Mongolians in New Zealand

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Kiwis’ Mongolian boat venture

Posted by on November 5, 2008


Kiwis’ Mongolian boat venture

By TINA LAW – The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Mongolia is about to be invaded by a trio of Kiwis creating what is believed to be the country’s first commercial jet-boating operation.

Mike Gorman, who is originally from Christchurch but has lived in Japan for 35 years, thinks landlocked Mongolia will be the next big tourism destination and is keen to enter the market early.

He has enlisted the help of two long-time Canterbury jet-boat operators to help him build up the venture, which will put a bright yellow Christchurch-built Hamilton 212 jet boat on the waters of the Tuul River.

At 705 kilometres, the Tuul is more than four times the length of the Waimakariri River, which Johnny Sharp, of Southern Alps Jets, and Alastair Sime, of Adventure Jets, are used to boating on.

The two will spend six weeks training drivers and setting up the operation.

Mr Gorman was travelling to Mongolia and could not be reached for comment.

Mongolia, with just 2.9 million people, is the most sparsely populated country in the world, but Mr Sime said Mr Gorman believed the venture would create a lot of interest from tourists and local people.

Mr Gorman came up with the idea one day while overlooking the river. He decided it would benefit from a jet-boating operation.

It would not be Mr Gorman’s first commercial venture in Mongolia. He already imports New Zealand fish into the country through Independent Fisheries.

Despite seeing only photographs of the Tuul River, Mr Sharp expected language and cultural differences to be the biggest challenges they would face.

The boat, built by 20-year-old Gareth Munro of Jet Seeker, had to be modified to cope with the altitude because the river, which cuts through the capital Ulan Bator, is 1524 metres above sea level.

Jet Seeker director Lindsay Munro said the engine’s fuel/air mix had to be altered. The nine-seater boat, which took three months to build, was about the sixth built by his son Gareth since he joined his father’s company in September last year.

Lindsay Munro said he would be employing two more staff to cope with the number of orders the company was receiving. He was hoping to secure orders from Taiwan and Britain.

He had recently sold a secondhand boat to a rich Siberian man who wanted something to play with. He could use it only four months of the year, however, because of the temperature.


One Response to “Kiwis’ Mongolian boat venture”

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