distraught.

Karakia (prayer) services are being held daily to give staff and affected families an opportunity to come together in our grief.

Local liaisons are being appointed to support overseas families who are arriving in Whakatāne. Support packages are being put together today including practical and useful items for those families as they await news and updates on the recovery mission.

We are committed to facilitating family members’ travel and other arrangements while we all await the return of loved ones to their families.

We would like to acknowledge the numerous offers of support from our community and also wider iwi from across the country. Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa.

There are many questions that are left to be answered but our priority at this time is on the welfare of those affected.”

ends

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