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Meet Your Team!

Meet Your Team!

OUR MOTTO: TRAVEL IS BETTER WHEN IT IS CUSTOMIZED. IT'S MORE PERSONAL, MORE REWARDING AND MORE FUN!

We’ll plan your trip around your specific interests, tastes and preferences, providing helpful tips and honest advice based on first-hand knowledge of the destination. Our goal is to create a creative and inspired itinerary for each individual or group.

Our team goes the extra mile to make sure that we really understand you and your expectations, connecting you with the real New Zealand.

We start by gaining understanding by talking to you and really listening to what you have to say. The process is fully collaborative so we can ascertain what you like and don’t like, the type of accommodation you require, any specific areas you want to visit or attractions that are a ‘must see’  on your holiday.

Our team understands firsthand the geography, pace, and objectives of our travellers when creating a tour plan. We sit down and start from scratch, working out an itinerary within the budget and time frame that you have set.

Our Company is built upon the happiness and well-being of ‘Our People’. We greatly Value and Care for our employees, customers, business partners and community. We nurture and encourage a supportive, collaborative work environment.

We strive to maintain the highest standards of courtesy, respect and professionalism. We believe in open, honest communication and delivering on our promises.

Aroha’s guides aren’t just drivers. They are cultured, educated experts who are on hand to provide their advice and expertise and ensure that the people in their care are looked after and have the best holiday possible. They act as both private concierge and personal guide, invested in crafting memorable experiences and showing guests the true New Zealand through authentic experiences. They excel at unobtrusive, intuitive service – quick to jump in when needed, they also know when to slow down and step back and give guests time and space to themselves to relax, take a deep breath, and really soak up their surroundings.

Our guides are trained in first aid and hold Passenger Endorsement licences. They are also having a permit to operate guiding activities on Public Conservation Land.

All guides are a member of Pro-guides Association and have a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand. They currently work full or part-time as a Guide for Aroha NZ Tours and have work experience in New Zealand of no less than TWO seasons of guiding. 

Aroha New Zealand tours Ltd operating since 26th of October 2000. (HN 1096350)

Director - Owner

VERONIKA VERMEULEN
VERONIKA VERMEULEN
German & English Speaking, Manager, Travel Planner
South Waikato/North Island
Aroha Luxury New Zealand Tours is owned and operated by Veronika Vermeulen, the person you can expect to greet you upon arrival in this country. Whether in the company of Veronika or one of her hand-selected guides you will feel personally assured you are in the best hands this country has to offer. This European-born "Kiwi" has earned her tour business an exceptional reputation as a leader in NZ's tourism trade, both here and abroad.

Office Support - Administration

SARAH WILSHER
SARAH WILSHER
English Speaker, Administration & Travel Planner
Wanaka/South Island
Originally from the UK, I moved to New Zealand after seeing the stunning scenery in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I came for a 3 week holiday and then ended up making a move permanently 6 months later. I have now called this beautiful country home for over 10 years. I have a degree in Business and Tourism and a background in administration and project management, working in both the public and private sectors. I have travelled extensively around NZ and now called Wanaka home, where I live with my partner and 2 young children.
MARIANA WAGNER
MARIANA WAGNER
Afrikaans-English Speaker, Co-ordinator & Administration &Travel Planner
Christchurch/South Island
Mariana was born on a desert farm in Namibia, so she never complains about the rain. "I love the beautiful pure nature and most of all the rain in New Zealand as I know how precious water is." By running her own business in Namibia for more than 15 years, she has all the experience to support the team behind the scenes - organising all the logistics and giving support to Veronika. "It puts a smile on my face knowing I am contributing to visitors enjoying their holiday.”

