Our team

All of us here at Abel Tasman Canyons are dedicated to giving you an experience of a lifetime from start to finish. Our friendly voice on the other side of the phone, our positive words of encouragement to help you push your limits, our passion for our work and the place we work in, our commitment to your safety, our bad jokes but our good looks are some of the key qualities you’ll experience when you join one of our adventures.

Please meet our awesome team members

Toine Houtenbos

Managing Director, Senior Guide and Instructor

Dutch born canyoning enthusiast Toine is both the founder and the managing director of Abel Tasman Canyons and the New Zealand Canyoning School. Every chance he gets to leave the office you will find him in a canyon either guiding, instructing or doing first descents. Prior to moving to New Zealand Toine has guided in canyons throughout Europe and South Africa. In 2010 he travelled to Japan to train with the Commission International de Canyon (CIC). In 2017 he trained with the International Canyoning Organisation for Professionals (ICOpro) team in Bali to become an ICOpro Trainer. Toine is an active member of the New Zealand canyon scene. He wrote the Code of Practice for Recreational Canyoning in New Zealand and he is a canyoning assessor for NZOIA. He was also a member of the NZ canyoning expedition team that explored new canyons down the West Coast, Wanaka and Fiordland in March 2015. Warning: when Toine stops smiling put food in his mouth immediately, those thunder thighs are not going to feed themselves.


Bookings and marketing manager

Eva (Dutch) (Toine’s partner) is back for year six. Eva, also known as ‘the real boss’, has been getting more and more involved over the years and is the one that holds it all together. She basically does heaps of behind-the-scenes stuff in the office to keep things running smoothly. When she needs time out of the office she’ll get out in the canyon for fun, squealing her way down the slides. Her PhD in Medical Anthropology translates into her interest for people’s stories, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself telling her your life story at some stage. True to her Dutch heritage, Eva is a keen cyclist both on the road and down the local mountain bike trails.


Operations Manager, Senior Guide and Instructor

Riki (Kiwi) returns to us this year after splitting his time over the past few years between doing awesome outdoorsy work overseas in Switzerland and at home here in NZ. With over 10 years studying and working in the adventure tourism game it is truly evident where Riki’s passion lies. With CIC Level 3 and SOA Level 2 behind his belt he’s right up there with the most qualified canyoning guides. He loves to help people get excited by the outdoors, and to build a connection with the amazing natural world that is right here on our doorstep. On ya Riki!


Office Manager

Camille (Kiwi) has joined the team this year as Office Manager, taking care of all the calls, bookings, social media and behind the scene stuff for the guides. She’s keen on adventure and has a passion for taking people out into the outdoors as much as possible. Studying a Bachelor of Counselling she’s on her way to helping make a big difference. If she’s not here in the office over summer you’ll probably find her rock climbing at Paynes Ford or hiking up some mountain.



Oscar (Ozzy born Kiwi), local boy from up the valley. Keen on anything that goes on in the outdoors, especially kayaking. The last two summers Oscar spent sea kayaking up and down the Abel Tasman coastline blowing visitors’ minds. Although he’s new to the Abel Tasman Canyons family, he joined our work experience weekend twice so it was only a matter of time before he would become a canyoning guide.



Adrien (French), first year guiding at Abel Tasman Canyons but definitely not his first canyoning guiding season. Adrien has been ticking off an impressive list of canyons in Europe and Indonesia. He’s been training with the ICOpro team, to get up to the ICOpro Trainer level which means we can all learn a lot from Adrien. He is very handy with a camera too, he’s an ICOpro Canyoneer Photographer. Add in skiing, graffiti, and creating music to his list of passions, this guy does it all!



Steven (Kiwi) aka ‘Scuba’, is extremely passionate about playing in the outdoors and loves to share it with whoever is keen to join him. This is his first year at Abel Tasman Canyons. With a certificate in Ecotourism, Outdoor Recreation, and Sport & Recreation you can be sure he knows what he’s doing. He’s got a huge amount of experience as a cave guide under his belt and is now keen to pop his head out of the ground and get into some canyoning. Let’s see if we can convert another caver….it’s been done before.



Pete is already a star of Abel Tasman Canyons, having featured in our Waterfall Creek video last year. He loved canyoning whilst filming so much that he has hung up his paddle and joined the Abel Tasman team last year. A true water baby with heaps of raft and sea kayak experience. Pete was a late addition to the team last year and he nailed it, picking up the canyoning game in no time! Since then he has been keen as a bean to get out on canyoning missions, taking on some massive canyons over in the States this winter.


Office Assistant

John (Kiwi – English background) loves the outdoors and has a real passion for living a sustainable lifestyle. He’s also a local artist who takes huge inspiration from the NZ native bird and plant life. When he’s not working hard on his lifestyle block, creating new art works, or being Dad to his baby girl, he hangs out in the Abel Tasman Canyons office assisting with bookings and answering questions.


