Alister Lister, flying a Hughes 369E helicopter, does some
aerial spraying work near Milton recently. Photo by Stephen
After 10 years flying fixed-wing aircraft doing
agricultural work, Alister Lister could see the industry was
Mr Lister, who now owns Lister Helicopters Ltd with his wife,
Nadine, believed there were more opportunities ''down the
track'' with helicopters.
While launching their own business was a ''huge step'', the
couple enjoyed running their own operation from their Milton
''I love flying; it's a brilliant industry to be involved
in,'' he said.
From a rural background in South Otago, Mr Lister worked on
farms after leaving school and served an apprenticeship as a
fitter and turner in Dunedin.
He later worked as maintenance foreman at the Macraes gold
mine, which paid for his flying licence and a deposit for
Lister Helicopters specialises in agricultural work and does
everything associated with the rural sector, including
lifting, firefighting, fire-lighting and mustering, along
with spraying and spreading.
The company's work is mostly in coastal Otago, West and South
Otago, Clinton and the Catlins.
Mrs Lister looks after the administration work, while the
business also employs one full-time ground crew and several
Mr Lister flies a Hughes 369E and said he enjoyed the
versatility of helicopters,
which afforded ''a lot more strings to your bow''. He takes
pride in his work and enjoys seeing the results.
Coming from a farming background gave him an empathy with his
clients, he said.
''We understand when a guy's got aphids chewing his crop,
it's critical for him to see some action within a few days,''
Mr Lister said.
A strength of the business was the personal connections with
clients that being an owner-operator afforded, he said.
He was not in any hurry for the business to get bigger,
saying two machines would probably be ideal.
The dry weather was putting stress on crops and aphids had
had a ''bit of an explosion'', so he expected to be busy with
spraying work for the next few weeks until the weather
started to cool off, he said.