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Sea Bee Air
Sea Bee Air was an amphibious aircraft service that operated from 1962 to 1989. The company was originally called Tourist Air Travel, then Mount Cook Airlines before Sea Bee Air.
Sea Bee Air operated a fleet of Grumman G-21 Goose (8 Seater), Grumman Widgeon(6 Seater) and Grumman Turbo Goose amphibian aircraft for regular scheduled passenger and freight services to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf (particularly Great Barrier and Waiheke Islands) and operated charter flights to other areas such as the Bay of Islands, Manukau & Kaipara harbours and elsewhere around the country and to Pacific islands including to Tuvalu where it operated on contract to the UK Government. Sea Bee Air operated from what is now the Marine Rescue Centre.
In its time it was one of the only viable ways to enter and access Waiheke quickly with the ferry services taking up to 2 hours.
Sir Murray Halberg in an recent interview recounts his experience flying into Waiheke in this way:
“On one trip, we flew out of Mechanics Bay and over to Pakatoa Island before landing in Surfdale. It was great to look down and see this beautiful island from the air and realise that was where I lived.”