The company behind Rotorua's Kaitiaki Adventures has gone into liquidation, but the rafting operation will continue.
Last month, Kaitiaki Adventures Rotorua, which owned and operated the rafting and sledging trips on the Kaituna River, was given until yesterday to pay the $345,058.51 it owed Inland Revenue in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties.
When that failed to happen, Associate Judge Anthony Christiansen in the High Court at Rotorua yesterday made an order for liquidation of the company. Kaitiaki Adventures Rotorua was not represented in court, but counsel for Inland Revenue told the judge there was no opposition to the liquidation.
After the last hearing, the company's director Jason Wright told The Daily Post he was waiting for the proceeds from the sale of a Christchurch property and was confident the company would continue to operate.
However yesterday Mr Wright said Kaitiaki Adventures Rotorua had sold its assets, including rafts, to another local adventure company, Rotorua Combos, in mid-November.
"Kaitiaki Adventures Rotorua Limited ceased trading last month with an asset and brand sale to assist in clearing debt to the creditor - the Inland Revenue Department. Kaitiaki Adventures Rotorua Limited was unable to dispose of a house in Christchurch in a timely fashion due to a further rezoning of the property, in order to avoid the timeline of liquidation. This asset sale would have completely alleviated any and all debt that was owed to the Inland Revenue Department," he said in a statement.
He said some of the company's 15 employees had been retained by the new owners, while the others had found new employment.
"We were able to place our amazing staff into other vacancies among the local and national tourism sector."
Mr Wright said trips would continue to run in Rotorua in rafts bearing the name Kaitiaki Adventures, but they were now owned and operated by Rotorua Combos. He said he had no involvement with Rotorua Combos.
Last Thursday, daily deal website GrabOne offered a half-price deal with Kaitiaki Adventures that included white water rafting and a photo CD pack. The GrabOne website showed 345 people bought the deal, redeemable until March 10, 2013. Mr Wright confirmed that offer was placed by the new owners and coupons would be valid.
A court-appointed liquidator now has control over all Kaitiaki Adventure Rotorua's unsecured assets, which will be sold to cover debts. Any employees owed wages and holiday pay will have priority.
Mr Wright said his company wanted to thank agents and suppliers who had supported them through a "trying time".