A Tasman woman has set a new national high altitude low opening skydiving record - jumping from an aeroplane at 25,000 feet above sea level and landing at Motueka Airport.

Wendy Smith is believed to be the first person to attempt a HALO (high altitude, low opening) skydive in New Zealand - and potentially the Southern Hemisphere.

Smith used Everest Skydive Oxygen system equipment for the jump, which has been tested and refined on Himalaya expeditions to jump next to Mount Everest.

She had honed her high altitude jumping skills at Mount Everest over the past years, using the equipment to enable faster freefall speeds and better body movement in the air, while breathing oxygen.


The type of jump allows a skydiver to freefall at speeds up to 250km/h for an extended period - before opening their parachute a short time before landing on the drop zone.

Smith said the jumps were challenging.

"Equipment is heavy, restricting and oxygen is seriously essential for flying above 10,000 feet for long periods."

"Weather conditions at each upper altitude must be calculated for free-fall drift, and to open the canopy and land back on the drop zone spot," she said.

The jump marked the opening of the inaugural Lift Off Abel Tasman Festival.