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Member Mondays

15 April 2024

Welcome to Member Mondays, where every week we highlight one of our new or existing members! Read on to learn more about who some of our amazing members are.

Past Shout-outs

Star Safari

With Matariki approaching, it’s the perfect time for this Member Monday shoutout. Star Safari is a guided stargazing business run by Haritina Mogoșanu, a former NASA intern and astrobiologist, and Sam Leske, an astrophysicist and ex-Air Force pilot. Their business is based in the Wairarapa, which in 2022 became an international “Dark Sky Reserve”. “We started Star Safari because we love the stars. We are space nerds,” Hari says.

From a farm near Carterton, Star Safari has set up an observatory with 12 telescopes, offering breathtaking views of the vast night sky and Milky Way. They also hope to soon have the country’s largest public viewing telescope.

But Sam and Hari’s work doesn’t stop with their observatory.

Last summer they ran a pop-up Space Centre in Carterton through their education product, Spaceward Bound New Zealand. They would love the centre to become permanent. And next month, they plan to run a course for local businesses wanting to make the most of their Dark Sky status and join the burgeoning astro-tourism industry.

“We’ll share from our experience of starting a small business, provide them with resources and teach them about the sky and telescopes,” Hari says.

Hari and Sam’s education programme has led to them taking a school party from Mt Maunganui to NASA’s JPL base in California next month. On their return, they’ll set up their portable planetarium for the Greytown Festival of Christmas.

Wanaka River Journeys

This week’s Member Monday spotlight is being shone on Wanaka River Journeys, in Mt Aspiring National Park. Ruth Garland and Johnny Curin bought the business about a year ago, and have been carrying on the business’ great mahi taking jet boat tours and pack raft rides on the Matukituki River. Visitors receive a unique experience that includes spectacular sights, Māori culture, and a conservation message.

Ka rawe, Wanaka River Journeys!

Pounamu Pathway

This week’s Member Monday spotlight falls on the magical Pounamu Pathway on Te Tai o Poutini South Island West Coast.

The Pounamu Pathway is an immersive storytelling experience that tells the coast’s history and legends, with a particular focus on the pounamu trade. Created in partnership with Wēta Workshop, the pathway includes four “experience centres” and an app that guides visitors to places of significance. Two centres are already open in Māwhera Greymouth and Kawatiri Westport and two more, in Awarua Haast and Hokitika, are due to open in 2025.

Ka rawe, Pounamu Pathway!

Bush and Beach

In operation for over 35 years, Bush and Beach have been owned by brother and sister team Ben Thornton and Penny Mitchell since 2013. The company’s selection of tours extends beyond Auckland to Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves, and the Bay of Islands. In 2016 it was the inaugural winner of the New Zealand Tourism Export Council’s Small Business Operator of the Year award. Bush and Beach believes in regenerative tourism and a percentage of all its bookings are reinvested in the environment. So far the company has planted 3100 trees. Ka rawe!

Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

Ngā Manu is a non-profit native wildlife reserve that has been operating at Waikanae since 1974. Open to the public since 1981, the 14-hectare reserve offers ranger experiences, Kiwi night encounters, photography tours and native bird tours. It’s home to a mosaic of habitats for eels, ducks and native birds, and includes the largest remnant of lowland swamp forest on the Kāpiti Coast. The facilities include walk-through aviaries, reptile enclosures and a nocturnal house for kiwi, as well as a function venue and guest cottage.
Ka rawe Ngā Manu!

Haka House Hostels

Haka House Hostels is a chain of design-driven hostels across the country. With a variety of rooms, guests range from backpackers to free-spirited travellers of all ages. Haka has 13 locations including lakefront properties in Tekapo and Queenstown and a scenic new hostel due to open in Wānaka this winter. A feature of each hostel is the Māori art work, which tells traditional stories of the region. If you're at TRENZ next month, be sure to catch up with Haka House Hostels. Ka rawe!

Air Safaris

Today the spotlight's on Air Safaris, a scenic flight company in the central South Island. Air Safaris was founded in the 70s and is run by three generations of the Rayward family. Based in Lake Tekapo and Franz Josef, the company offers a range of flights over the magnificent Southern Alps and Glacier regions, including a 50m "Grand Traverse" flight over all the key glaciers. The company also does inter-airport flights for tour buses on request and helicopter flights. Ka rawe!

Kiwi Journeys

Kiwi Journeys offers cycle services for six of the country’s Great Rides and operates the Mapua Ferry near Nelson. With depots in Nelson, Mapua, Kaiteriteri and Hokitika, the company most recently branched into Central Otago, a move driven entirely by customer demand. Its new Cromwell office has added the Otago Central Rail Trail, Roxburgh Gorge, Clutha Gold and Lake Dunstan trails to the company’s portfolio. Bringing more money into the regions is a key part of Kiwi Journey’s business ethos and wherever possible, the team works with accommodation providers and other operators.

Ka rawe Kiwi Journeys!

Art Deco Trust

For over 30 years the Art Deco Trust has been working to preserve Napier’s Art Deco heritage. It hosts the wildly popular Arts Deco festival in February which returned last month for the first time in four years, following Covid closures and Cyclone Gabrielle.

The trust also runs guided walks, vintage car tours and runs a centre for learning about the massive 1931 earthquake which gave rise to Napier’s world-class architectural style.

Ka rawe, Art Deco Trust!

Luxury Adventures

Mondays are for members, and today we're giving a shoutout to Luxury Adventures!

