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KJet Locals Day this Saturday …and every day thereafter

Media Release from KJET
15 January 2012

KJet Locals Day this Saturday …and every day thereafter

The world’s first commercial Jet boat company is inviting locals to ‘take a spin’ on its Locals Day in aid of two worthy charities.

Established in 1960 and still locally owned and operated, it recently re-branded from Kawarau Jet to KJet. It is offering locals day rides at just $20 for adults and $10 for children (aged from five to 15) with proceeds going to the Bruce Grant Youth Trust and the Lakeland Christian Camp.

Scheduled for this Saturday January 19, the KJet Locals Day will be a fun family affair with rides starting at 9am and a sausage sizzle and face painter happening on the Main Town Pier to keep youngsters amused.

KJet director Shaun Kelly said the day was always a hugely popular one on the local calendar thanks to the discounted price and the fact that monies raised go to two local charities that focus on youth development and have a long history with KJet.

“We’re one of Queenstown’s first adventure activities and the first commercial Jet boat company, which the Christian Youth Trust helped set up,” he said.

“We strongly value our community roots and this is one day where, thanks to great local support, we can give back to our community.”

The day will also see the launch of the KJet Locals Card, which will cost just $50 for adults and $30 for children and is valid for 12 months from issue.

“What that means is that anyone who takes a ride with us on Locals Day can pay just an extra $30 or $20 for the card and go Jet boating all year round,” he said.

Mr Kelly said KJet was enjoying a very busy summer season.

“We’ve revamped the whole fleet, vehicles and signage and introduced a new look logo as well as updated imagery, website and brochures,” he said.

“The new look, Locals Day and Locals Card offers are our way of demonstrating our commitment to client satisfaction, keeping our edge and being a proudly local business.”

Locals who miss out on the Locals Day activities can still buy the card any time after January 19 from the KJet team on the Main Town Pier.

A hardcopy bill or payslip with proof of residence is needed to buy either the Locals Day ride or KJet Locals Card. Locals Day rides are payable by cash only.

Picture caption(s):
1/ Jet boating action on the Kawarau River with KJet
2/ KJet Locals Day will operate from Queenstown’s Main Town Pier

For further media information please contact:

Melinee Kong 03 409 0049

About KJet

KJet is not only Queenstown’s first and most experienced commercial Jet boat company but also the world’s longest established commercial Jet boat operation. The company, originally named The Kawarau Jet and launched in 1960, now boasts the largest capacity in New Zealand, able to carry up to 140 passengers at any one time.

Aside from its spinning thrills, the company has become well known for innovation and safety, having set many industry benchmarks. In 1990 it established the first roll bar system to be used in commercial Jet boats and in 1995 it developed twin engine technology. Both are now standard in the Jet boating industry.

In the summer of 2006/7 it carried out a full fleet refurbishment and more recently the entire re-branded from Kawarau Jet to KJet. This encompassed new look and re-upholstered boats, updates to imagery, website and brochures and the re-signing of all merchandise and branded articles to KJet.

KJet today is still a Queenstown owned and operated business. Champion Jet boat driver Shaun Kelly owns and runs the operation along with business partner David Skeggs of the Skeggs Group.

The tradition of innovation is still in evidence – the world’s first Jet boat operation pioneered twin-powered twin Jet units on the shallow braids of the Shotover River and still leads the way worldwide with development of twin engined boats through its research and development department.

As part of its ongoing commitment to its community and customers, KJet has a Locals Day every year offering discounted rates for locals and donating proceeds to local charities. In 2013 KJet is launching its Locals Card offering Queenstown residents cost-free rides for 12 months after issue, with discounts for friends and relatives.

About Kawarau Jet and the Lakeland Christian Camp

Kawarau Jet, the world’s first commercial Jet boating operation, has its origins in a Christian youth trust set up to ensure the “spiritual, moral and physical wellbeing of the young people in Otago and Southland.”

The company became linked with the Lakeland Christian Camp in 1958 when camp trustees and Invercargill brothers Alan and Harold Melhop made the first powered navigation of the Kawarau Falls dam in a Hamilton Jet.

The pair, whose Invercargill engineering business was an agency for the revolutionary Hamilton Jet boats, found that holidaymakers soon lined up for rides on the thrilling new boat. At five shillings a go, the trip was efficient fundraising for the Christian camp.

In 1959, the brothers eventually convinced the Christian Trust to invest in the operation by buying its own Hamilton Jet – at a cost of 1200 pounds. So began one of Queenstown’s most successful and enduring tourist operations.

The Kawarau Jet service initially operated from the Frankton Jetty near the Frankton Campground but moved to a new site on the Queenstown Main Town Pier in 1960 at the urging of the then borough council which was keen to benefit from the increasingly popular tourism operation.

Soon after, the Shotover Extension was added. A true safari, the trip journeyed down the Kawarau and up the Shotover, through the canyons and under the Edith Cavell Bridge as far as the Oxenbridge Tunnel. The boats often grounded in the shallow braids of the lower Shotover River and in 1964 a separate Shotover Jet Service was launched avoiding the troublesome shallow waters. That trip started at the Edith Cavell Bridge and travelled down to Tucker Beach and back. Both the Kawarau and Shotover Jet services continued to return funds to the camp until 1966 by which time both services had been sold to pay off camp building mortgages. Two dormitories housing a total of 80 beds were paid for by the sale of the services.

About the Bruce Grant Youth Trust
The Legend Lives On…

Olympic skier, mountaineering great, extreme sportsman and extraordinary individual, Bruce Grant was a Queenstown adventurer whose special attitude to life touched a community and continues to provide inspiration to local young people.

Bruce died after reaching the summit of K2 in the Himalayas on August 13, 1995. The Trust was set up to preserve his legacy and to recognise the efforts of young people who displayed a similar passion for life and desire to achieve.

The Trust’s purpose is to raise funds to assist or promote the youth of the Wakatipu basin to undertake sports, arts or cultural activities, in which they excel or show a particular interest. All people aged 24 and under who live in the Wakatipu Basin are eligible to apply.


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