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Rotorua's Agroventures launches Swoop in India

It was a double celebration for two of Rotorua's top tourist destinations yesterday with Prime Minister John Key joining the party.

Mr Key was on site to help announce a major tourism development in India for the team at Agroventures and to celebrate the 10 millionth visitor to Rotorua tourism icon the Agrodome.

Agroventures Adventure Park managing director Peter Cossey announced the launch of its first international expansion, with the opening of its Swoop and bungy attractions at a major adventure park in Mumbai, India.

Mr Key unveiled a plaque in honour of the occasion.

"This is taking New Zealand exports to a different dimension. This kind of product will also encourage people to come to New Zealand," he said.

Mr Cossey said the group was prompted to explore potential international expansion opportunities by the overwhelmingly positive feedback the adventure park received every day.

The park features the Agrojet jetboat, Shweeb human-powered monorail, Freefall Extreme wind tunnel, Swoop sky-swing and the Rotorua bungy.

Agroventure's New Zealand staff have been heavily involved in the design, construction and development of the Swoop and bungy at Della Adventure Park in Mumbai. "Our attractions are synonymous with New Zealand's leading reputation as an adventure tourism destination.

"They are all innovative and very specific to New Zealand and together provide a one-stop shop for thrill-seekers of all ages.

"Asia represents an incredible market for New Zealand due to proximity, population, spending power and rapidly westernised ways. In addition, senior members of our team have been advising on adventure tourism aspects in India and Singapore for a couple of years now," Mr Cossey said.

Prime Minister to launch Agroventures

Prime Minister John Key will visit Agroventures Adventure Park in Rotorua this afternoon to officially launch an exciting international expansion development for the cluster of adventure tourism activities.

The Agroventures group includes the world-first Agrojet jetboat and Shweeb human-powered monorail, the New Zealand-first Freefall Extreme windtunnel and Swoop sky-swing, and the Rotorua Bungy.

Each of the adventure tourism activities has progressively established at the Ngongotaha, Rotorua, site over the past 15 years, consolidating into one entity, Agroventures Adventure Park, in December 2010.

Source: Office of John Key.


Prime Minister Announces Agroventures Expansion in India

1 August 2013: Rotorua’s Agroventures Adventure Park has announced the launch of its first international expansion, with the opening of its Swoop and Bungy attractions at a major adventure park in Mumbai, India. Prime Minister John Key officially launched the international expansion by unveiling a plaque at the cluster’s Rotorua site this afternoon (Thursday 1 August).

The Agroventures group includes the world-first Agrojet jetboat and Shweeb human-powered monorail, the New Zealand-first Freefall Extreme windtunnel and Swoop sky-swing, and the Rotorua Bungy. Each of the adventure tourism activities has progressively established at the Ngongotaha, Rotorua site over the past 15 years, consolidating into one entity, Agroventures Adventure Park, in December 2010.


Agroventures Managing Director, Peter Cossey, says the group were prompted to explore potential international expansion opportunities by the overwhelmingly positive feedback the adventure park receives every day,including from Indian visitors.


“Our attractions are synonymous with New Zealand’s leading reputation as an adventure tourism destination. The creation of the cluster of five iconic activities and hence ownership of the total “adventure experience” offers a unique proposition and sets us apart from other adrenalin attractions both in New Zealand and around the world.”


“They are all innovative and very specific to New Zealand, and together provide a one-stop shop for thrill-seekers of all ages. We felt they would credibly represent our country’s adventure tourism brand and would replicate well in offshore markets.”


Mr Cossey says the group has undertaken a detailed review in order to expand internationally, including careful consideration of its first target market.


“Asia represents an incredible market for New Zealand due to proximity,population, spending power and rapidly westernised ways. In addition,senior members of our team have been advising on adventure tourism aspects in India and Singapore for a couple of years now.


“In addition, we have found that the Indian culture is currently more receptive to adventure activities than some of their other Asian neighbours. Adventure tourism is a nascent market there and the sheer size of the Indian population makes their ‘domestic’ market extremely significant and an incredible opportunity.”


Mr Cossey says India’s colonial heritage also means it is simply a much easier country in which to do business.


He says Agroventures have been forging contacts and building relationships in India for the past four years, including through a range of meetings that were facilitated by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s office in Mumbai.


“Ultimately we connected with an Indian adventure park operator with a passion for New Zealand adrenalin tourism. This culminated in the development of a joint venture between our two organisations and the official launch of our international operations today.”


MrCossey says Agroventure’s New Zealand staff have been heavily involved in the design, construction and development of the Swoop and Bungy at Della Adventure Park in Mumbai. Two senior New Zealand staff members have also been posted to Della and are responsible for safety and operations. It is likely that staff will rotate on an annual basis.


