The most important asset of Canterbury Trails are the people who work for the company. All our guides are well travelled with a good understanding of cultures, world issues and current affairs. They take pride in surpassing the standards that have been set; in terms of passenger comfort & safety, their driving skills, route knowledge and tour management. All are passionate and knowledgeable about New Zealand, are considerate and display a high level of service and integrity. Our guides provide a full commentary in the vehicle as well as interpretation when on guided walks.
As co-owner of Canterbury Trails Irene is thoroughly enjoying taking on a new role as guide. Born in Christchurch but brought up on Banks Peninsula Irene looks forward to guiding in and around Akaroa. With her farming background and stories of growing up in “the bays” she will inform and entertain. Irene has travelled extensively from living and working in the UK during her “OE” (Overseas Experience) in her early 20’s, back packing through the Middle East, and more recently sailing from New Zealand to Europe and back. She has a daughter and son in law and son who live and work in Christchurch. Now land based and responsible for two aging racehorses, and a Chesapeake Bay retriever called Jib, she looks forward meeting people who are also passionate about travelling and broadening their horizons. Irene’s hobbies and interests include reading, painting, yoga, squash and of course sailing.
Co-owner of Canterbury Trails and an engineer by trade Chris has also embraced becoming a guide for the company. Born and raised in Christchurch Chris has become our “Arthur’s Pass “guide. Chris enjoys the walks the tour has to offer as well the chance to get away from the city and into the mountains for the day. Chris’s engineering background gives him the knowledge for maintaining Canterbury Trails fleet of 4WD vehicles to a high standard. Chris has previously raced Jet boats and Rally cars and sailing both racing and cruising has been a large part of Chris’s life. Sailing around the world with Irene (the sailing , not Irene) has been a life changing experience; it was an opportunity to visit so many different countries, experiencing alternative cultures and to lean their histories. Chris’s hobbies centre mainly on fixing things and the enjoyment of the problem solving that goes hand in hand with that. Add to that the” joy” of owning a 5 acre lifestyle block with two aging racehorses and of course the dog.
Tia is from the small West Coast town of Hokitika, this is where her love of the outdoors began. Her mother is a school teacher and a bilingual Maori teacher, her father is from Samoa and a wood turner which has made her very culturally aware. She started working for Canterbury Trails in 2015, after managing and working in hospitality for almost 20years. She has a passion for health and wellbeing which led her to completing diplomas in Reflexology and in Nutrition. As a busy mum, she enjoys getting the kids along with their dog, out and about, whether it’s to the beach or for a hike in the hills. She loves meeting new people, traveling, gardening, cooking, but most of all spending time with her family and friends.
Mandy (or Amanda if she’s in trouble) was born and raised on an arable and dairy farm in Southern England. She met her kiwi veterinarian husband in Newmarket England where she was working as a horse nutritionist. A love of horses and horse racing took them to Hong Kong and then on to a short stint in Qatar before settling in New Zealand with their two boys. Mandy has worked in recruitment and hospitality, and now runs a small wine business. She is passionate about local artisan food, wine and beer and her happy place is trail running in the spectacular playground of the South Island.
Hugh lives in Akaroa and has been in the Canterbury area all his life. He spent 40 years in the photographic industry. Some as a photographer and also in the importing and distribution of photographic and optical equipment. This career took him all over the South Island of New Zealand. His interests cover many outdoor pursuits. Such as Trout and ocean fishing. Recreational hunting. Spear fishing and Golf at the beautiful Akaroa golf course.
He really enjoys getting off the beaten track and sharing our beautiful country with like minded people.
Mary grew up on a farm in Otago. She moved to Christchurch 28 years ago and has been involved in banking and insurance while her partner owned and operated a hot air ballon tourist business. She is passionate about our beautiful country and all it has to offer in adventure activities and stunning scenery. Mary was a keen, and competitive rider, and loves all things equestrian. Actually she loves most sports, especially sailing, rugby and cricket. “I have travelled quite extensively in latter years and love to show off, and inform visitors about, the amazing country we live in”.
Peter is a retired History and Geography teacher and he has a sound working knowledge of the Canterbury area. He has written articles for newspapers, such as The Press, and for national magazines on historical topics and his interest in the coastline is manifest in several paintings he has done which hang on walls in his home. Aviation history is one of his hobbies and although he says that the best way to see the landscapes of the South Island is from the air, he can’t promise to take you aloft during your experience with Canterbury Trails. Peter’s interests also include the theatre – he is an experienced performer and is currently on the board of a local musical theatre organisation, and he has enjoyed playing and coaching sport in his younger days. He now enjoys sharing the uniqueness and beauty of the South Island with visitors to our region.
