grass in new zealand

Netspeed keeping the Mabey family connected

The Mabey family of Great Barrier Island

The Mabey family of Great Barrier Island. Photo/Supplied

Being connected is imperative to the Mabey family.

Living on the north eastern coast of Great Barrier Island, approximately 100km north/north east of Auckland, this family of full-time beef breeders, part-time tourism operators have called the Island home for 102 years.

Scott and Isabel Mabey moved back to Great Barrier Island in 2003 after a stint overseas and working "off island".

Their shared love of the outdoors and the marine environment, coupled with a strong connection with family brought them back to the Island.

Being resourceful, creative and connected online is not a luxury, but a necessity for the Mabeys, with their nearest neighbour (other than immediate family) living approximately 5km away.

"We like it that way" Scott is quick to admit.

As well as this, the nearest "town" Port Fitzroy only provides basic services (general store and fuel supply).

Beyond this, the closest major town is Auckland which is a 30-minute flight or five hour ferry trip.

Before the Mabey family discovered Netspeed, they only had satellite broadband.

"With small data caps and any usage over that prohibitively expensive, this made it very restrictive on what we could do" said Scott.

Being connected through Netspeed broadband has been a game-changer for the Mabey family.

"It means we can function like any other business or family in New Zealand even though we are off-grid."

The family uses internet for banking, operating their business, (tax returns, GST), and Cash Manager programmes.

As farmers they also regularly check weather reports, animal registration compliance, market information and other sites that assist their farming operation.

"All our business decisions hinge around information we get online" said Scott.

As shopping is very limited on the island, the family also use the internet for online purchases.

From groceries and clothing, to farm and machinery supplies, the ability to shop online is a necessity as the Mabey don't have any other option living so far away from shops.

"We often wonder how we ever coped without the internet!" said Scott.

Apart from a business function, Isobel said that being connected is a godsend right now.

"With the current crisis we have two kids home from boarding school and one from local school using internet for online learning and communicating with their teachers."

During #kickoff your boots Rural Mental Health Awareness Week, Scott and Isabel talked openly about how being connected keeps their family together.

"Which is essential. We use it daily to communicate with our kids while away at boarding school either using apps such as FaceTime and iMessage."

"Even though our kids are away at boarding school in Auckland we feel connected to them because we can message or FaceTime them at any stage so we can much more easily gauge anything they might be going through" said Scott.

Scott added, "Sometimes you might have a bad day and think it's the end of the world and then that evening you might be reading the news online and realise your day was not so bad after all, I guess being able to access information readily from the outside world keeps things in perspective!"

"I actually don't think we could live in an isolated place like this without being connected."

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