New water taxi service launched on Lake Rotoiti
A new water taxi will be transporting people across Lake Rotoiti this summer.
Rotoiti Water Taxis launched the "Mountaineer" last week to the sound of Rod Stewart's Sailing before it was escorted into Kerr Bay by children in kayaks and P-Class yachts.
Owner Hamish Simpson said there was a bit of a "shindig" with about 70 St Arnaud residents who helped to celebrate the arrival of the boat.
It is the first purpose built water taxi for the lake in 23 years.
It will join the seven-passenger Korimako which is nine years old and was originally a Marlborough Sounds Water taxi.
The Mountaineer was designed by Naiad, built in Picton by Tory Channel Contracting and can take 12 passengers and a skipper.
Simpson said the new boat was "a heck of a lot faster" than the existing one.
He bought the business over four years ago and had been slowly building it up.
The service takes around 3000 passengers a year. Simpson said there was a lot more pressure on the national park with more people wanting to visit.
Being the only commercial operator on the lake meant there was a bit of a social responsibility and Simpson worked alongside the Department of Conservation and the Tasman District Council.
"There is no Coastguard unit or anything up here so quite often if the river comes up we have to pull people out of the head of the lake, when boaties get into trouble we are often there for them as well."