Sir Richard Branson tested one of Auckland’s innovative products with a trip on a Sealegs amphibious marine craft on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour on Friday 21 October.
The internationally renowned entrepreneur took-off for a blast on the water from Takapuna Beach on Auckland’s North Shore, against the picturesque backdrop of Rangitoto Island.
Since its launch in 2004 Sealegs has become the world’s largest manufacturer of amphibious boats with over 600 craft in more than 12 countries and offices in USA and France.
Branson is in Auckland to host his first ever publicly ticketed dinner event for New Zealand’s business elite. His visit coincides with the Rugby World Cup Final between the All Blacks and France this Sunday 23 October.
'It’s great to be back in Auckland. I love coming here and can’t think of a better time to be here than during the Rugby World Cup,' said Branson.
'The people I have met here have really reaffirmed what I have always thought about New Zealand. There is a wealth of talented and unique businesses in Auckland that are thriving both domestically and on the international stage. For a small country, New Zealanders are certainly pushing the boundaries on the innovation front.'
Richard Branson test drives an amphibious Sealegs boat in Waitemata Harbour off Takapuna Beach, on October 21, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. - Getty Images Click Here to view large photo
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said the visit would inspire further innovation from Auckland businesses.
'Sir Richard clearly has an affinity with New Zealanders, sharing the same entrepreneurial spirit that Kiwis are so well-known for.'
As a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sir Richard Branson founded companies including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue, and Virgin Active, which employ over 40,000 people across 30 countries with revenues exceeding $NZ25 billion.
Sir Richard is perhaps equally as recognised for his successful world record attempts at the fastest crossings of the Atlantic Ocean, by boat and balloon, as well as his record for crossing the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle.
Auckland is a marine-based city with numerous water-based activities and what is rumoured to be the highest boat ownership per capita in the world.