Skydive Taupo announces closure due to COVID-19

Skydive Taupo has announced it will close in the coming weeks due to the massive impact COVID-19 is having on Aotearoa's tourism industry.

The family operated business, said to be one of the North Island's most popular tourist attractions, shared the news on Facebook this week.

"2020 will go down in history for all of us. It will be the year we fought harder, became closer and saw Pinky [the aircraft] take her final flight over Great Lake Taupo," the post on the company's page said.

Skydive Taupo's chief executive Roy Clements spoke to The Project NZ on Wednesday night about the decision.

"It was one of those social media posts that you wish didn't get so much reach," he said.

"We were blown away and humbled by the answers and responses we got. Absolutely blown away."

One of those comments came from a mother whose son had been saving up to go skydiving when he was old enough.

"I was part of the fundraising event with the Blind Foundation last year. Our 11-year-old son was inspired and had his heart set on fundraising so he could do the jump this year," one person commented.

There was also a message posted from a former customer in the UK.

"I had a wonderful time skydiving from 15,000ft for my 40th birthday in 2018. I travelled all the way from Wales and this was the first thing I booked before leaving the UK." 

Others spoke of being in tears hearing the news.

"We built our hanger ourselves. We've got a team, a lot of them who have been with us for 14 years. You can't help but become close to the people you work with," Clements told The Project NZ.

"I wish there was someone I could blame, but there just isn't," Roy Clements told The Project NZ
"I wish there was someone I could blame, but there just isn't," Roy Clements told The Project NZ Photo credit: Skydive Taupo

"To me they are my family, and I'm going to miss them terribly." 

When asked if he blamed anyone for the closure of his business, Clements said we need to remind ourselves how well New Zealand is doing compared to other places in the world.

"Yeah I wish there was someone I could blame, but there just isn't, and its important to remember this. It's a situation that's happened to us all and there's a lot of people watching me now sympathising with me - but no, there's no one to blame," he said. 

"As far as borders opening again and people being able to fly here, that's the only way we would be able to operate, but that's just too risky."

However, Skydive Taupo isn't closing immediately. In the Facebook post, the company guaranteed anyone who had already paid or had a voucher for a skydive would get one. 

The message ended with an invitation to those who may have skydiving on their bucket list but are yet to tick it off.

"If you want to come for a final jump out of the pink plane, we are still taking bookings!"