18 April 2010
Around 280 generous Aucklanders were willing to open their homes to passengers stranded when Iceland’s volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted, sending ash across the skies of Europe.
Tourism Auckland called the initiative 100% Pure Welcome and says it is a great example of Kiwis doing the right thing.
Tourism Auckland Chief Executive, Graeme Osborne, says this superb public response reinforces our country’s ability to provide a 100% Pure Kiwi welcome. “It’s wonderful to see locals backing up the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign with 100% pure hospitality,” he says.
About 90 people took up the offer after the eruption grounded hundreds of flights from New Zealand to Europe.
Auckland Airport senior communications manager Richard Llewellen says informal billeting arrangements have been offered in the past and the Samoan Tsunami, when church and community groups offered to help, was a good example. However, this is the first time formal preparations have been made.
Checks were made to confirm that those who volunteered had the capacity to cater for stranded travellers. “We made sure they had the means to host stranded passengers, like a spare room, and they weren’t just going to put them on the floor,” Llewellen says.
The names and numbers of people willing to help have been added to a new database that can be used when similar events occur in the future.
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