The Coral Route
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The Coral Route
An introduction to the history and geography of the Coral Route
Curated by Jim Gritton
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Connecting Polynesian islands by canoe

Connecting Polynesian islands by canoe | The Coral Route | Scoop.it
Two ocean-going canoes have returned to New Zealand after an epic voyage a new generation of Polynesian navigators using traditional craft.
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Reminiscing about the Coral Route

Reminiscing about the Coral Route | The Coral Route | Scoop.it

Funny Weather for Flying Boats in the Tropics In the Fifties when the Solent was operating across to Tahiti on what the Public Relations folk called the Coral Route...

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A brief history of Air New Zealand

A brief history of Air New Zealand | The Coral Route | Scoop.it

In December 1951 a flying boat service from Auckland via Fiji and the Cook Islands to Tahiti began - it was known as the "Coral Route". Samoa became part of this route in 1952. The inaugural flight was made in a MK III Solent Flying Boat called Aparima. Solents were used to fly the Coral Route until September 1960, when the world's last scheduled international flying boat service was discontinued.

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Tasman Empire Airways Limited

Tasman Empire Airways Limited | The Coral Route | Scoop.it

The most fond memories of TEAL's numerous services was the Coral Route. 2002 marked the 50th anniversary of this service - labelled the most romantic airline route in the world by those who flew it. TEAL introduced the service in 1951; ferrying passengers from Auckland's harbour across to Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and the Cook Islands in luxury Solent flying boats. The journey harked back to the 1930's with the twin deck flying boat carrying a relatively small number of passengers...

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Welcome

Welcome | The Coral Route | Scoop.it

The Coral Route is probably one of the most famous and romantic flight routes in the world, linking Auckland with Tahiti via a string of island stops in the South Pacific – Fiji, Samoa and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. The route was launched in 1951 and flown by Tasman Empire Airways Limited, which was the forerunner of what we now know as Air New Zealand. Although the route was abandoned by Air New Zealand in 2007, in its day the Coral Route vied with other famous journeys such as Paris to Istanbul on the Orient Express. Now, the journey time between Auckland and Papeete takes about 5 hours non-stop, but in the 1950s the journey would have taken three days in a double decker flying boat.

 

I have been fascinated by tales of the South Pacific since I was a child. Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki Expedition and South Sea Adventure by Willard Price enjoyed pride of place on my bookshelf. Later, as a student of linguistics, my interest in the South Pacific was rekindled when I studied Malayo-Polynesian languages and read about the migration of Polynesian people, by canoe, across the vast Pacific Ocean.

 

My particular interest in the Coral Route began in 2003 when I travelled to French Polynesia for the first time, eschewing canoe in favour of Air Tahiti Nui and a cruise ship, which I boarded in Papeete, capital of Tahiti. During this first trip I visited Huahine, Bora Bora, Moorea, and Rangiroa, as well as Hiva Oa, which is the final resting place of Paul Gauguin, and Nuka Hiva in the far distant Marquesas Islands.

 

Since 2003, my wife and I have visited the South Pacific two more times, adding Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands and Tubuai in the Austral Islands to our list of islands visited. However, Samoa and Fiji elude us, as do Tonga and New Caledonia. In the weeks and months to come, I will be exploring the history of the Coral Route and introduce readers to the geography it traversed.

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Five Awesome Retro Travel Ads for New Zealand

Five Awesome Retro Travel Ads for New Zealand | The Coral Route | Scoop.it

Before Air NZ, TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited) dominated the skies for high-flying Kiwis. This ad pushes their popular Coral Route, which once flew passengers to the tropical South Pacific Islands for relaxing holidays...

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Coral plane highs

Coral plane highs | The Coral Route | Scoop.it

You don't have to choose between kayaking in Samoa's lagoons, drinking kava in Fiji or picnicking on a deserted sandbar in the Cooks ... just hop on a seaplane.

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Coral Route Service Discontinued

Air New Zealand has announced that it is canceling its weekly service between Rarotonga, Cook Islands, and Nadi, Fiji, effective October 27, 2007. This follows the carrier's April abrogation of its Tahiti to Rarotonga service. The Coral Route from Auckland to Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands, and Tahiti, pioneered by Tasman Empire Airways Limited (today Air New Zealand) in the 1950s, is now effectively dead...

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