Voucher hitch grounds birthday flight

UNHAPPY OUTCOME: Renee Norrell, pictured with husband Justin Norrell, and Mackenzie, 3, bought a flight voucher one week before an adventure tourism company went bust. The voucher was to be a 40th birthday gift for her husband.
UNHAPPY OUTCOME: Renee Norrell, pictured with husband Justin Norrell, and Mackenzie, 3, bought a flight voucher one week before an adventure tourism company went bust. The voucher was to be a 40th birthday gift for her husband.

A Rolleston man's dream to take to the skies has been dashed by the liquidation of an adventure tourism company.

On January 12, Renee Norrell, 35, spent $120 on a flight lesson for husband Justin's 40th birthday.

Five days later, Total Experience, an Auckland company that provides vouchers for adventure tourism experiences, went into liquidation, with $250,000 worth of vouchers unlikely to be redeemable.

Renee Norrell was angry that the company sold her the voucher.

"They would have known they were in financial trouble when I bought it, but they were still selling vouchers," she said.

"There's nothing I can do. I just have to wait. He was really excited.

"I thought it would make the perfect 40th birthday present. You want to get him something he'll remember, but now it's no good."

Last Friday, she received a letter from the liquidator telling her she might receive money in nine to 12 months after "preferential creditors" were paid.

Justin Norrell, who celebrated his 40th birthday on the day Total Experience went into liquidation, said he was disappointed at the loss of his gift.

"It was going to be good; something quite different. It's better than a pair of socks and undies," he said.

He was so keen to take the lesson he might pay out of his own pocket.

"We might just have to put the money together ourselves," he said. "Renee doesn't want me to spend my own money on it, but I was quite looking forward to it, so I might have to do it myself."

Total Experience is owned by British-based couple Adrian and Janice Dewey. The company acted as a link between its customers and adventure sport operators.

Liquidator Paul Sargison says the company has no funds to pay the $250,000 debt to voucher-holders.

The Press