The iconic red Shotover Jet goes green

Jul 6, 2022

Queenstown’s (Tāhuna) iconic red Shotover Jet is going green, with the unveiling of a world-first electric jet boat designed solely for tourism.

The prototype is one part of an ambitious plan to steer Ngāi Tahu Tourism towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

Shotover Jet, set in a pristine river canyon in the deep South, is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most iconic visitor experiences, which (pre-pandemic) hosted more than 180,000 manuhiri (visitors) a year.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism General Manager Jolanda Cave says the innovation and hard work behind the move away from fossil fuels will mean at least half of Ngāi Tahu Tourism’s jetboat fleet will be electric by 2030.

“As demand for our popular jet boats grow and international tourists return to Queenstown, we’re looking forward to showcasing our iwi values of guardianship and leadership. Through these steps and more we can keep our environment pristine and beautiful for future generations.”

The new silent jetboat is now conducting test runs through the majestic Kimiākau awa (Shotover River) which has been home to Ngāi Tahu ancestors for centuries.

Visitors may get a first-hand glimpse of these test runs on their next visit to Shotover Jet.

“At Ngāi Tahu Tourism we don’t want to shy away from the challenges which climate change presents, though these may seem daunting. We acknowledge we have a long road ahead of us but through innovation and collaboration, we believe things can be more promising for future generations,” Jolanda says.

The electric jetboat prototype is one of 88 initiatives announced by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as part of its Te Kounga Paparangi plan, which will see the iwi cut greenhouse gas emissions, embrace renewable energy, optimise resource use, reduce water and ecosystem impacts, and create a resilient future for Ngāi Tahu whānau.

Watch the jetboat prototype in action at, and explore Te Kounga Paparangi and the many actions underway at Te Kounga Paparangi.




For more information, please contact:

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu senior communications advisor Nicki Tipa
on [email protected]


Background – Electric Jetboat Prototype

  • Shotover Jet is one of the multiple experiences on offer from Ngāi Tahu Tourism.
  • The prototype project began in 2019 when Ngāi Tahu Tourism entered a co-funding agreement with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) under the ‘Technology Demonstration Programme’ and was awarded up to $200,000 to convert one of our petrol-powered jet boats to run on electricity.
  • The four main components that form the electrical functionality are the battery packs, battery management system, power delivery, and electric motors.
  • Gasoline has an approximate energy density of 12,000Wh/kg which is 100 times the energy density of Lithium based batteries which can store 100-265Wh/kg
  • Many of the components are common to petrol and electric boats, for example water jet units.
  • Initial water testing occurred on Lake Whakatipu in May 2022, following by tests on the Kimiākau (Shotover River) in June 2022.
  • It will take several years to confirm the commercialisation of the electric prototype.


Background Te Kounga Paparangi

  • Te Kounga Paparangi is a group of 88 initiatives across eight kaupapa: Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Marae and Whānau Resilience; Water; Operational Emissions; Ecosystems; Waste; Renewable Energy; and Education.
  • Its purpose is to mitigate climate change, increase resilience, and enhance sustainable business practices.
  • Te Kounga Paparangi initiatives are timebound and are planned to be delivered no later than 2022, 2025, and 2030, as shown within the Plan.
  • Ngāi Tahu Holdings Company is a signatory of the Climate Leaders Coalition and a member of Toitū Envirocare’s carbon reduce programme.
  • The Board of Te Rūnanga approved Te Kounga Paparangi in August 2021.