Raising money to raise the dead is the aim of a trio of Australians intent on building a New Zealand-based zombie tourism company.
Apocalypse Events Ltd was founded in February, and is gearing up to stage its first zombie apocalypse somewhere in Auckland in the coming months, with paying customers taking up roles as either the last remnants of humanity fighting for their survival, or one of the blood-thirsty horde trying to gorge on them.
Even better, those portraying uninfected survivors get to make their own zombie movies if they choose to sport headcams throughout their battle for survival.
But the zombie tourism venture – which will operate under the Waking Dead brand – needs capital, and Apocalypse Events co-founder Ross Gibson, a former Australian infantry soldier, is seeking angel investment in a bid to grow the venture he created with brother Ethan and friend Jasmine Nikolic, also both Australians.
There are two main reasons that the Australians are to stage their first apocalypse in Auckland, one flattering for this country, the other a point of pure business pragmatism.
“The inspiration for Apocalypse Events came while holidaying in New Zealand,” Gibson said.
“After seeing the hunger that Kiwis have for adventure we felt it was a place that we could really add something fresh and exciting.”
He said: “I supposed the idea has always been there. It has existed ever since the first time my mates and I had a conversation about ‘what would you do if the zombie apocalypse actually happened?’ A conversation that I now know is universal.”
“It just took me and my girlfriend visiting New Zealand to realise that the apocalypse is possible.”
The pragmatic reason is that the Airsoft guns to be used by event participants are banned in Australia, but not in New Zealand.
When that changes, Apocalypse Events will go trans-Tasman.
Gibson said: “We’d also love to be able to bring the event to Australia somehow . . . but it’s a little way down the road.”
Each of the three bring different skills. Gibson is the weapons expert, Nikolic the marketer, and Gibson’s brother the actor, and biggest zombie enthusiast of the three.
“Our ambitions for Waking Dead is for it to be the premier zombie survival experience in the world,” Gibson said.
“We want people from all over to visit New Zealand to experience their own taste of the apocalypse. To test their own skills, to make their own choices in a story that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“Just as importantly we want the local population to be proud of the event. The success garnered in New Zealand will also dictate where the event will go. We’ve tossed up the idea of making it transferable; we’d love to be able to move it across New Zealand, to different places and thus create different stories.
“At this stage, we are searching for an investor/investors who have a passion and interest for the entertainment industry. We are looking for those interested in both the long haul and angel investors, with the goal of reaching $200,000 for start-up. We have an information for investors sheet for any interested parties.”
And he believes there is scope for significant growth. “Once Waking Dead has been established, there will be room for expansion to other major cities.”