Ferry passenger is mystified by seahorse
An accessibility sign featuring people with seahorse heads on an Auckland ferry has left a Waiheke resident ‘‘mystified’’.
Actor Erueti Brown was travelling from Waiheke Island to Auckland two weeks ago when he noticed the sign in a Fullers ferry.
Sitting on the upper deck, Brown was annoyed because people had not closed the toilet door properly which meant it kept opening and closing, he said.
‘‘But then I looked at the door and saw the sign and thought, ‘what?’,’’ Brown said. ‘‘I do have a habit of finding those sorts of things around which is why I took a photo of it.’’
Taking to Fullers’ Facebook page to ask about the sign’s meaning, a Fullers’ spokesperson said its ferry, now called the Takahe¯, was originally a vessel from Australia.
It was first called the Fantasea Sunrise, which was why there were symbols of seahorses, the spokesperson said.
‘‘The original signage was in place when the vessel was commissioned in Australia,’’ the spokesperson said. ‘‘We’ve kept her original signage to honour her history.’’
While Fullers’ response went some way, Brown felt as though he was left with more questions, he said.
He was unsure what the sign had to do with being accessible, Brown said.
‘‘It just makes no sense. I don’t get what the two pictures together mean.’’
Brown thought because the sign was so ambiguous that it could be seen as offensive, he said.
CCS Disability Action’s national manager of access and infrastructure BJ Clark said ‘‘whilst I accept that the sign was already part of the ferry when purchased and there is no intention from Fullers to offend anyone, I am concerned that some will find it offensive’’.
CCS Disability Action is a nationwide organisation which provides support, advocacy and information for people with a disability.
‘‘We would prefer that standard signage was used, bearing in mind also that many tourists will use the ferry and they may not understand the current signage,’’ Clark said.
‘‘Therefore, I would recommend the removal of the sign and it be replaced with the international symbol of access.’’
Fullers had no comment beyond the response on its Facebook page.
The accessibility sign on a Fullers ferry features people with seahorse heads.