“A key part of our international operations will always be to have members of our team actively involved in running our activities on the ground.This is absolutely critical for us both in terms of preserving the credibility and authenticity of the attractions, and to ensure our bes tpractice safety and operational procedures are complied with and, accordingly, that our impeccable safety records are maintained.


“Safety is absolutely paramount for us and it always will be. It is not only the reputation of Agroventures at stake, but we feel an additional responsibility and obligation in respect of the reputation of the entire New Zealand adventure tourism industry.”


Mr Cossey says Agroventures’ goal is to expand to offer the entire Agroventures package of activities in India and to further grow their international presence based on the Mumbai model.


He says the company also hopes to use the Rotorua base as a training ground for New Zealand staff who can then travel and experience the world through the Agroventures operation.


“This expansion is not only an exciting development for our business, but also for our people.”


New frontier for Rotorua Bungy and Swoop in India

25 March 2013: Agroventures Adventure Park is excited to announce the deployment of two of our experienced Bungy Masters to launch a Bungy Jump and Swoop ride at Della Adventure Park in Lonavala, India

Kain Raureti and Phillip Clark, both Rotorua born and bred , will be based at the park in Lonavala in Maharashtra for six months and during that time they will be integral in setting up and operating both a Bungy and Swoop in the popular Adventure Park. Excited about their big adventure, Kain and Phillip will be living, breathing and experiencing everything the Indian culture has to offer while paving the way for future Agroventures employee to take advantage of this unique opportunity to work in adventure tourism outside of New Zealand.

Della Adventure Park is India's largest recreational Adventure Park and Corporate training destination. They offer an array of 86 different adventure sports and activities, two multi-cuisine restaurants and Camp Della - an exclusive luxury resort with a spa.

We will be eagerly updating you on the progress of the boys via face book and our website as they adjust to their new home, establish the rides and integrate into the Della Adventure Park.

For more information visit: www.dellaadventure.com


THE INAUGURAL SHWEEB WORLD CHAMPS 2013

Are you Bike curious? Then get your race face on at Agroventures Adventure Park, put your fast feet forward and race through space on the Shweeb.

This is the worlds ONLY Shweeb and most efficient man-powered monorail race track, hanging in cycling pods from an overhead rail. You can race at up to 45kmph against the clock, friends or foes over a 600m track. The bullet-shaped recumbent (meaning lie back) pods are suspended under two inverse tracks that weave 200m long and ride 7m high. Feel the inertia as you swing around every corner and beat the rest...

2013 SHWEEB WORLD CHAMPS RESULTS:

FIRST PLACE MEN:
GARTH WEINBERG - 56.03 SECONDS

FIRST PLACE WOMEN:
SARAH PITCHER-CAMPBELL- 1.01 SECONDS

THIS EVENT WILL BE RETURNING IN 2014 AS PART OF THE 2014 ROTORUA BIKE FESTIVAL

KEEP AN EYE OUT HERE FOR FUTURE ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Shweeb World Record Broken

November 2012: The Women’s World Shweeb record was broken by Rachel Dunn onsite at Agroventures Adventure Park in Rotorua, NZ on Sunday 4 November 2012.  Rachel Dunn from England achieved the World Record with a 58.8 second race time and walked away with $1000
prize – the first time this prize has been awarded to a Shweeb Racer since the competition was launched in September 2011.

Not only did Rachel break the Women’s World Record, she also broke the Women’s record for the United Kingdom and her Age Group Record. The previous Women’s World Record
of 59.0 seconds had been held for over 2 years by an Australian racer, Lisa P. The current Men’s World Record is 54.8 seconds and is still held by New Zealander, Alex B.

Rachel is currently in New Zealand to compete in The Fast 5 Netball World Series where she is the Goal Shoot for the English Team.

The series is a high-speed, high-octane variant on the traditional game played by world's top six netballing nations - New Zealand (the Fast5Ferns) Australia, England, Jamaica, South Africa and Malawi.

What the heck is a Shweeb?

Get your race face on, put your fast feet forward and race through space on the Shweeb

The Shweeb is the only one in the world and is one of the world’s most efficient (human) man powered machines. Hanging in cycling pods from an over head rail, you can raceat up to 50 kph against the clock, friends or foes on our 600m racetrack.  The bullet shaped recumbent  (means to lie back) pods are suspended under two inverse tracks that weave 200 meters long and ride approx 5 meters high off the ground. Fight the inertia as you swing around every corner, whilst battling to be the best on the track. 

Race for your age and country records and have your name go into the hall of fame at Agroventures Adventure Park – beat the World Record and $1000 NZD is yours!

