12 Nov 2008

Bungy celebrates 20-year thrilling milestone

8:55 am on 12 November 2008

It is 20 years since commercial bungy jumping began in New Zealand.

From humble beginnings on the Kawarau River near Queenstown, the phenomenon has swept the world with millions taking the plunge.

On Wednesday, the men responsible, AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch, are celebrating the milestone where it all began with a birthday party for everyone who helped make it happen.

Mr Hackett has flown from his home in the south of France to be with Mr van Asch and both men cannot believe it is two decades since it all began.

Bungy jumping is a New Zealand tourism success story, contributing to more than $1 billion in New Zealand's foreign exchange.

The AJ Hackett brand is a household name, but Mr Hackett says when he and Mr van Asch first set up in a rusty caravan they had no idea of the success that would follow.

Mr Hackett says the fundamentals of bungy - the rational conquering of human fear - has never changed and millions worldwide have taken up the challenge.