Our Personal Guides

JURGEN WAGNER
JURGEN WAGNER
German-French-Spanish-Portuguese-English Speaker, Horticulturist & World Traveller
Christchurch/South Island
Born in Trier, Germany's oldest city, Jurgen has a passion for history. He enjoyed working with international visitors in his grandparent's B&B on the famous Mosel River from early childhood. He had his first job as a tour guide in Jerusalem, Israel, where he worked as a volunteer with the German Peace Corps. After guiding for twenty years in all continents, Jurgen gained an international diploma in tourism and worked as destination manager for leading German tour operators. "I fell in love with New Zealand on my first visit in 1989 - I have travelled and walked extensively exploring the awesome sights this country has to offer. My passion is to share all I have experienced by guiding small groups. Aroha Tours is a great company “to get off the beaten track” - we offer a backstage pass to this beautiful country with all possible comfort to make your holiday unforgettable." Jurgen lives in Christchurch when not on the road. He is currently studying horticulture and also works as a Nature Guide at the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch. Apart from English and German, he is fluent in French and Spanish and has basic Hebrew knowledge. "On all our trips (3), Jurgen was our guide. He did an awesome job! To say his knowledge of the country is extensive is actually an understatement. But, most of all, his friendliness and humor make him a perfect companion for such a tour",
STEVE POPPERWELL
STEVE POPPERWELL
English Speaker, Classic Musician & Luxury B&B Owner
Wanaka/South Island
Steve had a long career as a musician in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, but some years ago, he moved to Wanaka in the beautiful mountains of the South Island. He has driven and guided several companies but now devotes his time to Aroha Luxury Tours and travels all over the country throughout the year. Steve has travelled to many parts of the world and driven extensively all through Europe on countless occasions, but New Zealand is his passion, and he loves to show it to visitors and share his knowledge and stories. He says....." I can't think of a better way to spend a day than with good company and watching beautiful New Zealand passing by!" "We also want Steve to take us on any trips we go on in the future. We can’t imagine a holiday without him helping and organising every tiny detail with us. We can’t imagine life without him. He has made it so relaxing and perfect for us.”
ZUZANA VANIK
ZUZANA VANIK
Russian-Slovak-English Speaker - Guide & Wellness Instructor
Wanaka/South Island
“Zuzana was born and bred in Slovakia before she acquired a taste for adventure, that’s taken her to many countries around the World. Her background is in Education, Public Service, the Economic & Tourism Sector, and snowsports. Today she finds her fulfillment in teaching yoga and showcasing the exquisite panorama of New Zealand. Her focus is on encouraging people to “center” and to be in the “present moment” through the regular practice of yoga & meditation throughout a trip. Allowing each person to put themselves first and pursue a vacation that promotes health and wellbeing, that leaves everyone refreshed and rejuvenated at its end." "It was amazing to have a guide and yogi, who encouraged us through extreme adventures, then calmed and centered us through just the right kind of yoga for each day of our journey! Thank you, Zuzana."
MEGHAN MALONEY
MEGHAN MALONEY
English Speaker, Influencer & Award-Winning Photographer
Cambridge/North Island
