Electric Queenstown jets part of iwi’s climate change plan

Source: 1News

The days of roaring engines echoing around Queenstown's canyons could be numbered as a new fleet of electric jet boats is developed.

It is part of a large-scale plan from Ngāi Tahu to tackle climate change across its broad range of business interests.

Shotover Jet was one of the first of the iwi's companies to launch a fully electric prototype.

Head driver Nick Simpson said: "[it's] very similar to our normal internal combustion boats but it's when you hear it go passed or driving it and you don't have the noise of the engines behind you, that's possibly the biggest difference."

It may have less of a roar, but no less of a thrill.

Jolanda Cave from Ngāi Tahu Tourism said: "it's [the] first step in a long journey but it's pretty exciting."

The engines are being developed by the company's engineering team with the plan to make half of all the jet boat fleet across the tourism business electric by 2035.

"This is clearly a prototype... it doesn't have the premium battery power that we want, it doesn't have the fast charging capability so the next step really is partnering with people that have that knowledge."

The fleet conversion is just one of the iwi's 88-action point plans to combat carbon emissions.

It has an extensive portfolio from 100,000 hectares of farming and forestry to nearly $750m in property assets.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chairperson Lisa Tumahai said: "in the first three years we've invested $27m for climate actions so we will look at initiatives on [the] farm... the way we are operating in our fishing company... [and] the way we are operating across the transport sector."

The plan also includes reducing methane emissions and adding solar panels to a marae.

"Hold us to account, there's no green washing in the iwi of Ngāi Tahu," Tumahai said.

"We have to have tangible options that we can demonstrate to our people that we are making change."

A change they hope others will take on board as they power toward a greener future.