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, 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.

Lee

Operations Manager, Senior Guide and Instructor

We consider ourselves lucky to have Lee back for a fifth season. Yes, I am talking about that guy you may have seen in the video entry for the New Zealand Top Guide Award. If you have not seen it yet, check out the video in our video gallery, and you will understand why we are stoked have him back for another season. Aside from being an amazing guide he also keeps a close eye on safety, training and many other responsibilities in his role as Operations Manager. Lee started his canyoning career in the canyons of Japan after which he took his canyoning skills back to his home country New Zealand, where he gained his NZOIA Canyon 2 qualification. Lee has also been canyoning in Nepal. 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.

Lana

All-round awesome

She’s back for a second season. Lana finished off her first season with us last summer and she’s back for some more action! Mixing it up this season you may find her in the office or in the canyon as she’s both multi-talented and can’t make up her mind. Lana gained her outdoor qualifications at Aoraki Polytechnic, she loves white water kayaking, climbing and is trying her luck in the hunting scene. Whether you’re out with Lana or have her on the other end of the phone, her bubbly and positive personality is sure to rub off on you!

Mark

Guide

After having done some part-time work for us in the past, and his first full season last year we are stoked that local-Motueka-boy Markie P. has signed up as a full-time guide again this season. Mark gained his outdoor qualifications at Aoraki polytechnic. He is a keen and skilled white water kayaker. Mark likes to think he was hired for his ‘manu’ (cannonball) skills. In his spare time he will either be picking up his neoprene wetsuit, ropes and shiny gear or his dry suit, boat and paddle to make his way down a river somewhere. During his trips Mark’s positive energy gets everyone amped up and keen to take on all the big challenges. You’ll be in good hands with Markie P, just watch out for his cheeky streak!

Drew

Guide

Having explored the Scottish canyoning scene for a while now, Drew has come over to New Zealand to see what these Kiwi canyons are all about. After successfully attaining his Higher National Diploma in Sports Development in Outdoor Education, Drew went on to work for one of the leading adventure activity providers in the UK. This pun-loving Scot may seem feisty, but once you get past his thick accent and great big bushy beard he’s just a wee softie!

Mitch

Guide

Until joining the Abel Tasman Canyons team, Mitch had spent his days working as a Freelance Guide doing all things adventurous, including: rafting, canoeing, paddling, mountain biking and canyoning. Before his outdoors career, Mitch studied Mechanical Engineering with Aeronautics, specialising in Aircraft Engineering. We secretly suspect that Mitch uses his brain power to control the elements, as his love of water combined with his hobby of fire-breathing to make a pretty epic employee!

Rosie

Guide

Just like the rest of our guides, Rosie has a huge passion for all things outdoors. Her main interest has previously been caving which has led to a number of expeditions in Austria, Borneo and Morocco; but her love of the elements has seen her venture into the world of canyoning and we’re stoked to have her on board! In her spare time Rosie enjoys old-school Cinema and quaint cafes, so if we ever can’t find her no doubt she’ll be tucked away in a hidden gem with a cup of coffee.

Owen

Guide

Owen decided to trade in the mountain vistas of Interlaken, Switzerland for the sandy shores of Abel Tasman this season and join the team. Having worked on every continent except Antarctica he certainly knows how to get around but still loves his home-country of New Zealand. He’s competed in Water Polo nationally, and spent many seasons both raft guiding and canyoning; we’re honored to have this star in our crew.

Pete

Guide

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 for 2017. Stoked to be here and to perfect his sweet jumps and flips, he is in the canyon as much as possible. He’s got heaps of experience in rivers, having raft-guided in the states for a number of years and will be heading back over there after the season finishes and before an epic motorbike tour of South America.

Dan

Casual Guide

Swiss-born mountain man Dan started working for us as a casual guide last year and he is back for more. He is a UIAGM mountain guide, which means he is an all-round top notch guide. Climbing, Heli-Skiing, Canyoning, Rafting, you name it, he had done it. Ask him about his adventures, you will be sure to be amazed. On a day out with Dan you know you will be in very capable, experienced and safe hands. Also if you need a bit of advice on living off the grid or brewing your own cider, Dan is your man!

Richard

Casual Guide

Local boy Richard 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. Last year 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.

Tess

The Apprentice

Tess decided that working as an assistant canyon guide would be an amazing way to spend her holidays this year. This 16-year old sailed into Anchorage on a yacht and joined us each day in the canyon, learning the skills and getting an insight into what it takes to be a guide. We were inspired by her amazing achievements, picking up knots, flips and an awareness of safety management… surely she’ll join us again next year, and maybe we can all take up residence in that beautiful yacht!

Eva

Bookings and marketing manager

Born in the Netherlands, Eva came out to New Zealand together with Toine. To guarantee you will have a great day out in the Park, she is making sure that the office side of things are running smoothly. Eva, also known as ‘the real boss’, is the voice on the other side of the phone when you call to make your booking. If you wonder why you have to answer so many questions just to go on a canyon trip, it is just because she is trained as an anthropologist and therefore loves meeting new people. Every now and again Eva shows her face in the canyon to get her adrenalin fix on the slides. True to her Dutch heritage, Eva also is a keen cyclist. Both on her road and mountain bike she climbs all the local hills.

Jeff

Designer

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.

Snoef

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

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 (:

trip
Syan203, Singapore

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