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Local rite of passage celebrates 15 years

Friday marked 15 years of Queenstown’s school leavers making a giant leap of faith into their future and celebrating the end of high school with a free Bungy Jump as part of AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand’s JumpStart programme.

More than 1000 teenagers from Wakatipu High School have taken part in the local rite of passage since the company launched the programme in 2006 to acknowledge the special relationship Bungy had with the local Queenstown kids born in 1988 – the year Bungy began.

It has continued to offer free Bungy jumps to Queenstown’s Wakatipu High School Year 13 students as an exciting challenge that builds confidence as they head into a new stage of their lives. The company extended the programme into its other locations, Auckland several years ago, and into its newest community, Taup≈ç¬ç, in December.

"Sharing Bungy with a new generation of young people is extremely rewarding and we believe offers them an experience like no other," says Bungy co-founder and managing director Henry van Asch.

"There’s nothing like standing on the edge of a bridge – especially at the world home of Bungy, the Kawarau – and jumping towards the unknown. If you can Bungy, you can do anything, it’s all about having the confidence to take on life’s challenges head-first. Plus, it’s a great way to celebrate the end of many years in a school classroom."

Former Wakatipu High School student Leah Fitzpatrick, who did her first (and only) Bungy Jump in 2008 as part of JumpStart, says it was "a great way to end my high school years in Queenstown".

"Growing up here it’s surprising how few tourist activities I actually did. It is a fond (and slightly terrifying) memory I look back on. I’m glad I got to share it with my friends before leaving for university."

Friday’s 15-year celebration also included an official jump by Mr van Asch – who jumped with Queenstown teenager Ella Lanuel, 17.

Founded in 1988, AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand today challenges more than 150,000 people every year to ‘live more fear less’ at one of its 13 Bungy, Catapult, Swing, Zipline, Bridge Climb, SkyJump and SkyWalk experiences across Queenstown and Auckland, and now Taup≈ç.

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