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Cook Strait ferries return to full service

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/11/2016

Ferry services for passengers between the North and South Island are back to full operation for the first time since the Kaikoura earthquake a fortnight ago.

It comes after engineers cleared KiwiRail's Interislander ferry terminal in Picton for full use.

The terminal had been operating on a restricted basis after being damaged by the magnitude 7.8 quake on November 14.

"We're happy that things are getting back to business as usual," Interislander operations manager Mark Thompson said.

"Tourism is really important to the region, and to the whole of the country."

"KiwiRail moves more than 800,000 passengers across Cook Strait each year."

The terminal's full re-opening comes after the third of the InterIslander passenger ferries, the Aratere, resumed its services on Tuesday morning.

Mr Thompson said the Aratere had been able to return to service quicker than expected because of speedy repairs to Wellington's Ferry Terminal, which is used to load and discharge vehicles.

However, the link that allows rail freight to be loaded was still to be fixed and not expected to be operating until next week.

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