Luxury Adventures has been setting the standard since 1999, now owned by travel lovers Dee and Steve McKean.

From self-drive expeditions to family fun, wine and food escapades to adventurous getaways, Luxury Adventures specializes in crafting tailor-made itineraries that cater to every wanderlust-filled heart. Based in the vibrant city of Auckland, New Zealand, they're passionate about curating unforgettable journeys across the globe.

But it's not just about luxury – Luxury Adventures is committed to sustainability too! As proud members of the Tourism Sustainability Commitment, they're dedicated to preserving the beauty of our planet while creating unforgettable memories for their clients.

So, whether you're dreaming of exploring the stunning landscapes of New Zealand or lounging on the pristine beaches of Fiji, Tahiti, or the Cook Islands, Luxury Adventures has got you covered.


CamperMate began in 2006 when travel lover Adam Hutchinson wanted to help other travelers fill up their itineraries and know about valuable resources while they travel. Today, the CamperMate app hosts 50,000 users every single day! The app provides an all-in-one space for travelers to book activities, attractions, and accommodation wherever they are headed. CamperMate are strong supporters of the tourism industry and work with RTOs and local councils to advertise on their app and share important data to strengthen the industry as a whole.

Ka rawe CamperMate!

Ocean Spa Napier

Kicking things off is Ocean Spa Napier, which joined us a few months ago. Ocean Spa is a facility on the Napier waterfront featuring a gym, cafe, and a series of open-air heated pools and spas looking out to sea. Opened in 2003, it’s become one of Napier’s most popular attractions. The current pools reopened on a site which was used as a hot saltwater pool from 1908.

Active Adventures

This week it’s Active Adventures, based in Queenstown. As the name suggests, the company offers small group tours for those who like to hike, bike, paddle or climb on their vacations.

Over time the company has expanded to a staff of 140 (including guides) and a range of destinations including South America, Africa, Europe, North America and the Himalayas. Most of its clientele are aged 50-plus but during the pandemic, Active Adventures pivoted by buying a like-minded US company called Austin Adventures, which offers similar tours in America for families and older travellers.

Pic's Peanut Butter

Nelson-based member Pic’s Peanut Butter is well known but did you know they also run a tourism operation? A finalist in the tourism environment category of the 2023 New Zealand Tourism Awards, Pic’s promotes sustainable tourism practices, sources ethical materials, composts, uses solar energy and efficient waste management systems. Pic’s also supports a local wildlife sanctuary and pest control, pays the living wage and donates product to the community and sponsors community groups. Judges said Pic’s was an active champion of environmental standards, calling it “an impressive operation and a great example for smaller businesses.” Ka rawe, Pic’s!

Wildernest Glamping

Based in Helensville, Wildernest has since 2011 been providing luxury camping experiences for festivals, weddings and lodges in cool locations all over the country. We’re talking spa pools, ensuites and on occasion, personal chefs. “We’ve helicoptered all sorts of things into places where you can’t even get a car, to create a one-off experience for people,” says co-founder Anita Rogers. The company does everything from corporate incentives and team building experiences, to creating tailored escapes. Ka rawe, Wildernest.

Driving Creek

Billed as New Zealand's only mountain railway, Driving Creek was the home of famed Coromandel potter, conservationist and engineer Barry Brickell. Barry originally built the 15-inch gauge rail line to carry materials up to his steep hillside studio, but the line kept expanding, and now takes passengers on a tour of lush native forest, tunnels and bridges up to an expansive view of the Hauraki Gulf. Visitors can also take a zipline from halfway up the track, or even pottery classes at the still working studio. Though Barry has passed away (buried on his beloved land), the attraction continues under a trust which restores and protects the area's environment. Ka pai, Driving Creek!


Roady was founded by Roscoe Price Moor who noticed a few years ago how difficult it was to plan a road trip. While he could take inspiration from photos on Instagram, he couldn’t find a platform to easily access supporting information and create itineraries. So he started sharing the information himself. After gathering 300,000 followers on social media, Roady the app was born. Roady now also helps users book experiences, campervans and other services. And it has a counter for every native tree planted by a customer.

Ka pai, Roady!

Green Jersey Explorer Tours

Based in the picturesque Wairarapa town of Martinborough, Green Jersey Explorer Tours provides cycle for those who want to safely sample the town’s wineries. The business also provides shuttle services for walkers, riders and events, and tours which show off the region’s most spectacular sights. These include the Remutaka Cycle Track, Cross Creek to Featherston and the new Featherston to Greytown cycle link along New Zealand’s longest suspension bridge. Ka pai, Green Jersey!


MajorDomo are luxury accommodation specialists with over 180 amazing properties for rent around the motu. The company was founded in 2013. The team gets to know who their guests are and what they want to get out of their trip, and provide services like private chefs or a personal concierge! Along with this, MajorDomo also offer to plan your holiday and can provide an itinerary of great things to explore on your stay.
Ka rawe, MajorDomo!

Hop On Hop Off Wine Tours

Juliearna Kavanagh wanted to create a wine tour where people made their own choices. An executive chef and wine connoisseur, she created an automated map of Marlborough cellar doors in 2013 and a year later Hop On Hop Off Wine Tours was launched. Today the company offers customers in Marlborough, Nelson, Bannockburn and Queenstown the ability to travel at their own pace between regular scheduled stops at wineries, heritage sites and other points of interest, or private tours.
Ka rawe, Hop On Hop Off!

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners