Mokai shuts its doors... for now

By Zaryd Wilson

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Mokai Gravity Canyon south of Taihape has shut its doors. But its owner is confident it will re-open soon.
Mokai Gravity Canyon south of Taihape has shut its doors. But its owner is confident it will re-open soon.

Mokai Gravity Canyon has closed after 16 years with the loss of six jobs.

But the Rangitikei tourist attraction is expected to re-open under new ownership with staff offered employment.

Director Alastair MacDonald said he closed the site early this month and was hoping to find a buyer who wanted to put money into upgrading the adventure tourism site.

"We've decided that it needed new ownership," he said. "It needed someone that could push it to a greater level."

It will be sold by tender.

Mr MacDonald said the site would suit a holiday park, backpacker accommodation and a link to the national cycleway to support the adventure park which has a bungy jump, swing and flying fox.

That was something he was telling prospective buyers.

That sort of work would require a publicly notified resource consent.

He expected its six staff to be kept on.

"They'll be re-employed if they want to come back in."

Mr MacDonald started Mokai Gravity Canyon in 2000, 10 years after setting up Taupo Bungy which has a 52 per cent shareholding in Mokai Gravity Canyon.

He was confident of finding a buyer in a closed tender and that a new operator could re-open it fairly quickly.

Despite walking away he said the site and Rangitikei was still a viable place to operate a tourism business.

"I think it will become quite a significant destination," Mr MacDonald said.

"We have some other priorities. There's a reason behind it and that will become clear in the next week or so.

"We felt it was better for us to focus on Taupo bungy. That's our number one site. There's other reasons. I'm just re-thinking my future."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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