After many years working as a corporate Accountant, Meghan realised her real passion lay in exploring New Zealand and bringing it to life for others through her photography and adventures. She is head over heels in love with New Zealand. She is passionate about visitors having a truly authentic experience, whether that’s finding an incredible sense of awe in our amazing landscapes or enjoying the activities and cultural experiences that make our country so unique. Despite travelling extensively overseas, she remains convinced that New Zealand is the best country in the world. As an award-nominated landscape photographer, she helps travellers to create their own beautiful photographic memories of their time here. In her words….“I’m happiest when I’m on the road exploring and sharing my love of Aotearoa, and it’s my greatest privilege to see my guests falling in love with New Zealand more every day.
TIM DE JONG
TIM DE JONG
English Speaking, International Guide & Manager Adventure Tourism
Opotiki/North Island
Tim has been working in New Zealand tourism for over 25 years, including operating his own Mountain Bike Tour company, travelling the country as a tour guide with groups from all over the world, and managing a leading New Zealand Adventure Tourism business. Originally from Christchurch, he has a deep love and extensive knowledge of the magnificent South Island but has recently moved back to the small coastal village of Opotiki in the North Island, attracted by the warmer climate and being closer to his grandchildren. Tim is a traveller at heart, and five years ago, he gave up his main office–based tourism management role to go back on the road as a tour guide. In his words: “I am a gypsy at heart and love travelling, what better way to do this than as a guide, introducing guests to my home! I learn so much from my travellers as they explore Aotearoa (New Zealand) and love discovering my country through their eyes.”
CRAIG WRIGHTSON
CRAIG WRIGHTSON
English Speaker, Professional Chauffeur & Personal Tour Guide
Wellington/North Island
New Zealand-born Craig loves the great outdoors and all the natural beauty New Zealand has to offer. Having been a tour guide and professional chauffeur in the tourism industry for over seven years, he knows how to get the most out of your New Zealand visit. His friendly and relaxed manner makes him a great tour guide, and being a local, he has an in-depth knowledge of New Zealand culture, history, society, geography, flora, and fauna. He shares this engagingly and entertainingly, making your experience an interactive and memorable one with a dash of Kiwi-style humor. In addition, Craig is a highly meticulous and personable guide! As someone who clearly loves his country, he had been a wonderful host who passionately introduced us to his beautiful native island.
KENI M HU
KENI M HU
English, Mandarin, Taiwanese Speaker, Guide & Amateur Dramatic Tenor
Auckland/North Island
Keni is a fourth generation Taiwanese born, New Zealand raised kiwi, he landed in Aotearoa with his family in the summer of 89’. Keni majored in business and marketing and has almost 20 years of career experience in many Asia Pacific countries as a senior executive and corporate consultant. He has a unique talent in water technology and has created his own Nano Electro-negative Hydrogen Water known as “Alqua” (Alpha Living Aqua) which is uncompromising in its quality. Growing up in New Zealand has made him an adventurer, practitioner, and explorer. He is ridiculously Epicurious and has a great loud voice, he loves music and he enjoys singing in his leisure time. Keni’s outgoing character makes him fun to be around with and his pursuit of exceptional quality and service standards which make him perfectly placed with Veronika and Aroha Tours.
DENNIS SIU
DENNIS SIU
Mandarin-English Speaker, Guide & ADS Accreditation with Tourism NZ
Auckland/North Island
Dennis has been a private tour guide in New Zealand for many years, originally hailing from Hong Kong, with an engineering background and experience in the computer industry before migrating to our shores. Discovering a deep love of NZ's beautiful outdoors, he became fascinated with our landscapes, and in addition to exploring, he completed university education in enology and viticulture. He is a member of many aero, golf, and yacht clubs, but his passion is in New Zealand's wonderful food and wine. Dennis's passion for the authentic kiwi experience makes him the perfect guide for your New Zealand adventure.