Originally from Southland Stuart completed his education in Christchurch. His early career was in Tourism and hospitality in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom returning to New Zealand to pursue a career in management within professional services. Tramping and day walks are a passion for him, as is road cycling. Through guiding he wishes to share the unique New Zealand landscape and people with visitors to create memorable and lasting experiences for them,
Dave was born and has lived in Christchurch New Zealand for most of his life. He has a great love of the outdoors and has spent much of his years exploring the South Island participating in various outdoor activities and multi-sport races. You name it, Dave has probably tried it, from Coast to Coast races, paragliding and hangliding, to fly fishing, diving and skiing, tramping and surfing. Being a keen traveller, he has spent time in Europe the UK and the USA, Australia and the Pacific, pursuing adventure. He has worked for many years in the travel industry as Crew for Air New Zealand and in IT as a Reporting analyst for Telecom NZ. His hobbies also include painting and making beautiful jewellery.
“I love New Zealand and especially the uniqueness of the South Island. My passion is experiencing it while sharing it with others”.
Born and raised in New Zealand, schooled in Christchurch, now hailing from the seaside suburb of Sumner, Stuart did his formative years in sales, working for sporting goods and FMCG companies. The last 21 years have been in media sales, working for a Christchurch based radio station who became part of a multi platform media provider. Stu’s forte is interacting with people but he also loves sporting activities and events, a good book and travel. He enjoys cycling, swimming, racket sports, Citroens, fine design, professional driving and a touch of Netflix. Travelling through North America, parts of Asia and Europe have given him a good sense of travel insight and he looks forward to sharing ‘this amazing neck of the woods’.
Sue Szabo Christchurch born and bred. Sue has had a passion for travel from a young age. At 21 she headed off to Hungary to reconnect with her father’s family, and used the UK as a base for experiencing Europe’s many, and varied, cultures. Her love for New Zealand brought her home to Christchurch, spending her spare time tramping, skiing and sailing. Horse breeding, riding and racing, plus music, are among her other passions. Sue has worked in the hospitality industry which sparked her interest in our wine culture and led to her being a judge in our local Restaurant of the Year competition.
“What I love so much about this wonderful city is that I can be walking on the beach in the morning and skiing in the mountains in the afternoon”.
Better known as Jock, he was born in Christchurch then spent his younger years in the southern town of Kurow. Jock has two adult boys, both living in Christchurch. Jock has always been very active in Athletics representing NZ on a number of occasions. He now loves to bike and is still competing. Most of his working life has been in Sales, from Sports to Juice and Apparel. This career gave him the opportunity to travel the country and holidays have taken Jock throughout the UK and Europe. He loves the outdoors and all things sports.
Kate grew up on a farm in the Canterbury foothills and spent her school and university years in Christchurch. She is a two-time Olympian having represented NZ on the hockey field at both the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and 2000 Sydney Olympics. Her sporting career allowed her to travel the world extensively before ‘getting a real job’ in marketing for over 25yrs. Now with two grown-up girls studying and rowing at university in the US she is still heavily involved in hockey, coaching club and regional teams and selecting the national team. She loves mountain biking in the hills around Christchurch, hiking, DIY projects and hanging out at the bach in the Marlborough Sounds.
Paul lives in Sumner, ( a coastal suburb of Christchurch), and says that he feel very spoilt to live by the ocean with surf at his back door, and tramping available in the surrounding port hills. He also enjoys hunting on the Canterbury plains and in our spectacular mountains when the opportunity arises.
John was born in Timaru and apart from the odd overseas interlude has lived in Christchurch all his life. His working life started at the New Zealand Government Tourist Bureau which gave him a wonderful insight and appreciation for our beautiful country. Since then he has owned a number of businesses and can proudly say that amongst those he has been a Butcher, Baker and a Candlestick maker. Being a long time resident of the beautiful seaside suburb of Sumner has highlighted his great passion for sport and outdoor activities from Rugby to walking, squash to surfing, bowls, golf and almost any other activity that you would care to mention. With this in mind he looks forward to guiding and sharing the stunning and inspiring sights of the South Island with others.