Agroventures is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Senior Management team


General Manager
Jared Pemberton has been promoted to General Manager upon his third anniversary of employment at the park. Jared became Operations Manager for Shweeb in June 2009, and then quickly took over Freefall Xtreme operations as well before being appointed overall Operations Manager for the park in November 2010. Jared has been instrumental in building the team, systems and procedures.
 
Head of Marketing
Anna Rodgers has been promoted to Head of Marketing as she also enters her third year at the park. Anna has made a considerable difference to our sales and marketing function to date working alongside Melissa and will now take full responsibility for the Marketing function with particular emphasis on corporate, groups,conference and incentive and local market sectors. Anna is also our resident e-marketing expert and should be congratulated on taking our electronic platforms to the level they are today.

Head of Sales
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mary Tolley as Head of Sales,primarily responsible for wholesale, Inbound and Backpacker markets.Mary has had a distinguished career to date and sports considerable experience in the tourism industry, her last position being in a senior sales role for four years with Tamaki Tours. Mary has incredible enthusiasm, major networks and is delighted to jump off tall structures(with a larger rubber band attached of course!) – making her an exceptional fit and asset for the company.

Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Amanda Meikle has been appointed to this full time role after spending the past two years supporting Anna and Melissa. Amanda brings incredible knowledge of the business (having previously worked in the park as an activity operator) and will efficiently support both Anna and Mary going forward.

Rotorua Sales Representative
James Hughes, as many of you already know will continue on his great work as our Rotorua Sales Representative working closely with the local hotel, motel and backpackers around town.

Managing Director, Peter Cossey said “We are clearly very sad to see Melissa leave us but understand the new challenges she wishes to embrace. She has overseen a major restructuring and the building of a fabulous team and culture at the park. We are continuing her legacy by creating new positions to aggressively grow our business both locally and offshore.We are extremely fortunate to have such talent and experience internally that have now made more senior positions their own. In this respect congratulations to Jared, Anna and Amanda who we are confident will continue their wonderful contributions to the company and industry as awhole. Additionally it is with huge pride we announce the appointment of Mary Tolley from Tamaki Tours to our team as Head of Sales. Mary has exceptional ability and is well-known in the industry. We continue in great hands and look forward to exciting developments in the future.”

Agroventures is NZ’s premiere adventure park with five iconic NZ rides. It islocated adjacent to the Agrodome at Paradise Valley Road, off SH5,Ngongotaha.

Nitro Circus takes on Agroventures

February 2011: Yesterday Agroventures hosted the cast and crew from Nitro Circus Live. Closed to the public they had exclusive use of Rotorua Bungy, Swoop, Shweeb,

Agrojet and Freefall Xtreme Body flying. It was a mixture of business and pleasure as they blew off steam having fun on all rides while filming for their third series which will show on MTV in the near future.

Melissa Mills - Agroventures General Manager was the driving force behind getting them here to the park “We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to showcase Agroventures to the team especially due to their hectic touring schedule throughout NZ and we are definitely excited about the exposure and hype this will generate for Agroventures from the massive Nitro Circus fan base once this is aired worldwide” said Melissa.

In true Agroventures spirit, we decided to push the boundaries that couple of inches further and for the “first time ever Nitro Circus only special” we had Agrojet Ski biscuiting on our purpose built jet sprint course, Body Flying battles and Bungy Jumping and Swooping in all sorts of creative styles. Travis Pastrana the star of Nitro Circus was a staff photo favourite had a fantastic time bodyflying on the Freefall Xtreme and pulled off a blistering 54.5 second race time on the Shweeb which sparked a fierce competition amongst the other athletes– Erik Roner Extreme Skier and base jumper was the fastest with an amazing 53.8 seconds.

Our staff were given the rare chance to rub shoulders with the extreme sport super stars and after all the excitement of the activities got to relax in the sun showing them a true kiwi style BBQ accompanied with true kiwi hospitality.

The End of an Era

September 2010: Agroventures is pleased to announce the sale and purchase of Rotorua Bungy and Swoop. As of 1st September 2010 Rotorua Bungy and Swoop has been acquired by the other three Agroventures activity owners - Shweeb, Agrojet and Freefall Xtreme.

This change of ownership sees the departure of both Paul Nahu and Kyle Kydd from Agroventures as they move onto new and different business ventures. However it must be acknowledged the extreme passion and dedication that has been devoted to these operations over the past 12 years.

“It’s been an amazing 12 year ride from the initial inception of Bungy and Swoop. To even imagine that we could turn this operation into what it is today is very gratifying. Time moves on, and there are more challenges that await, so with a tinge of sadness it is time to bid farewell, I know the team at Agroventures will continue the great work and standards we have left and I wish them all the best. Thanks to all industry partners that we have worked with and supported Bungy over this time, it has been greatly appreciated” said Paul Nahu.

