Melanie Heather’s love for the outdoors began on the west coast of Ireland. She learnt to rock climb, navigate, hike, and above all, enjoy the environment. She emigrated to New Zealand in 2006 and fell in love with the country! Mel loves the trill, adventure and technical aspects associated with XC flying and hike and fly trips. She sees Otago as an immense playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
Shortly after Mel and Mark started dating, they took on what most couples would consider a challenge! Mark taught Mel to paraglide! Surprisingly enough, it worked. Mark’s calm, professional, understanding, patient and compassionate nature helped absorb her mini tantrums!
Melanie works as an Environmental Officer for the Regional Council. She really enjoys saving the world and serving the community! She is often helping Paraventures. If she isn’t flying, driving or assisting pilots, she’ll be taking photographs and instagramming. She’s hooked on the ‘airy fairy’ side of the business, but also loves helping with Intro Days and XC courses. Seeing the beaming smile on a pilots face after completing their first XC is infectious!
Between 2010 and 2012, Melanie served as a Secretary and Advocacy Officer for the Queenstown Climbing Club. During this time she edited the Queenstown Rock, Ice and Mountains guidebook. She is the currently the Secretary for the Southern Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club and enjoys the role’s challenges. Melanie assisted Mark in organising the Kiwi Open 2016.
Mel rates herself as an “OK” pilot! She’s better than that though – she won the Australian State of Origin novice competition in 2013, much to her surprise became the NZ Women’s Champion in 2014 and has also won the Leo Geary award for ‘up and coming’ pilots. Melanie recently finishing second placed female in the Rat Race Sprint competition in the US.
Photo: Melanie Heather flying from the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown.