Meet Our Team
Wilsons Abel Tasman involves three generations of our family, assisted by a great team of dedicated professionals who love this region as much as we do.
Click on the links below to meet our team of Guides, Drivers, Launch Hosts, Lodge Hosts and Admin. Read the stories that brought each one of them to work with us.
A 'real' local, our Operations Manager's great-great grandfather arrived in Nelson in 1842. Shay has been working with us since 2000, starting as a Kayak Guide, and diversifying with Skipper's qualifications in 2009. His list of credentials includes Outdoor Recreation and Management, commercial Skipper and qualified Sea Kayak Instructor. Despite his responsibilities, he hasn't lost his sense of fun. When he's called in to be a Kayak Guide, he still gets rave reviews.
Our Head Guide, Sam's ancestors arrived in Nelson in 1865, so he brings a wealth of local knowledge and enthusiasm to his job. He first joined us in 2008 fresh from studying Outdoor Recreation and Advanced Leadership & Guiding at Tai Poutini Polytechnic (South Island West Coast). A qualified Ski Patroller, Sam spends his winters on the ski fields, last year as Health and Safety Officer at Rainbow Ski Area, Nelson Lakes.
One of New Zealand's most experienced guides, John can track his association with Abel Tasman National Park back to his grandfather who settled here in the late 1890's. The park is literally his back yard as 700 metres of the Coastal Track passes through his family's land. As a mountain guide on Mt Cook/Aoraki, in 1970 he was in the first expedition to climb the mountain's Caroline Face. Read the story here.
Always popular with visitors, one of John's walkers wrote a poem for him. Download the Glasgow Muse here.
Amy (AJ) Carrick
An Otago Polytech graduate, Amy was born in Dunedin where she taught sailing at her local Vauxhall Yacht Club. After helping friends sail a yacht from the Whitsundays to Cairns (Australia) she found the “perfect job” with our guiding team in 2012. During our low season, she has instructed part time for Otago Polytech, assisted on school camps and worked in reservations for Glacier Guides at Franz Josef.
Originally from Holland, Sjors is now firmly rooted in Motueka with family, house and animals. With previous experience of sailing, kayaking, cycling, walk-guiding and outdoors instructing in France, the USA, Holland and the Lakes District UK, Sjors has been with our guiding team since 2006, summer and winter. He aims to provide serious information with a fun twist, not afraid to discuss conflicting views. His favourite Abel Tasman moments? He puts a flock of dive-bombing gannets on a fish-eating feast at the top of his list, just above a pod of playful dolphins.
From Otaki on the Kapiti Coast (North Island) Tim first came to the Abel Tasman on a school camp during his last year at school. This led to a certificate in Adventure Tourism from NMIT in Nelson and he stared guiding with us in 2005. With a teaching degree from Massey University, he tried full time primary school teaching but the lure of the outdoors brought him back to full-time guiding with is in 2012.
Back in 1862, Garrick's ancestors sailed into Nelson. With this adventuring heritage, he spent 5 years in Europe and Australia, working in a variety of jobs including motorcycle courier and scuba diving guide in the Red Sea. Since 2006, he has kept himself occupied guiding for us as well as studying indigenous survival skills, sculpting and raising a family.
With a degree in Outdoor Education from Otago Polytech (2011), Paddy started with two seasons kayaking guiding in Kaikoura then set off to see the world. He has taught cultural and adventure sports for international schools in Asia, UK and Switzerland. For recreation, he challenges himself with long distance runs and bicycle tours.
A graduate in Engineering from University of Canterbury (Christchurch), after 5 years of office work Scott decided to find a way to turn his love of adventure into a job. Graduating with a Diploma in Adventure Tourism from NMIT (Nelson) in 2015, he joined our guiding team. For the 2016 summer he was kayaking guiding and coasteering in Cornwell, England.
Hooked on sea and sun, Holly grew up in the Rai Valley (Marlborough). She came to Nelson to gain her Trainee Ranger Certification at NMIT where work experience was in Abel Tasman National Park. For the 2015/16 summer season she worked for Department of Conservation in Fiordland National Park as the Milford Road Ranger. Keen to return to her home territory, she worked as a Launch Host with us in 2017/18 and joins our Guiding team this summer.
