Mary takes the plunge at 91

Mary Manssen, of Auckland,  becomes the oldest  woman to jump with AJ Hackett Bungy at its...
Mary Manssen, of Auckland, becomes the oldest woman to jump with AJ Hackett Bungy at its Kawarau site, near Queenstown. Photos by AJ Hackett Bungy.

Meet Mary Manssen, quite possibly New Zealand's answer to Supergran.

The 91 year old great great grandmother soared off the historic Kawarau bridge to become the oldest woman to bungy jump at AJ Hackett's Kawarau Bungy, the second time she had thrown herself off the bridge.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times from her Pukekohe home, Mrs Manssen said she regularly travelled to Queenstown with New Plymouth coach company Dalroy Tours.

Before her most recent South Island tour she wrote to AJ Hackett Bungy, inquiring about the age of the oldest person to have jumped with them.

''They didn't answer me, so I thought `Bugger them, I'm going to do it'.''

After seeking medical clearance, Mrs Manssen, a ''little dot'' measuring just over 148cm, lined up at the bungy site on April 23 and caused quite the stir.

''When I got out [on the jumping platform], you should have heard the roar of the people. It was just marvellous.

''I was determined I was going to do it, and I did it.''

The self described ''daredevil'' first bungy jumped in April 2008, at the age of 84.

''My husband wouldn't let me do it before that [so] since he died I've done everything - I've been naughty.''

Among her other adventures had been a helicopter trip landing in the snow, but a shoulder injury several years ago had ruled out skydiving.

She had hoped to also go parasailing in Queenstown, but ended up using her St John skills to look after a fellow traveller who was unwell.

Mrs Manssen, who has seven children, 18 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren, one great great grandchild and another due next month, said she was yet to tell her family about her most recent adventure.

''I haven't told my children in Australia yet ... I'll ring one son tonight.

''My daughter ... she's 72 on the first of May. I'll be ringing her for her birthday then I'll tell her what her mother's done - I won't be growled at then.''

And while she was undecided about whether or not she would go for the title of oldest jumper at the Kawarau site - an honour held by a Southland man who jumped at age 94 more than five years ago - the company said it would welcome her back.

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand sales and marketing manager Mike Voyce said the team was ''delighted'' to have Mrs Manssen visit last week.

''Her bungy was one of the most inspiring jumps we've seen in a long time and we look forward to her next visit.''

Add a Comment