Meet The Team - Tuatara Tours

Meet the team

Founded from a deep passion for the kiwi outdoors, and an intense desire to share it with others, Tuatara Tours has been running incredible walking and cycling tours across New Zealand and the world for almost 2 decades.

Hamish Paterson

Hamish has been with Tuatara Tours since its inception. When Tuatara Tours started there was one product – The Akaroa Walk. Now there are upwards of 45 products including 5 overseas tours to Bhutan, Japan and Australia.

Hamish’s background is varied, he has been involved in the nursery and garden centre trade, real estate, computer programming, and organising multi-day adventure races.

Away from work Hamish is involved in grafting and producing some new plant varieties and still retains his interests in everything outdoors.

Nicky Page

Most of you will know Nicky as Tuatara Tours Tour Manager, but her starting role at Tuatara Tours was as a guide for the Akaroa Walk and West Coast Trail walking tours. For the last 6 years Nicky has also lead the Tuatara Tours walking tour program to Japan.

Nicky has a background in languages and 30 years industry experience in tourism. She is a fluent speaker of Japanese. Having lived in Japan for several years she relishes the opportunity to travel there each year with our tour groups, and to share her love of all things Japanese with our walkers.

When not walking the trails of the Nakasendo and Kumano, Nicky enjoys getting out on our local trails and having lived on the Port Hills of Christchurch since childhood, Banks Peninsula is her “backyard”. She is a keen tramper, and Nicky and her husband also enjoy getting ‘off the beaten track”, travelling around the South Island in their camper van.

Tours I’ve led

John Dunbier

John comes to guiding from a background in exploration, geology and teaching. He loves to explore new terrain and has a passion for prospecting in the West Coast goldfields. To keep fit he plays tennis and likes to get out on cross country skis when the white stuff covers the hills.

To keep fit he plays tennis and likes to get out on cross country skis when the white stuff covers the hills.

As a hobby, John uses satellite data to track icebergs in the waters south of New Zealand and documents the drift of these magnificent Antarctic wanderers on the blog “Kiwi Icebergs”.

Tours I’ve led

Stephen Hardman

Stephen has a background in hospitality, brewing and teaching hospitality studies in further education. He enjoys outdoor activities; tramping, skiing, swimming and cycling. Stephen says he gets a real buzz from introducing folk to our wonderful country.

Tours I’ve led

Nick Bray

Nick was born in Warwickshire in the UK, and grew up in Devon with its great coastal walks, Dartmoor and quaint villages. His family were involved with hospitality from an early age. He has always loved travelling and after a stint in the Middle East and Australia, Nick arrived in New Zealand in 1985, where he met a Kiwi woman and stayed.

They went back and forth between NZ and the UK a couple of times but eventually settled here permanently with a young family in 1996.

Nick has been involved in hospitality since his late teens, in New Zealand with a bed and breakfast and then later, cafes and short term accommodation. He enjoys meeting people from all walks of life and from different parts of NZ and the world

Nick loves the South Island and the great outdoors and he enjoys both tramping and mountain biking. He also has a great love of sports, as a spectator, parent and participant and still plays squash and tennis and on occasion, golf.

Tours I’ve led

Derek Smith

Married to Wendy and have 3 daughters Have a trade in automotive machining Grew up in Ashburton. Took up mountain biking and road cycling in my mid 30s Coached and mechanic for Villa Maria College cycling team for 12 years where my daughters attended.
Favourite place Lake Benmore McKenzie County I love the outdoors water-skiing, mountain biking also traveling around in our motorhome exploring New Zealand and really enjoy showing other people what we have in this amazing country.

Tours I’ve led

Dennis Claridge

Tours I’ve led

Helen O’Dowd

Helen was born and bred on a Canterbury poultry and market gardening farm, in an area that during her youth was considered ‘in the country’ . Now, living a mere 2kms from where she grew up, urban sprawl has turned the many paddocks into just another north eastern suburb of Christchurch.

Now, Helen still loves running around but in the form of Marathons, Ultra trails and multi-sport endurance events.Her goal is to walk all the Great Walks of New Zealand (she has her eye on the Australian ones too) and complete as much of the Te Araroa Trail possible – 3000km along the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
“Becoming a guide with Tuatara Tours since the start of the 2017/18 walking season, has been a dream. It is always a joy for me to meet and share my love of the outdoors with clients and my interests have extended to local history/Maori legends, flora and fauna.
I look forward to meeting you.”

