20 years. How time seems to flow on. So many names, and times, and adventures. But it started by chance, as many things do. Chance, and a willingness to have a go.
When Ben acquired his first two rafts things were different. Tourism New Zealand was finding its feet, the All Blacks would wait another 14 years to lift the world cup again and those of true adventurist spirit had just started flinging themselves off bridges, attached by their feet, to a long length of rubber band.
We come from a country where having a go is worth a lot and in this instance, we’re glad we did. From these two rafts and no employees in 1997 to a company employing up to 10 staff and running up to 15 rafts at a time, tourism has come and we are here to help it grow. Bens a word man, and it is this that built, and grew, his small family business. Words mean a lot when looking and booking a family adventure for a week. People need to feel trust, and comfort, that the product they are about to purchase is what they want, and what they believe it to be.
Using basically no advertising for the first 12 years of business created an interesting flow on effect. Word and mouth. Why not just supply a product that people truly enjoy, with experiences that make a difference and adventures that last in the memory? So, we did. And it worked.
People came and went, they chatted at parties and social events and the next year we’d have another crew turn up, who through the advice of close friends just had to come and experience the Clarence River Rafting experience for themselves.
Times have changed. Websites need to be kept up to date and Facebooks need to be linked to smartphones, but we still believe in the basics. Money is secondary behind enjoyment; if we don’t enjoy what we do, why are we doing it? Adventure in nature, look after Papatūānuku (the earth), ask Ranginui (the sky) for rain when we need it and sun when we want it. Leave no trace and bloody well get out there and smile a lot.
Enjoy the Experience. Jordan and the Clarence River Rafting team.