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 Instructor and Trainer

Dutch born canyoning enthusiast, Toine is both the founder and the managing director of Abel Tasman Canyons, New Zealand Canyoning School and owns the first canyoning centre affiliated with ICOpro in New Zealand. 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. If you find yourself in a sticky situation in the canyon you might come across Toine as part of the Canyon Rescue team. Warning: when Toine stops smiling put food in his mouth immediately, those thunder thighs are not going to feed themselves.

Eva

The Oracle

Eva (Dutch) (Toine’s partner) is back for year eight. 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.

Oscar

Operations Manager, Senior Instructor and Trainer

(Ozzy born Kiwi), local lad from up the Motueka valley. Oscar is keen on anything that goes on in the outdoors, especially kayaking and canyoning. Before becoming a canyoning guide, Oscar spent a few years sea kayaking up and down the Abel Tasman coastline. He is back for year three at Abel Tasman Canyons. Over the past few years Oscar has been trained in-house and recently gained his NZOIA Canyon 1. These days Oscar is the one training others; whether that is new staff at Abel Tasman Canyons or NMIT students who have taken on a canyoning module. This winter Oscar took up his first office job at Camp America so he is chomping to the bit to get back into the kiwi canyons. This man knows some mean as rope tricks so if you are in need of some party tricks, ask him to show you. Be ready to be left feeling mesmerised.

Helen

Office Manager

Helen (Kiwi) is another local gal from Richmond. Helen and Camille actually went to high school together. Helen is new to the Abel Tasman Canyons family this year and she will be working in the office. However, Helen is not new to what we do as she was given a Torrent River trip for her birthday two years ago and she has been following and ‘liking’ us on social media ever since. Professionally Helen comes from a career in the banking world, but recreationally she is very much into the outdoors and likes to keep fit with mountain biking, hiking and trail running. And fit she is: Helen completed in the Spring Challenge this year and came in the top 10 of her category!! Go Helen go!!! Another interesting fact about Helen is that she recently spent some time volunteering at an elephant and rhino conservation project in Zimbabwe. The rest you can ask her about when you call us at the office.

Adrien

ICOpro Center Manager, Senior Instructor and Trainer

Adrien (French) is a canyoning fanatic from the country that invented canyoning. Adrien is back for his third year at Abel Tasman Canyons and has been guiding and instructing for many years all over the world. The last two New Zealand winters he has been working for a canyoning company in Montenegro. Adrien is also a Trainer with ICOpro and here at Abel Tasman Canyons Adrien is the instructor for our CA123 ICOpro training course. He also is an ICOpro Canyoneer Photographer. His filming and photography skills are outstanding, providing us with the most amazing marketing material. Skiing, graffiti and making music, this guy does it all!

Camille

Marketing Manager, Bookings and Instructor

Camille (Kiwi), a local gal, has been our office superstar for the last two years and she is back for her third. Besides working in the office, Camille is also one of the canyoning guides so when we get busy she can jump into the canyon to help out. For the past three years she has been studying a Bachelor of Counselling and in December she will be graduating. Woohoo!!! She has already lined up some counselling work in Motueka, so this season she will only be working part-time with us. Camille loves balancing her counselling work with spending time in the outdoors, climbing, hiking and canyoning. If you want some advice on how to get most out of life, talk to Camille!

Juri

Senior Instructor

Juri (Latvian born Kiwi) switched over from the dark side (caving) after years of guiding in Waitomo, to canyoning in the beautifully sunny Abel Tasman. This will be Juri’s third season at Abel Tasman Canyons. If you find yourself stuck for some commentary, Juri knows a joke or two. However, even more impressive are his raro pouring skills during the raro break in the canyon, Tom Cruise in ‘Cocktail’ has got nothing on him! Other things you might not know about Juri; he was once a civil engineer, during the winters he keeps himself busy as a tiler and Juri is an ice hockey player and surfer. Could his skills be any more diverse??

Mark

Senior Instructor

Mark (Kiwi) is not only a canyoning guide, he is also a mad keen rugby player, a tour bus driver for Wild Kiwi and a very skilled carpenter. He was once Manager and caving guide at Waitomo Caves, but we have decided to forgive him for that! He’s switched from the dark side of caving to canyoning! This will be his second year at Abel Tasman Canyons. As a bus driver, Mark always got his passengers excited about our canyoning trips and he got to join a few himself, which is how he ended up working for us! As a kiwi and a tour bus driver you can trust Mark to know about all the cool places to see and visit. For hot tips on where to go in NZ, Marks your man!

Chris

Instructor

Chris (UK) is a professional Ghyllscrambler AKA canyoner from the Lake District in the UK. This will be his first season at Abel Tasman Canyons. Back in the UK Chris has founded and runs a Ghyllscrambling business together with his dad. Up until now he has spent his European winters in St Anton in Austria, but this time he decided to chase the eternal summer by coming to New Zealand. Chris is a keen kayaker, rock climber and skier. One thing you must ask him to tell you more about is the time he was a throw bagging stuntman in a Spielberg movie.

Zeb

Assistant Instructor

Zeb (Kiwi) is a local lad from Golden Bay and this is his first season with the Abel Tasman Canyons family. Zeb is currently finishing up his Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Guiding at Tai Poutini Polytechnic. Although this course exposed him to many different pursuits, it was the canyoning that jumped out to Zeb (no surprises there). He has been canyoning in the Golden Bay and in Arthur’s pass and Zeb is super keen to become a canyoning guide. This year we have many returning and qualified guides providing the perfect place for Zeb to learn everything there is about canyoning. At the same time Zeb can fill us in on some local stories and hidden adventure locations in the Golden Bay.

Danelle

Assistant Instructor

Danelle (Kiwi) is a local gal from Nelson. Danelle joined us for the work experience weekend last autumn and has impressed us with her keenness. It is clear that nothing is stopping her from achieving the goals that she sets out for herself. Completing the Te Araroa trail solo at age 17 is just an example of this. Danelle is super passionate about the outdoors, whether that is canyoning, climbing, caving, tramping, abseiling, alpine hiking or diving and she loves sharing this passion with others. Danelle has Australian canyoning guide qualifications and is aspiring to gain her NZOIA Canyon 1 this summer.

Dan

Casual Instructor

Daniel (Swiss/Kiwi) is also a casual instructor 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!

Sam

Casual Instructor

Sam (Kiwi), local Geologist, landscaper, and keen outdoorsman. Second year at Abel Tasman Canyons, he’ll be on the casual guide list. Snowboard instructor, Tennis coach, keen biker, climber and tramper, and with his circus training he might be able to add some skills to our freestyle canyoning game!

Richard

Casual Instructor

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. Three years ago he gained his NZOIA Canyon 1 qualification. 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. Last summer Richard was particularly busy organising the Canyoning Festival at the Nelson Lakes!

Lana

Casual Instructor

Lana (Kiwi) is back for a third season. Lana finished off her second season with us in 2016 and she’s back for some more action! 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. On top of that she’s just completed her third year of a Bachelor of Education and went straight into teaching! 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!

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

Branch Manager

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!

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

Our main staff intake is just before the season starts in October. However, we're always on the lookout for fun-loving super star instructors 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
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