Final repatriation to depart from New Caledonia on Tuesday

A sixth and final repatriation flight is due to depart from New Caledonia on Tuesday, bringing the remaining New Zealanders home.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said fewer than 20 people were still waiting for a flight, with some passengers having been unable to make it to the airport on Monday due to travel restrictions and curfews.

A spokesperson said: “With New Caledonia in a State of Emergency, including a national curfew, travel has been restricted. This will have an impact on peoples’ ability to get to central pick-up points, particularly if they are outside of Noumea.

“A further and final flight is planned for [Tuesday] for remaining people who wish to return to New Zealand, we believe this to be fewer than 20 New Zealand citizens.”

The Hercules was expected to land in Noumea at about 1pm, and get back to Auckland about 6pm.

Previous flights have carried between 50 and 57 passengers each. The fifth landed in Auckland on Monday night, carrying 52, bringing the total to 259.

Meanwhile, the French High Commissioner in New Caledonia announced on Monday night the state of emergency would not be extended, and ended on Tuesday at 5am local time (6am New Zealand time).

Despite the state of emergency ending, the curfew would remain in place.

Seven people have been killed, hundreds arrested and large numbers of buildings and cars destroyed in a fortnight of upheaval triggered by a contested electoral reform and fuelled by sharp economic disparities between the indigenous Kanak population and people of European background.

La Tontouta International Airport in Noumea would remain closed to commercial flights until at least Sunday, when things would be reassessed.

Air New Zealand was unable to confirm when it will resume flights to the French territory.

Head of flight operations Hugh Pearce said this Saturday’s flights were cancelled.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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