Ellis claims emergency services warned of Rangitoto stunt (+photos)

By Simon Winter

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Marc Ellis says he gave emergency services plenty of advance warning before his bizare Mt Rangitoto 'eruption' this morning.

But Auckland police say they knew nothing of the venture until worried morning commuters and other emergency services began calling, shortly after 7am.

Clouds of white smoke could be seen billowing from the top of Rangitoto, even though it is now an extinct volcano, after Ellis and his business partners blew up fertiliser from the top of Rangitoto to launch his lastest business venture Mintshot.co.nz.

"We've been planning it for months now and we're delighted the response has been overwhelmingly positive," a very tired but elated Ellis said this morning.

"We didn't damage anything on the island, safety and preservation of the land, and of ourselves was of paramount importance."

He said it was a harmless and fun prank and had to be dramatic "to get Aucklanders attention".

"The ideas been in my head for a few years now...we had earned our explosive certificates, so we knew what we were doing."

The Charlie's juice founder was pleased there were so few complaints to the police, who were somewhat "miffed" at the early morning stunt .

"Obviously ambulance and the fire service have received a few calls and contacted us.

"But from our point of view we would really have liked some advance warning," Inspector Matt Sillars of the Auckland police said.

Will Stamers-Smith of St Mary's Bay said he noticed planes with a mintshot.co.nz banner about 6.45am then noticed Rangitoto "erupting".

He described it as a "classic stunt".

A film of the "guerilla marketing" stunt will be shown on 20/20 on TV2 at 9.30pm tonight.

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