Tours I’ve led

Craig Scurr

Craig grew up in Canterbury, spending his earlier years tramping, climbing, skiing and cycling in the South Island mountains. During a long stint overseas, Craig worked in a Swiss ski resort for 24 winters and spent much of the spring time cycle touring around Central Europe.
In between seasons he was involved in design engineering in the UK. And along the way spent a couple of years travelling and trekking in Asia . Travel has always been one his biggest passions, so being a guide is a perfect fit for him, helping clients have a safe, enjoyable and fun trip. When not leading our tours he is out mountain biking the local Christchurch trails and walking the local hills.

Tours I’ve led

Kevin Rigarlsford

Kevin is originally from Wellington where he completed an apprenticeship in engineering after finishing his schooling. After several years of working in the agricultural and marine industries in the Nelson /Marlborough regions, Kevin moved into the facilities and infrastructure management sector.


He worked for Antarctica NZ for 12 years with his primary role being the management of the buildings and engineering systems at Scott Base. He accumulated over 4.5 years ‘ice time’ during his employment with Antarctica NZ. Kevin also worked for Christchurch International Airport in a similar role of infrastructure management. In 2015 Kevin and his wife (Toni) were offered an opportunity to manage a small Conservation Island in the Hauraki Gulf. 

After completing a four year contract on the island they returned and took up residence in Kaikoura where Kevin still lives today. Upon his return from the island Kevin sought out some “fun employment”, and guiding for Tuatara Tours ticks all the boxes. Kevin enjoys meeting and interacting with our guests and goes out of his way to ensure they get the most out of their experience. Kevin has cycled his entire life, from early days of cycle touring throughout NZ and Australia, (this was before mountain bikes had even been heard of), he continues to cycle today as often as possible and generally enjoys all outdoor activities.”

Tours I’ve led

Daryl Poulsen

Tours I’ve led

Wanda Vivequin

Wanda Vivequin is a Christchurch-based outdoor enthusiast with a long history of adventuring in the backcountry. She has worked as a guide for over 20 years sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge for Nepal, Bhutan and New Zealand. Her professional life began as a journalist, but has worked in conservation and science communications for the bulk of her career.

She can now be found organising the ever-popular Banks Peninsula Walking Festival, working part time in outdoor retail and volunteering for Canine Friends as its local events coordinator. Wanda is besotted with her two Border Collies Mollie and Biskit and rumour has it she can be bribed easily with a small bag of licorice.

Tours I’ve led

Paul Nicholas

Paul recently returned to New Zealand after 35 years of living overseas and he’s throughly enjoyed re-discovering the fabulous walks and cycling trails that this country offers. He now lives in Christchurch and is enjoying the slower pace of life that this city offers.

Reconnecting with family and friends after a long absence has been enriching. Paul is a keen cyclist and tramper. He has recently completed the South Island leg of the Te Araroa Walking Trail (in stages) and has many more adventures planned. Being a guide with Tuatara Tours is a dream job. Meeting new people from all around the world and showing them the wonders of the South Island is an absolute pleasure.

Tours I’ve led

Marcus Dadds

Marcus was brought up in the UK and found his passion for the outdoors hiking in the Lake District and Highlands of Scotland. This led to travels further afield with mountaineering and tramping trips to Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan. After visiting New Zealand he decided to stay and enjoy the special scenery it has to offer. He is keen to share his knowledge and enthusiasm of the outdoors with clients. 

Marcus fills in his spare time mountain biking, tramping and coaching football and well as spending time with the family. 

Holly Eccles

I have a degree in Accounting and Financial Management and am originally from England. What was intended to be only a year of travelling in 2009, New Zealand turned into my permanent home after I fell in love with the country.


I am a keen trail runner and have run many marathons and ultra-marathons. I enjoy getting out for runs on our local trails in the Port Hills and exploring other trails around the South Island. I have recently also taken up partner acrobatics. I look after all the finances and accounting at Tuatara Tours.

Paul Gardener

Paul is originally from northern England. He began his career in an office as a draftsman, it soon became clear that this was not where his passion lay. The day after completing a four-year apprenticeship, he handed in his notice and set off to travel the world.

During his travels, Paul visited Europe, India, and Australia. Three years later he returned to the UK, joined the family business, and began working as an electrician. After a decade, his wanderlust took hold once more, Paul immigrated to New Zealand, a place he had been dreaming of for a long time.

Over the past three decades, Paul has achieved remarkable success in his own electrical business. His two sons have also flourished into successful young men.

Joining Tuatara Tours in 2023, Paul is now eager to share his experiences and showcase the natural beauty and rich culture of New Zealand.

When not working, Paul’s heart belongs to the great outdoors. Singling out a favourite place in New Zealand is challenging because there are so many. However, you will often find him and his family kayaking the Abel Tasman coastline over the Christmas period.

Tours I’ve led

Tim Evans

Tours I’ve led

Catherine Wallace

Tours I’ve led