Ngāti Tūwharetoa increase tourism investment with Big Sky Parasail purchase



Taupō Moana Group Holdings Limited (TMGH), the commercial arm of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board (TMTB) has purchased Big Sky Parasail.

The iconic business has operated in Taupō since 2007 and is situated alongside other TMGH-owned businesses, the Lake Taupō Hole in One Challenge (HIO Challenge) on the lakefront and close to Chris Jolly Outdoors (CJO) at the Nukuhau Marina.

TMGH Chair Tiwana Tibble says well-established, well-known businesses like Big Sky Parasail are ideal investments for the iwi.

“Big Sky Parasail is a natural fit to our stable of lake-based tourism businesses. Despite the recent difficulties faced by the tourism industry, it has continued to perform well,” Tiwana Tibble says.

Tiwana Tibble adds, that TMGH saw further opportunities for growth especially as Big Sky would eventually neighbour the proposed expansion of the HIO site on the Taupō Lakefront.

“We recognised some areas we could expand and also consolidate some of operational elements into the existing operations of Chris Jolly Outdoors, which we operate in partnership with the Jolly family.”

One such area is the Rangatahi Cadet programme. Every year, Tūwharetoa descendants are invited to apply for a cadetship where they work for Chris Jolly Outdoors (CJO) and the HIO Challenge during the summer months.

The cadets ‘earn while they learn’, meaning by the end of the cadetship, they have gained work experience in the tourism industry and some NZQA credits. Many of these cadets have been employed full-time at the conclusion of their cadetship.

“We’ll definitely be working to add Big Sky Parasail to the Rangatahi Cadetship Programme,” Tiwana Tibble says.

Outgoing owners Ian Mckelvey, Stephanie Oakes and Lloyd Shirley had a passing note of thanks to the local community, “We would like to thank the Taupo community, our crew over the years, our mechanics and everyone who has flown with us since 2007.

“Thank you all for supporting our owner operator, family business.  We wish the new owners well and we look forward to seeing Big Sky Parasail continuing to fly over Beautiful Lake Taupo. We are forever grateful for the opportunity. Aloha and A hui hou.”

The handover started on 1 May where the boats will be hauled out for winter re-branded and re-vamped in time for next summer. Chris Jolly Outdoors will also partner with and manage the business, with Lloyd Shirley staying on as chief skipper.



Bronson Perich

Communications Manager

Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board