Queenstown’s Shotover Jet reopens

Jul 3, 2020

Shotover Jet has returned to the Kimiākau (Shotover River), with dozens of New Zealanders kicking off the school holidays with a thrilling jet boat ride.

The attraction is the only jet boating experience that can access the spectacular Shotover Canyons, with its twin-engine machines reaching speeds of 90 kilometres per hour and performing spins in excess of 360 degrees.

Owned by Ngāi Tahu Tourism since 1999, the business is one of 11 in the tourism operator’s portfolio. It, along with nine other Ngāi Tahu Tourism operations, was paused in March due to the significant impacts of COVID-19.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says the reopening of Shotover Jet demonstrates the tribe’s commitment to the tourism industry.

“Tourism provides the iwi with the ability to showcase Ngāi Tahu heritage, culture and values to the rest of Aotearoa and the world.

“Shotover Jet was our first suitable opportunity to enter the tourism industry, so it holds a special place in our hearts.

“After a period of not being able to welcome manuhiri, we are so pleased to have some of our Tourism attractions open again.”

Shotover Jet’s first day back began with a karakia, led by mana whenua and Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tuarua Matapura Ellison. Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult and Queenstown Lakes harbourmaster Marty Black joined the team for the first jet boat ride of the day.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult says it is great to see tourism activities starting up again, particularly a business as iconic as Shotover Jet.

“It’s great to have it up and running again; it’s a good sign for the district to see it back in business. Red boats, white water, smiling faces – always good to see.”

Ngāi Tahu Holdings Chief Executive Mike Pohio says it is fantastic to see the boats back on the water.

“Shotover Jet has been operating for more than 50 years and has carried more than 3.7 million customers in that time, so we’re delighted to be taking customers through these
canyons once again.”

During the school holidays, Shotover Jet is open five days a week, Thursday to Monday, with opening specials. Rides are $119 per adult (a saving of $40), $67 per child (a saving of
$22) and $299 for a family of two adults and two children (a saving of $100).

Shotover Jet is one of six Ngāi Tahu Tourism businesses that have been realigned to cater for the domestic market while the country’s borders remain shut – Hukafalls Jet in Taupō reopened in late May, while Dark Sky Project has reopened today, Franz Josef Glacier heli hikes resume tomorrow and Hollyford Track will reopen in January. Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters in Queenstown has remained open.