History Rapids Jet Taupo

The Jet Boat was originally designed by New Zealander Bill Hamilton in 1953 for operation in the fast flowing and shallow waters of New Zealand. The jet boat has developed into a Kiwi icon, and is a must do activity on your New Zealand holiday.

From its creation in 1953, up until 1993 the thrill of jet boating the Nga Awa Purua Rapids was enjoyed only by a few very skilled jet boat owners and their lucky passengers.
In 1993 Vance Crozier proved to the authorities that the public could safely travel the Nga Awa Purua Rapids with the modern boats & equipment he had available.

With the authorities satisfied with the vigorous river safety guidelines drafted for this section of river, the speed restriction was up lifted so that commercial jet boat tours through the rapids could begin.
With years of boating expertise, Vance and wife Mandy took the plunge and Rapids Jet was open for business.

In 1997 Vance built our visitor center, with observation deck, on the Department of Conservation, Aratiatia Scenic Reserve. This facility overlooks the tranquil Waikato river, and is the gateway to this white water wonderland for jet boaters and Kayakers alike.

2004: Rapids Jet is now owned and operated by three Kiwis, Russell Poppe (Rusty), James Tazewell (Jimmy) and Garry Stephen (Gazza). As well as being the owners, we are also your drivers, with thousands of hours experience driving jet boats both in New Zealand and overseas.


Our jet boating operation is subject to annual audits by Maritime New Zealand to maintain the highest Safety Standards.
We are members of the Commercial Jet Boat Association of NZ, & also The Tourism Industry Association of NZ. We are also a Qualmark Visitor Endorsed Activity.
So you can be sure that you are in safe hands. We take your safety very seriously. Rapids Jet is accepted as New Zealand’s top white water Jet Boat tour, if not in the world.

Since 1993 Rapids Jet has safely carried more than 200,000 people through the rapids. Rapids Jet operates under a strict Safe Operational Plan as set out by Maritime New Zealand.

Safety first – We Own it. We Drive it. We Care