Flying into a disaster zone isn't something that Mit Brereton thought he'd have to do again, but after the recent devastating earthquake in Kaikoura, New Zealand he says he didnt think twice about stepping up to help.
"I've been stranded before, being stuck in a military coup in Africa with the borders cut off for three weeks. I know what it's like to feel trapped, so I knew that providing help and reassurance to people that are scared and cut off would make a big difference".
It all started when Adventure flights owner operator, and Spidertracks customer Mit received a call from a friend asking him to pick up a stranded UK couple on their honeymoon. Knowing that he had capacity in his plane to carry more, he shared a Facebook post offering plane space to anyone who needed it.
Not sure whether anyone would notice his offer he was surprised when it went viral, his post clocking up 100,000 views, 500 shares, several hundred reactions and 200 comments.
“Things went a little bit crazy, we didn’t get much sleep for a couple of nights as we were answering phones and messages. We ended up contacting 250 people, which resulted in us assisting getting people out of the effected area, bringing in supplies, checking on people on behalf of their families and so on.”
With such a huge response from the wider New Zealand community and beyond, it soon became clear that one flight wouldn’t be enough. Mit set up a givealittle page hoping to raise $5k to cover the fuel cost of doing five flights (all other expenses were covered at his own cost). He ended up raising $8k and completed 8 trips to Kaikoura and surrounding communities, moving a total of 4.5 tonnes.
While the relief operation worked out, flying in and out of a disaster zone like Kaikoura wasn't easy, and Mit wishes he’d had Spidertxt 2.0 on-board his plane. "In Kaikoura not only was I facing unknown conditions of the airstrips, but cell coverage was down, so communication was nearly impossible.
"Having Spidertxt's communication anywhere service would have been a massive help."
Regardless of the obstacles faced providing assistance in a disaster zone, Mit says it was really heartening to see the relief effort in full force and communities from all over banding together to help in any way they could.
“Some amazing ladies in Blenheim started a Facebook page to help coordinate care packages for the relief effort, and managed to fill eight double garages full of relief supplies, including pellets of water and even beer from a local Brewery!”
After his tireless effort, Mit is proud to have been able to serve his community alongside the many dedicated volunteers and relief crew that assisted in Kaikoura and surrounding areas. Now that he's back at work flying charters for Adventure Flights Golden Bay, he’s looking forward to the future. With plans of expansion as the tourism industry continues to grow, he’s excited to get more people exploring the beautiful Golden Bay.