From modest beginnings in 1998, Paul and Kyle have grown and developed Rotorua Bungy and Swoop into internationally and nationally recognised adventure tourism operations. Innovative thinking, hard work and the eventual joint venture relationships with the other Agroventures operators have positioned Rotorua Bungy and Swoop as an industry leader in reputation, safety practices and exceptional customer service.

“This is an exciting time for Agroventures, we are pleased to be able to retain the ownership of these iconic adventure activities within the Agroventures family and while it is an end of an era and we are sad to see Paul and Kyle move on, it is also the beginning of new opportunities and direction for us” said Melissa Mills – General Manager

Peter Cossey – Shweeb, Simon Short – Agrojet and Steve Hockly – Freefall Xtreme are the Board of Directors that preside over Agroventures.

Google comes calling to invest in a unique NZ business

2010: The inventor of Rotorua’s adventure ride, the Shweeb, has always dreamt big. But Geoff Barnett never
dreamt he would get monetary backing from global internet phenomenon Google to help turn his concept of a human-powered transport system into a global reality.

In 2008 Google launched a project called 10^100 that called for ideas that would change the world by helping as many people as possible. Google evaluated 154,000 ideas submitted by the public and came up with 16 groupings of ideas for the public to vote on.

When ‘Drive innovation in public transportation’ turned out to be one of the five winning ideas, Google set about finding an organisation, company or individual to help bring that idea to life. Naturally enough it was a Google search that brought Shweeb to their attention, and ultimately led to Shweeb becoming one of a very select group to capture the imagination of the 10^100 advisory board and share in the $US10 million worth of
investment funding that Google committed to the project.

Peter Cossey, Managing Director of Shweeb and also Managing Director of Agroventures in Rotorua, where the Shweeb is based, says Shweeb has secured $1.36 million ($US1m) in funding from Google in return for a minority shareholding in the company. Any profits Google make from their investment will go to a charitable trust for the betterment of public transportation.

For the uninitiated Shweeb is best described as a pedal-powered pod attached to an overhead monorail. It is an exciting, dynamic ride where riders experience up to 60 degree swings on the curves and soar high and low over the undulating terrain. Riders lie back in a recumbent position for maximum comfort and minimum aerodynamic drag. The hard wheels on the track reduce rolling resistance, and as riders click through the seven gears they get up to high speed (over 40 kph) with little effort. Racing can be either against the clock or another rider. Two Shweeb pods can also be joined together for tandem racing.

Opened in Rotorua in October 2007, the Shweeb is a one-of-kind adventure ride that was initially dreamt up by Geoff Barnett, a keen cyclist with an interest in sustainable transport, whilst living in Tokyo a decade ago. Mr. Barnett reasoned that overhead cycle monorails connecting the city’s skyscrapers above the streets of Tokyo had to be a better solution than negotiating traffic jams or building even more roads and expressways. Returning to his home in Melbourne, he worked on the concept and developed it into a design. Following six years in the refining and testing stages, Mr. Barnett felt that Rotorua, New Zealand, an adventure playground already well known for innovative tourism products, was the perfect place to let the public test ride the concept. So far more than 30,000 riders have given Shweeb a resounding thumbs up. The current world record is 55 seconds for the 600m race.

Agroventures General Manager Melissa Mills says she is blown away by the offer from Google.

“From a branding prospective, it’s a great way for us to gain exposure for Shweeb on the national and international stage. Even people who had never heard of this adventure ride, or Agroventures, prior to the involvement with Google are likely to want to check out Shweeb to see what all the fuss it about and, hopefully come and have a ride next time they are in Rotorua. That way they’ll also discover it is one of our unique line-up of adventures including the Swoop, Agrojet, Freefall Xtreme and Rotorua Bungy.”

As part of its due diligence, Google had the opportunity to visit Shweeb and check out demonstrations of the technology. Mr. Cossey says in order to meet Google’s criteria ‘To drive innovation in public transport and develop new transportation technologies that will help move more people with less energy, greater efficiency and fewer causalities’, they propose to use the funding on research and development in order to build a showcase transit system in the Northern Hemisphere based on the prototype that Shweeb is already operating in Rotorua. An announcement on that can be expected shortly.

“The reason we have chosen to go offshore is really one of necessity,” says Mr. Cossey. “While the prototype has been thoroughly tested in New Zealand; in order to gain creditability in the global marketplace we need to test a transit system in a high density population destination. The Northern Hemisphere became the natural choice for us due to the sheer number of people that require transport and also the opportunity to achieve a higher global profile for the future growth of the company. It will also give us the ability to lock ourselves away for 12 months and concentrate on the massive opportunity that Google has laid at our door.”
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