Kiwi bungy pioneers still thrill seeking 30 years on

Published on : Friday, December 7, 2018

When two Kiwi thrill seekers took a ‘leap of faith’ 30 years ago and launched commercial bungy in New Zealand little did they know they were pioneering a global phenomenon.


AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch’s leap of faith not only opened up the precarious practice of bungy-jumping to the world but also put New Zealand innovation and adventure firmly on the map.


Today New Zealand is synonymous with adventure tourism and AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand has celebrated 30 years of safely encouraging people to overcome their fears and take a life-changing leap into the unknown.


The company launched its first commercial bungy jumping operation at Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown in November 1988 and now operates 11 different adventure activities throughout New Zealand.


These include the recently opened Nevis Catapult another world first where thrill seekers experience up to 3G of force and speeds of almost 100km per hour in 1.5 seconds as they are propelled 150m out across a ravine before dropping suddenly towards the valley floor and experiencing a series of jaw-dropping bounces.



All AJ Hackett activities including Queenstown Bungy & Swing, Queenstown Bungy & Zipride, Queenstown Nevis Bungy, Swing & Catapult, Auckland Bridge Climb & Bungy and the Auckland SkyWalk & SkyJump offer thrill seekers an adrenaline rush with the distraction of sublime views in some of the most awe-inspiring destinations found anywhere in the world.


As well as notching up world firsts, breaking records, developing new innovations and staging specialist stunts the company has a 100% safety record and co-founder and managing director Henry van Asch says it owes the 30 years of success to an inspiring crew committed to sharing bungy with the world.


“Thirty years ago, AJ and I hosted 28 thrill seekers -mostly our friends – looking to try out this thing we’d been talking about for years. At the time, we had no idea it would become a global phenomenon, we just loved bungy jumping and wanted to share it with others.”


He said AJ Hackett crews are dedicated to helping people overcome their fears and share the experience with others. “Over 30 years we’ve continued to challenge people with new opportunities to live more and fear less, whether it’s with a giant swing, a jump off Auckland’s Sky Tower or our latest world-first human slingshot, the Nevis Catapult.”


Earlier this year AJ Hackett launched its ‘Live More Fear Less’ campaign and new company brand with Mr van Asch doing a Heli Bungy Jump over Dunedin Harbour in the South Island. The bungy pioneer was also a New Zealand champion speed skier and downhill mountain biker and has been awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

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