This hilly seaport of subtropical trees and plants has a long maritime tradition, and the fighting men of New Zealand won admiration for their bravery at Gallipoli in World War I in Italy and Europe in World War II. They appreciate courage here and the feat of Captain Chesley Sullenberger in bringing in his stricken plane without loss of life has had an impact on many New Zealanders.
In a small coffee house near the center of town, Alan Chisholm, a teacher, said he was deeply impressed by the performance of the captain and his crew.
"By all accounts," he said, "he did an amazing job. We have strong ties to the American people and this makes us feel good."
These sentiments were shared by others with whom we talked.
The Auckland newspaper quoted Governor Paterson calling what happened "a miracle on the Hudson” and major Bloomberg’s praise of Captain Sullenberger for doing "a masterful job" in landing and making sure everyone got out safely.
One couple we ran into was especially enthusiastic.
"It’s absolutely amazing," said Karen Fisher. "All one hundred fifty five go out safely. Usually they die. I think it’s wonderful."
Her husband Mark Fisher, an executive in South Pacific Tire Company, agreed.
"I think the captain deserves credit but so does the crew—the flight attendants who helped to get passengers out safely and the boats on the river that came to the rescue. They did themselves proud."