Tāhuna Queenstown’s iconic red Shotover Jet is going green, with the unveiling of a worldfirst 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.