Our Partners

Sandro Thiara Mota
Sandro Thiara Mota
Portuguese, English , Spanish and French Speaker, Human Enhancement Coach at Sandro Mota
Waiheke Island/Auckland
Sandro is a professional athlete, crowned top 5 at Mr. Universe in Brazil 2017, and has been involved in the wellness industry for over 20 years. He is passionate about changing other people’s lives. Sandro specialises in restorative breathwork, for Elite Athletes, Entrepreneurs, and anyone, young or old, experiencing any type of Trauma in their lives. Allow yourself to dive deep and discover a version of yourself you never knew existed. Experience the benefits and application of a full, deep, connected being. Sandro is an award-winning wellness coach with over 16 professional qualifications, crowned top 5 Mr Universe, professional physique athlete in 2017. He is the creator of Sandro-mota breathwork, and has helped thousands of clients throughout his career.
Chris Brennan
Chris Brennan
English Speaker, Fly fishing guide at Chris Brennan Fly Fishing
Taupō/North Island
Chris Brennan was born and bred in the Taupo region of New Zealand's North Island. His knowledge of local fly fishing waters and hunting areas is unparalleled. Chris has been guiding full time since the age of 17 and has forged relationships with large property owners in the area and has access to vast tracts of private land for your enjoyment. It's Chris’ philosophy that people make the experience, with Chris you get someone with a genuinely recognised reputation as a fishing and hunting guru. You also get a young man with a genuine passion, humility, and desire to provide the ultimate experience for his guests.
Ross Barnes
Ross Barnes
English Speaker, Owner and Cave guide at Caveworld, Ex. Dept. of Conservation
Waikato/North Island
Ross is an affable person who enjoys the interaction with people of all cultures. He is committed to ensuring guests experience an authentic taste of New Zealand. His rich knowledge of New Zealand has been garnered over 40 years Guiding. Ross was born and raised on a Sheep and Beef farm in the foothills of the Southern Alps. In 1970 He discovered his passion as he was employed as a guide at the Waitomo Caves. While guiding he also worked at the Waitomo hotel. He left the caves to help a friend develop and open the Roselands Farm show and Restaurant where he spent a number of years conducting a farm shows and guiding a horse-drawn cart ride to the restaurant. Ross then joined the Dept of Conservation where he was employed as a ranger. The Main focus of his Job was not only the protection of Native Flora and Fauna, but also the construction and design of walkways. 2 of his creations are rated in the top 10 short walks in New Zealand.
Phil Robinson
Phil Robinson
English Speaker, Senior Pilot at Air Safaris
Tekapo/South Island
Phil was born and brought up in the UK and moved to New Zealand almost 10 years ago, beginning his flying career in the hills and over the ocean at Kaikoura on the South Island’s East coast. A love of mountains since childhood steered him towards the scenic mountain flying that he now enjoys every day with Air Safaris, one of New Zealand’s original and largest scenic charter companies. Phil came to Air Safaris in 2006, and considers he has struck gold with a job that he loves, working with a great team in a place that he wants to live! "The constantly changing weather patterns, the beauty and excitement of the terrain and the mixed fleet of fantastic aircraft are key attractions of the job, and the fact that our passengers are having a great time makes for a very happy environment in the aircraft cabin! Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realise how good I have it!"
Phill Barclay
Phill Barclay
English Speaker, Owner and Floatplane pilot at Volcanic Air
Rotorua/North Island
Phill’s role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of Volcanic Air. This includes ensuring all Standards and Procedures are properly adhered to and integrated into the operations of the business. Phill has extensive floatplane experience, has an instructor rating and trains all floatplane pilots. He is a qualified Multi-Engined Instrument Rated pilot. He is also responsible for the upkeep and R & M of the aircraft. Of late Phill has taken a liking to Golf and can be found on his days off swinging a Club at one of the many local Golf Courses.
Hank Sproull
Hank Sproull
English Speaker, CEO and Pilot at Air Milford
Queenstown/North Island
With over 40 years’ experience in aviation, Hank is a flying enthusiast and one of the longest serving to General Aviation (G.A.) in the area. Growing up in nearby Te Anau, Hank moved to Queenstown in the early ’70s to begin an Aircraft Engineering apprenticeship with Mt Cook Airlines (now owned by Air New Zealand). Like many kids, however, the dream was always to pilot the machines he so meticulously cared for. During the ’80s and ’90s Hank flew for the Hollyford Tourist Company and Mt Cook Airlines, sharing his passion for the Fiordland outdoors with the travelling public. In the year 2000 he and wife, Kerrie, took sole ownership of Air Milford calling on all of their business skills to develop the company into the successful, 5-aircraft operation that it is today. Hank has not lost sight of his goal to offer personalised sightseeing tours, which is reflected when customers are personally shuttled to the airport by Kerrie, and quite often share the privilege of flying with Hank.
Simon Chris Jolly
Simon Chris Jolly
English Speaker, Owner and Guide at Chris Jolly Outdoors
Taupō/North Island
