Skydiving Kiwis will soon be landing into Sumner Beach to give the Canterbury tourism industry a much-needed boost
New Zealand’s most experienced and safest private aviation company, GCH Aviation, the parent company of Garden City
Helicopters will be operating the helicopter flights.
“GCH Aviation/Garden City Helicopters is thrilled to be working alongside Skydiving Kiwis in launching this new tourism
experience,” says Caroline Blanchfield, Group Marketing Manager, GCH Aviation.
“This is a totally new product in New Zealand tourism and that’s a great place to be.”
“Some might think that this is a strange time to bring a new product to market, but this is exactly the time to innovate
and launch a new tourism experience to put Christchurch on the domestic and later the international map. It really will
appeal to Kiwis looking for a new thrill,” says Blanchfield.
Skydiving Kiwis has been a successful tourism venture in Ashburton for over a decade and hopes to bring skydiving into
Christchurch as well as Hanmer Springs.
Director Lee Barraclough says the award-winning tourism operation has been working hard on these two projects for nearly
two years and is now in the final stages of being able to take Cantabrians skydiving over the Sumner coastline.
“We secured approvals from Environment Canterbury, who manage the beaches, and Airways and are now working with CAA to
create a solid framework for our new skydiving base,” said Barraclough.
Skydiving Kiwis will offer a unique adventure experience for Cantabrians and visitors jumping into the stunning setting
of Sumner Beach from Garden City Helicopters.
Barraclough says his team of instructors are eager for the last pieces of the puzzle to fall into place to start
training sessions and test jumps with the helicopter crews.
The tandem jumps will land on a small section (20m by 20m) of between Cave Rock and Shag Rock which will be temporarily
cordoned off by experienced drop-zone crews.
“We only plan four flights a day at the start and that small section of beach will only be cordoned off for 20 minutes
at the time, before other people can use it again,” says Barraclough, who is a resident of Sumner and wants to make
ensure his operation becomes a treasured asset to the suburb and not a burden.
“It is our aim for Sumner residents to enjoy the skydivers, but also for other businesses to benefit from the visitors
we bring into Sumner.”
Barraclough also wants to offer the community the opportunity to use skydiving as a vehicle for fundraising.
“This year, we have done seven charity events with our Ashburton operation and the last one raised $52,000, so we hope
we can replicate this in Christchurch and Hanmer Springs.”
While the New Zealand tourism industry is fearing the near future without foreign visitors, Barraclough is confident the
domestic appetite for adventure will enable many adventure activity businesses to create a sustainable and innovative
“We can reimagine our tourism industry. Instead of competing, we can collaborate, like with the Adventure Park, to offer
a compelling package to visit Canterbury, or for Cantabrians to enjoy their own backyard.”
Skydiving Kiwis is also planning to bring tandem skydiving to Hanmer Springs and Barraclough aims for the first jumps to
coincide with the hot pools reopening on May 26.
Both new operations in Hanmer Springs and Sumner will start with 6 to 10 staff but Barraclough expects this to grow over
the coming year.
“We first want to build a sustainable relationship with domestic customers and once the borders are open again, we
intend to be in a strong position to expand.”