Skydiving Abel Tasman had an epic Labour Weekend, hosting over 40 sports skydivers from around the world for the inaugural Lift Off Abel Tasman Festival.

Over 10,000 people came along to Lift Off Abel Tasman which was hosted across two days, Saturday at the Motueka Aerodrome and Sunday at Kaiteriteri Beach where crowds were entertained with skydiving displays, aircraft on show, live music, food stalls, circus entertainment and the stunning balloon night glow. We were also stoked to John Ivanoff and his crew from Combat Pyrotechnics finish off the first night in style with an incredible fireworks display! 

As the gates opened on Saturday, Wendy Smith successfully set an NZ Skydive Record – completing a HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) 25,000ft jump! Wendy was flown up in our Pilatus Porter and dropped from 25,000ft before returning to the ground where the crowds were buzzing with the new record.

On Sunday, we had a blast throwing some of our sporties out of the plane above Kaiteriteri Beach where they landed on the golden sands in front of excited crowds enjoying their afternoon at the Balloons on the Beach event!

Wendy’s jump was a real crowd pleaser and featured on One News, NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz, the Nelson Magazine, The Nelson Weekly,  The Guardian NewspaperOtago Daily Times & more.

The first ever Lift Off Festival was a hit with the locals and attracted a number of visitors from outside the region. We were pleased to see the regions incredible aviation offering highlighted in the media coverage throughout the event.

“I think this is the start of something quite special for the region, we do have an outstanding aviation offering,” said Johny O’Donnell (Event Organiser, Lift Off Abel Tasman). For those visiting the region for the first time, the festival had been a “stunning showcase” of what made Motueka a great place to live and the best place to skydive in New Zealand.

“We have got the most settled climate, the best flying conditions, the winters here are crystal clear and it is the only place in New Zealand where you can jump and see both the North Island, the South Island and three national parks … you don’t get that anywhere else in the country.”

Check out some of the amazing photos from the weekend below – Skydive Abel Tasman was proud to be a part of making it all happen! Nothing like a celebration of New Zealand’s best piece of sky!