His history has always been about adventure. He spent my youth with either a rod or rifle, skis or scuba in hand, which developed his love and need for the outdoors. He started working on boats from the tender age of 12 while growing up in Taupo was special. As soon as he was old enough, he sat his skipper's ticket. Having spent 20+ years as a deer hunting guide, thousands of hours chasing game fish and diving around the Pacific, or being up one of the many spectacular rivers fly fishing, his passion has always been about being out in the open. Being able to share his love of the outdoors with everyone and the people he loves is just so special.
Wayne and Ruth Allanson
Wayne and Ruth Allanson
English Speakers, Owners of Waiatoto River Safari
Queenstown / Wanaka
A young couple, who due to their passion for flying planes, met as commercial pilots, flying fixed-wing aircraft in Wanaka. They specialised in mountain flying training, flying over the rugged Mount Aspiring National Park and Haast UNESCO World Heritage area, and passing on survival skills to pilots. Ruth and Wayne previously owned a scenic flight and flight training company in Wanaka for 14 years. They often gazed down at the magnificent West Coast landscape that they were flying over and in 2007, a chance meeting lead them into the world of backcountry jet boating, and Waiatoto River Safari was formed
Kamara Kennedy & Tiare Tito
Kamara Kennedy & Tiare Tito
Te Rua Māuri/Māori-English Speaker, Expert in Maori/Native Culture
Rotorua- Taupo/North Island
Both Kemara and Tiare have been immersed in and around the Māori culture their entire lives. Both of Māori descent and have strong tribal affiliations predominantly around Te Puku o te Ika a Māui (central North Island). The Māori language has always been at the forefront of both their upbringing from Kohanga Reo (Early Childhood equivalent) through to Kura Kaupapa Māori (Total Immersion Language School) and this journey continues on with their 3 children. Kemara, is currently working at the Tongariro Correctional Facility, facilitating a Māori-based programme and when he is not at work he is in the shed wood carving. Tiare has a degree in Early Childhood and is currently teaching at Waihi Kõhanga Reo. Te Rua Māuri is a family-based initiative formed in 2016 to establish a forum for cultural understanding of Tikanga (Māori belief systems) by bridging past knowledge to present, to preserve and perpetuate its organic essence for the next generation. Te Rua Māuri has participated at various Indigenous festivals locally and internationally. Both Kemara and Tiare have travelled extensively as cultural ambassadors around the world. They enjoy an active life alongside their children and love the outdoors whether it be fishing and diving for kaimoana (seafood), hiking or snowboarding the various skifields of Ruapehu.
Lester Chan
Lester Chan
Mandarin-Cantonese-English Speaker , Photographer at Lester Chan Photography
Auckland/North Island
Lester Chan is a Commercial and Landscape Photographer based in Auckland, New Zealand. He was born in Singapore and found his undeniable passion for Landscape Photography after visiting the country many years ago. His pursuit of landscape images has taken him around New Zealand several times over the course of many years chasing unforgettable scenes and moments. His love for untamed wild places is seen in the work he produces across all platforms. This passion has attracted a wide audience from all around the world. Lester will teach you his techniques and photography skills attained over his many years as a professional Landscape photographer, these include Composition techniques, shooting Manual, managing aperture, shutter speed, ISO and working with light in all different weather conditions.
Mike Gilbert
Mike Gilbert
English Speaker, Motor bike guide, Executive Director at Beatnik Motorsport Ltd.
Marlborough/South Island
Mike Gilbert – A Canadian by birth, married to a Kiwi and a global roamer at heart. Mike spent his youth on farm bikes and Motocross racing on the local circuit in Canada before getting a ‘real job’ and working for over 18 years in the oil and gas industry. During this time his ‘go anywhere, never say no’ attitude enabled him to travel the world and work his way from entry-level technical positions all the way up to a Sr. Executive. After years of setting up and operating business units in multiple countries around the globe, Mike decided to leverage his commercial savvy, project management expertise and return to his motorcycle roots by setting up Beatnik Motorsport in the heart of Marlborough. Beatnik provides trendy, high-end motorcycle rentals and tours for visiting Moto-Heads looking for an exciting and memorable way to explore New Zealand. Set up to cater to everything from a single day blast in the Marlborough sounds to extended adventures around the South Island, Beatnik brings a fresh new concept to the New Zealand Moto-Tour industry. Customer Service and Quality are of the highest importance to Mike and the Beatnik Team
Mark Orbell
Mark Orbell
English Speaker, Owner and guide at Ridgeline Adventures
Wanaka/South Island
One of his earliest childhood memories is my parents showing visitors from overseas around our sheep farm near Dunedin, I guess with this background the great outdoors and international visitors have always been part of his life. He is also a professional photographer and has been published in many magazines, guide books, calendars. Many of my images can be seen online at www.photonewzealand.com. His team appreciates how very, very lucky we are to call New Zealand home and consider ourselves fortunate to be able to share some of Wanaka's hidden scenic and historical secrets to visitors from all over the world. Not a day goes by where he doesn't stop and appreciate the simple pleasures of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth.