Long trip for Rotoroa Island twins

DIANA WORTHY
Last updated 05:00 14/05/2014
Philip and Ginnene with sons Cody and Aron
ISOLATED FAMILY: Philip and Ginnene with sons Cody and Aron can’t take things for granted on Rotoroa Island.

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Nothing can dampen the spirits of schoolboys Cody and Aron Salisbury despite their lengthy and unusual daily commute to school by road and sea.

The 10-year-olds are the only children living on the 82 hectare conservation island Rotoroa in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

Their parents Philip and Ginnene Salisbury took on the job as Rotoroa Island Trust managers nearly seven years ago when the boys were toddlers.

They were appointed by trust founders Neal and Annette Plowman, responsible for bringing the island back into general public use as a conservation park after its century-long use as treatment centre for alcoholics.

The Salisburys look after the facilities and manage tourism with the help of the only other permanent residents, assistant caretakers Stewart and Annette Penny.

"It's lovely over here," Ginnene Salisbury says.

"But the boys were missing things other children take for granted, like socialising and sleepovers."

So the couple, who had been tutoring their kids at home, decided to start them at a primary school on the neighbouring Waiheke Island.

The boys are now enjoying all sorts of activities, like the chance to perform the kapa haka earlier this month.

But it means an early start every day, with dad Philip making the 15-minute journey over to Waiheke with them in his 5-metre Stabicraft speedboat.

The swells sometimes make the boys queasy and their stomachs need time to settle before the next stage of the journey by bus and taxi.

But the boys are adamant it's all worthwhile - even during the winter when they're guaranteed to get wet.

"We like doing it," they say.

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