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Jet boating came into being through the inventive genius of New Zealand CWF (Bill) Hamilton, who was looking for a means of boating on the swift, shallow rivers of the South Island high country where he farmed. Bill Hamilton developed the concept of the jet boat when he ruled out as impractical the use of a conventional external propeller and instead devised the revolutionary internal impeller which provided through its design both propulsion and maneuverability.
In 1953 the jet boat was officially born and in 1964 the forerunners of the Shotover Jet began running the first commercial trips on the Shotover River near Queenstown.
In 1970, Shotover Jet came into being and the jet boating industry was revolutionized in 1976 when Shotover Jet designed and built the first of its highly specialized boats. These craft were designed to enhance the exhilarating Shotover Jet ‘drive style’.
In November 1990, Shotover Jet opened its first subsidiary operation Huka Jet (now Hukafalls Jet) on the Waikato River near Taupo, in New Zealand’s North Island. Hukafalls Jet was a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the Shotover Jet group of companies. This company had collectively over 70 years of jet boating history. The Shotover Group was later purchased by Ngai Tahu Tourism.