Born and raised a Kiwi Adventurer, Caleb got hooked on kayaking at just 13yrs old, and has paddled many different boats since then. He was inspired to get his Diploma in Outdoor Instruction & Recreation from the Hillary Outdoors Education Centre in 2016. That threw him into all his favourite sports such as sea and whitewater kayaking, climbing, caving, canyoning, and pretty much anything that involves a harness ropes, or water and wetsuits. Working with us since 2017, he spends the winter season chasing fun on the snow.
A New Zealander who grew up in Vanuatu, Alex studied adventure tourism management in Queenstown, and was a dive instructor aboard boats in Fiordland and Australia. She had guided on the Larapinta trail, and led trips to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Abel Tasman is one of her favourite places. Watch the video of one of her 5-Day Trips.
This spritely grandfather began his love affair with nature as a young army mountain and ski guide in Austria. Arriving in New Zealand 40 years ago as a restaurant manager, he fell in love with the country and the woman he married. Erwin has been mountaineering on all continents except Antarctica. Between climbing, kayaking, cycling, hunting and fishing expeditions he has been an airline pilot, Scuba-diving instructor and snowshoe guide, as well as studying languages and aviation psychology. Seeing his clients’ eyes light up when he helps them discover a hidden orchid makes him happy.
With a Bachelor of Arts from Otago University, Hope had a summer of rafting with the Black Water Rafting Co at Waitomo. This led her to complete the diploma in Outdoor Adventure at Whitirea Polytech.
Attending the local Motueka High School gave Morag access to the best Outdoor Education program. The Abel Tasman became her backyard. Living in Kaiteriteri she was able to explore all the beauty anytime she pleased, so working for us was an obvious choice.
Our Chief Skipper, Murray is a qualified Inshore Launch Master. Born in Nelson, his overseas travels gained him a German-born wife and working knowledge of the German language. Having paradise as an office, has kept Murray working in the Abel Tasman for 15 years.
Brought up by a keen boating family in Motueka, what does a Boat Skipper do on his days off when he's been working on our boats for 20 years in the Abel Tasman National Park? He takes his own boat into the National Park and beyond.
Born in the North Island, Adam first visited the Abel Tasman as a boy scout when he was 11 years old. He moved to Nelson with his parents 2 years later. Starting work as a Panel Beater, the lure of the outdoors led to qualifications as a Glacier, Rafting and Sea Kayak Guide at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and Whenua Iti Outdoors. Adam has been working as a Guide with us since 2005, up-skilling with a Local Launch Operator qualification in 2012. These days, he's working as a Skipper and part-time Guide.
Born and bred in Motueka, Darrin's ancestors arrived with the Wilson family's ancestors on the first British settlement fleet to Nelson in 1841. He' s been a Skipper on the Abel Tasman coast for 8 years. As a Firearms Vetting Officer he has worked for the NZ Police and is a self-employed security contractor. No wonder we feel secure when he's skippering our boats.
Originally from Gisborne, Daniel spent 13 years in the UK working in the print finishing industry. Returning home, he worked a further 13 years on the Auckland ferries. Auckland’s loss was our gain when Daniel joined our Vista Cruise hosts in 2017.
Hailing from the North Island, Katy spent 8 years working for Radio NZ as an announcer and audio engineer. Looking for a change, in 2015 she completed a Super Yacht crewing course in Warkworth, and worked as a deckhand on the Auckland ferries. Escaping the big city, Katy joins our Vista Cruise hosts his year.
On a working visa from Argentina to New Zealand in 2013, Natasha got as far as Motueka and decided to stay. A Kite Surfing instructor, she has also worked in hospitality, horticulture and building. Joining our Vista Cruise boat hosts this year, she has found a way to make a living out her love for recreational boating.
A Nelson local, Courtney returns to the region after living in Auckland for the past 4 years. She has a love for the outdoors, in particularly water sports and has worked in the water sports industry for 8 years. This summer Courtney is excited to show our guests one of her favourite parts of New Zealand
A kiwi girl with a sense of adventure, Kim has worked as a secondary school teacher, in hospitality, and in tourism both in New Zealand and Africa. With experience as camping tour leader in New Zealand and overland tour leader in Africa, she decided that working on the water was her next challenge. She joins us after graduation from the NMIT Superyacht course in August 2018.
From 1998, Mike spent 5 years guiding and driving for Queenstown rafting companies. Then, overseas travel included 4 years as a rafting guide in California. Coming home, he worked on the South Island’s West Coast until Nelson sunshine inspired him to move here in 2010. He has been driving for us since the 2017 summer.
