Franz Josef Glacier – Notes on Sauntering around the South Island Startup Ecosystem

Franz Josef Glacier

It’s a hefty run from Nelson to Franz Josef Glacier.

I’m a “Westie” from the north, wild and forlorn is my thing. With techno beats so loud the windshield was thumping as hard as the west coast waves, certain speed limits may (or not) have been closely observed.

White knuckle elemental was the theme.

Until I noticed the only other car I’d seen was an hour ago. Heading the other direction.

There’s no telephone signal, the cloud is low, the rain heavy and the fuel gauge started taking up a lot of my attention. I didn’t know where I was going to stay. I didn’t even know if there was anywhere to stay.

The West Coast dark started closing in. Should I go on? Should I go back? Back where? Do I have enough fuel? Who lives out here? Would they mind a knock on the door?

Alpine Escape

Brad MacLachlan and Hayley Rendel’s Alpine Escape, beautiful self contained airbnb units, set amongst horse paddocks and facing the Southern Alps. A total relief in the dark, warm, private and cozy. Easy wheelchair access and all the modern conveniences.

The hosts are lovely. Even better Brad is an intrepid Kiwi inventor with a classic entrepreneurial spirit. A six foot four ex-alpine helicopter pilot.

He’s spent the last couple of years and a lot of money, developing a new door closure mechanism for a popular helicopter model. This model is known to have issues with its original door locks. He’s completed the prototyping and is into the regulatory testing phase.

We had a discussion around commercialisation. The helicopter model is used throughout New Zealand and the locking mechanism has to be replaced due to normal wear and tear every few years.

His solution is cheaper, provides a safer, fully visible confirmation of locking (the OEM system doesn’t) and installation takes the same or less time as the original.

Brad is confined to a wheelchair due to a flying accident but that hasn’t stopped him from doing anything. If anyone in the aero-tech or parts distribution community is interested in checking out this solution his contact details are below.

 Coast Aviation

Alpine Escape Lodgings 6 Ferguson Place , Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.

Next up… The Lake Districts