It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's ... a dog named Rascal.

Bay of Islands residents who happened to look skywards on Friday may have been surprised to see a west highland terrier flying past at a height of about 300 metres.

The seven-year-old pooch is no stranger to adventure or the limelight - he even features on his own postcards - but this was his first time parasailing.

Rascal has been hanging out on Russell wharf since he was a puppy with owner Colette Kershaw, who also owns the Russell Booking and Information Centre. He has become a business mascot and an unofficial harbourmaster, mounting regular patrols of the wharf and greeting incoming vessels (especially if he gets a whiff of something tasty on board).


His sea legs have been tested on the tall ship R Tucker Thompson, and he once attempted to stow away on Fullers' Cream Trip around the Bay. But until last Friday he'd never been parasailing.

"He loved it," Colette said.

"He was looking around. He knows his environment, so I think he enjoyed seeing it from a higher perspective. He's a very inquisitive, nosy dog."

Bay of Islands Parasail co-owner Jules De Rosa said she offered the pair a flight to celebrate the end of Covid-19 isolation and to support another Bay of Islands business.

Rascal was clipped into a dog harness for the 10-minute flight.

"He was super-cool. His tail was wagging. Colette was more nervous than he was," Jules said.

Rascal was not the company's first canine client - two lapdogs went flying a few years ago - but she didn't know of any other parasailing operations in the world that offered dog flights.

Their human customers covered the entire age range, with the oldest so far a 102-year-old Paihia woman.


Since her business re-opened after the lockdown Colette had been posting fun stuff on local Facebook pages, much of it focused on Rascal.

"I wanted to introduce a feel-good factor. It's been a shocking time for a lot of people; now it's time to get out of the hole and make people smile," she said.