Son of company founders, John and Lynnette Wilson, Craig helped his father build the Lodges he now manages. After guiding in the National Park, he trained with renowned chef, Ruth Pretty, in Wellington before heading for Europe. In London, he helped set up the Bar/Café Freedom, still operating on Wardour St in Soho. After 4 years at Freedom Craig spent 3 years on the road as 'chef to the stars' including Pavarotti and Paul McCartney. He also operated a restaurant at Cederman House in Riwaka before taking on Food and Beverage Management as well as being Chef at the family's Lodges. Read Craig's Chef profile published in Hospitality Magazine
As eldest son of company founders, John and Lynette Wilson, Darryl represents the 7th generation of his pioneering family's association with the Nelson region. Starting as a Guide in the National Park, Darryl completed his Marine Engineering apprenticeship in Nelson and helped his father build the family's Lodges on the Abel Tasman coast. He now concentrates on his role as CEO and Marketing Manager for the family business. Read about the family in an article published in North & South Magazine, Messing About in Boats.
Our Sales Manager studied for a degree in Tourism Marketing & Management at Lincoln University. Growing up in Hanmer Springs, working in local cafes, led to her leasing a cafe in Golden Bay, in conjunction with running a share milking partnership. After setting up the Golden Bay Information Centre for Nelson Tasman Tourism, her passion for travel saw her return to live in Switzerland, Germany & Holland. A love of the region and tourism industry drew her back to take up the position as manager of the Motueka i-SITE before we lured her away in 2004.
Wendy worked for us as a Guide and Boat Crew, back in the days before John Wilson retired as our ship's captain. After many years of travelling in New Zealand and overseas, she settled for a time in Taupo. Keen to share the outdoor opportunities offered by her home territory, she returned to Nelson with her young son in 2010. She helps keep the region informed about our range of services in the National Park.
Leeson HislopAs our Chief Financial Officer, Leeson brings a world of experience to our Motueka Office. Although he was born in Palmerston North, he is an international citizen with a B.Com and MA gained over 10 years in Australia followed by 10 years in London and Italy. He now calls Ngati Moti (Motueka Valley) home and when he's not looking after our finances, he calls himself a "No.8 Wire Specialist".
Born in England and brought up in Australia, Lucy feels well qualified to be a Kiwi. Between working as a marine biologist and scientific editor in Australia, 9 years teaching skiing in Queenstown, France and Canada, and 6 years as Press Officer for the Queenstown ski areas, she has fitted in 15 seasons as a Track Guide on the Hollyford, Milford and Abel Tasman tracks (not all at the same time!). As Media Co-ordinator and Track Guide for Wilsons Abel Tasman, watch out for her best-seller, yet to be published.
Working in Reservations for All Ways Pacific in Buckinghamshire, England, Emma was treated to a couple of industry familiarisations in New Zealand, including a trip with us into Abel Tasman National Park in 2007. During the trip, at Torrent Bay Lodge, Emma's English boyfriend, Iain, asked her to marry him. They liked the region so much, they returned to Motueka to live in November 2009 and Emma joined our Reservations Team. Emma and Iain welcomed their first baby, Phoebe, in 2011. Back to work full time in 2016, Emma is now our Reservations Team Leader.
With an arts and teaching degree from Dunedin, Gill first came to Motueka to teach at Parklands School in 1987. Deciding teaching wasn’t for her, she worked at our Torrent Bay Lodge for a season in 1988. After raising two children with her husband Darrin (now one of our Skippers) and with 6 years experience at Kiwi Bank and NZ Post she joined our Reservations Team in 2013 to make use of her diploma in business administration from NMIT (Nelson).
In 1999, Aline travelled from France to New Zealand with her husband, planning to stay for a year. After four years working in hospitality in Auckland they returned to France to start a family. With their two son’s French heritage established, in 2014 they followed their goal to return to New Zealand when Aline’s husband was offered a job as head chef at a famous Nelson vineyard. Aline looks forward to sharing her passion for her adopted home as she joins our Reservations and Guiding teams.
With a street in Nelson named after one of her ancestors, Sophie was destined to find her way to our region after tiring of Wellington corporate life. Attracted by our open spaces and welcoming people, she has decided to escape city life on a permanent basis.