The number of employees at Ngāi Tahu will be slashed by 309.

The Christchurch-based powerhouse business owns the Shotover Jet near Queenstown, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Rotorua's Agrodome and Rainbow Springs, the Dark Sky Project in Tekapo, and was establishing the All Blacks Experience due to open in Auckland in mid-year in what was the SkyCity Convention Centre.

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In late April it announced a decision to close its tourism businesses and downsize the workforce.


In a joint statement released today Ngāi Tahu Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai confirmed just how many jobs were on the line.

The workforce would be reduced by more than 88 per cent, from 348 to just 39. As a result of feedback received, this was 14 more than originally proposed.

After consultation, it was also decided Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters would remain open with reduced capacity.

Agrodome, Dark Sky Project, Dart River Adventures, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, Guided Walks New Zealand, Hukafalls Jet, Rainbow Springs, Shotover Jet and Vantage Helicopters are "in hibernation," the statement said.

The remaining team would protect and maintain assets and wildlife during the hibernation period and look towards the potential for growing business once the industry improved.

Most impacted employees would finish up during June or July.

The statement said: "This has been an extremely difficult decision, but unfortunately the impacts of Covid-19 are devastatingly deep and far-reaching."

"As a result, we expect to write off the equivalent of the last five years of Ngāi Tahu Tourism profits. Even if the domestic market soon picks up, it will not be enough to sustain our current operations or staffing.


"Our job now is to adapt our portfolio of tourism assets for an industry that will be undoubtedly different in light of this virus, but still filled with opportunities in the months and years ahead. With this in mind, we have retained the key capabilities we need so we are able to reopen at least to the domestic market when conditions permit, starting with Shotover Jet and Hukafalls Jet."

They reiterated that Ngāi Tahu remained "deeply committed to the permanence and health of the tourism industry in Aotearoa".

"We know we can get through this period and, in time, bring manuhiri back to this country to experience our manaakitanga. We are confident that we're taking the necessary steps to ensure the future viability of our tourism portfolio.

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter husbandry manager Emma Bean shows Tihei, a 3-day-old kiwi chick, to Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in 2018. Photo / File
Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter husbandry manager Emma Bean shows Tihei, a 3-day-old kiwi chick, to Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in 2018. Photo / File

"It is paramount tourism, alongside the rest of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Group, emerges from Covid-19 well-positioned to continue serving the best interests of Ngāi Tahu whānau. These steps have been taken with our ultimate goal in mind: Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.

"We are grateful to our Ngāi Tahu Tourism kaimahi for their high level of engagement, professionalism, and understanding throughout this challenging time. We greatly value the contribution they have made to the organisation and to the iwi, and to have reached this outcome is truly devastating. We are continuing to do everything we can to support them through this period." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website