Casual Guide

Sam (Kiwi), local Geologist and landscaper. New to Abel Tasman Canyons and first year guiding. Sam’s a snowboard instructor, tennis coach, keen biker, tramper, and with his circus training he might be able to add some skills to our freestyle canyoning game!


Casual Guide

Mark Parfitt (Kiwi), back for year three, and a half. Markie P is a local Motueka boy. He’s pretty handy in the kayak and on the rock and picked up his canyoning game like a natural over the last three years. This year Mark will be on the casual guide list next to his fulltime job as Outdoor Instructor at one of the local High Schools, why not?


Casual Guide (former Operations Manager)

Lee (Kiwi) is back for year five. Lee’s been dominating the canyons in the Abel Tasman Park and knows them like nobody else. Once again, Lee has been playing a critical role in training the crew and taking care of all the safety side of things this season. Lee’s got super solid canyoning skills that he’s gained guiding in Japan, Nepal and New Zealand. He’s trained heaps with CIC (Commission Internationale de Canyon) guides and he’s got his NZOIA Canyon 2 this year (one of very few in NZ!!). Over winter he went to the remote island of Iriomote in Japan to show them the ropes there (pun intended). When out on a trip with Lee you will find that although his shorts are (too) short, his knowledge of the native bush is endless and his passion for canyoning is infectious.Lee has got a few other things lined up for this summer and sadly won’t be with us for the whole season, so enjoy him while you can!!


Casual Guide

Daniel (Swiss/Kiwi) is also a casual guide who loves helping us out in the canyons. As a full-time UIAGM Mountain Guide he’s in popular demand as a canyoning guide, kayak guide, heli-ski guide, raft guide and outdoor instructor… You name it, Dan does it! Also if you need a bit of advice on living off the grid or brewing your own cider, Dan is your man!


Casual Guide

Richard (kiwi) has been lurking around since the start. This local boy is an economist by trade and a canyon guide by passion. Over summer Richard manages to sometimes put his desk job aside to come out playing in the refreshing rivers of the Abel Tasman National Park. Two years ago he gained his NZOIA Canyon 1 qualification. If you think Lee likes to show off his legs in his stubbies, then you have not heard Richard’s suggestion for our staff uniform: screen printed Speedos… Richard is coming from a caving background, but we like to think that we have converted him. As a keen adventure racer; the tougher the mission, the more excited Richard gets. Richard was both the organiser and a member of the NZ canyoning expedition team that explored new canyons down the West Coast, Wanaka and Fiordland in March 2015. This summer Richard is particularly busy organising the Canyoning Festival at the Nelson Lakes!



Awatea (Kiwi) joins us this year from Motueka Highschool. His most favourite subject is Outdoor Ed, so naturally he wanted to come along and join us as we introduce our guests from all over the world to the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park! He’s taking big steps to secure a future in the field he is most passionate about so we’re happy to have him along for the ride. We hear he loves a good yarn so watch out!



Just like the nocturnal kiwi bird, when it is night-time in New Zealand Jeff comes out to work his magic. Based in the Netherlands, Jeffrey from Rydestyle looks after all our design work. He does an amazing job building our websites and designing our brochures, posters, adverts, sign writing etc. Our long-term friend rides downhill bikes like a maniac and works the computer like a braniac! No job or trail is too difficult for this guy.


Working dog

A few weeks after she was born at a high-country sheep farm near Mount Cook, Snoef was abducted by us to become the best pet in the world. Compared to her mum (a sheep herder), Snoef went on to a slightly different career path. Here at Abel Tasman Canyons she is probably our most reliable staff member. Just whistle and she will be there. She is always wagging her tail and never too lazy to lend a paw during the wash up at the end of the day.

This could be you!

Guide / Operations Manager / Apprentice / Office Assistant / Trainee / Office Manager / Instructor

Our main staff intake is just before the season starts in October. However, we're always on the lookout for fun-loving super star guides and office gurus. So if you're interested in a position send us a kick-ass cover letter and CV. For guide positions add your relevant logbooks (rock, water, ropes) of your personal and professional experience so we can see what adventurer extraordinaire you are!

“Amazing All-in-One Adventure”

Tripadvisor Review

1) Best way to explore and experience Abel Tasman
Hike through the forest to the starting point, then swim/ slide/ abseil/ zipline/ leap downstream, in NZ’s favourite national park. Pure beauty.

2) Adrenaline achievement unlocked
Action and fun packed – the “itinerary” was very creative and you never really know what to imagine or expect at every turn. Peppered with interesting stories and facts the guides shared.

3) Professional, caring and super fun guides
Whom you can count on to feel safe, upbeat, looked after and game for any (if not almost every) challenge. Kudos to the awesome Toine, Lee and Mark for spending Day 1 of 2016 with us (:

Syan203, Singapore

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