Expert skydivers are trading parachutes for shovels as tourism businesses fight to survive on the South Island's West Coast.
They're some of 30 people across nine businesses working with the Department of Conservation on the West Coast as part of the Jobs for Nature programme - a $1.3 billion dollar government programme aimed at creating up to 11,000 jobs across New Zealand.
$13 million of that has been allocated to the South Island's West Coast through DoC.
Dotted along the coastline lie small towns that usually rely heavily on international tourism to sustain themselves.
Robbie Stewart, of Skydive Franz and Fox, has sent some his skydiving staff to work rebuilding the nearby 17.2km Alex Knob Track, near Franz Josef, which has a population of 444.
DoC is paying the businesses for the time their employees spend working on projects - such as the Alex Knob Track.
"With the borders being closed we lost about 80 per cent of our business," Stewart said.
He employs 10 staff, including tandem masters, ground crew, camera fliers, pilots, office staff and safety officers.
On quiet days his team goes to work on the track, but staff are also available for bookings.
That meant he could keep the highly specialised staff in the area and the business operating.
"It's really critical for the town," he said.
"If we lost our staff and closed our operation, it would mean, with the other operators in the area ... there is no real reason for tourists to come down State Highway 6."
That meant less money for other businesses that served tourists, he said, including hotels and restaurants.
"You'll just have the whole West Coast turn in to a ghost town."
Jono Ashton is one of Stewart's crew members, and had been training to become a tandem master. He had completed 700 jumps out of 750 needed before Covid-19 halted operations.
The extra work on the Alex Knob track meant he could afford to stay in the area.
"I've got a stable income and don't have to worry about going anywhere or going back to Auckland," he said.
"Everyone is ticking along, but times are pretty tough ... a lot of businesses have shut down, a lot of businesses lay off staff, a lot of people have left."
Down the road in Fox Glacier, population 306, Rob Jewell, of Fox Glacier guiding, said he still had customers coming through, although his business had to pivot to attract domestic tourists, as before Covid-19 hit, 97 per cent of their customers were from overseas.
His company had also signed up with the Jobs for Nature programme. Some of his staff were working on the Southside Track near Fox Glacier.
"My team has been out track-building, upgrading a number of sections," he said.
"It was absolutely critical for us to keep some of the team."
His business, pre-Covid, consisted of a team of 65 people. That was now down to 14.
Six of those 14 jobs were saved by the Jobs for Nature work, he said.
"In a small town like Fox Glacier ... that's a lot. Out of that six are a couple of families with kids in the local schools."