Meet our team of adventure experts
Click to watch video
We are a small and dedicated team who specialise in matching adventurous travellers with their dream holidays, both in New Zealand and beyond. We are passionate about active travel, wild places and their conservation and nothing makes us happier than sharing our wilderness discoveries with others. As avid hikers, mountain bikers, canoeists and “give anything a go” people we use our unique knowledge and experience to design adventures that will exceed your wildest expectations.
Daniel Murphy - Co-owner and South Island Operations Manager:
Dan has always been a devotee of the outdoors. A progression from agriculture to tourism started with his role as a hiking guide in Spain in the late 90’s, and later as a backcountry guide in New Zealand. Dan still gets out and about guiding some trips and has the enviable job of tour research and development too. He also has a reputation for getting out on a lot of his own cool mountain running and biking events and hiking trips.
Anne Murphy - Co-owner and Managing Director:
Having grown up in rural New Zealand it was no surprise that this country girl returned to work involving the outdoors. Anne tried life as a city slicker with a commerce degree but packed in corporate life when she met Dan. Anne is the face of Hiking New Zealand at international trade and travel conferences and the strategist in the office. Like Dan, Anne also does a lot of trail running, mountain biking and hiking – and these days it’s alongside their fit kids too.
Malcolm O’Neill - Co-owner and North Island Operations Manager:
Even before he could walk, Malcolm was being carried through the New Zealand wilderness in a pack on his father’s back. Since those early days, he has hiked, climbed, sea kayaked, and mountain biked throughout New Zealand and the globe. He squeezed in time to get a science degree in physical geography and co-authored a guidebook, Classic New Zealand Adventures. Based in Auckland Malcolm keeps the North Island team singing and itineraries humming.
Michelle McConnon - Account Manager and Women's Group Travel:
Michelle has a background in tourism operations & publishing. After a break to look after her children she joined up with the Hiking New Zealand team. Michelle is a cheerful outdoor obsessive and her enthusiasm for anything active is simply contagious. When she’s not out mountain running and biking with groups of likeminded women, she’s putting her boundless energy into keeping the rest of us free-range adventurers in line. Michelle is our women’s group travel specialist.
Martin Leslie - Head of Guiding and Operations:
Martin has always had a great interest in exploring the natural world and this has been the main thread throughout his life. After studying Earth Sciences at university, he began a long career as a high school teacher focusing on outdoor and environmental education. After a couple of seasons guiding, He couldn't be happier to now have a management role at Hiking New Zealand which still allows him to get out on trips, where he can practise his favourite pastime: being outdoors in nature.
Chai Pyle - Guide:
Having followed an adventurous father up cliff faces, down rivers and across lakes, Chai feels very much in his element guiding guests through bush and over mountains. His broad experience in the outdoors has traversed the New Zealand and Nepalese whitewater kayaking scene, to hiking guide. Chai’s love of learning and care about this country’s people and special places helps enrich the experience of those he guides.
Find out a little more about Chai
Sarah Akers - Guide:
With a professional background in environmental planning Sarah brings both a high level of organisational skill and passion for the environment to her role as a guide. An experienced hiker in the New Zealand backcountry, Sarah has walked the southern section of the long-distance Te Araroa trail. As well as hiking Sarah is a keen trail runner and looks for any excuse to head for the hills.
Find out a little more about Sarah
Marios Gavalas - Guide:
Marios does not have the most Kiwi of names, but since arriving in New Zealand over 20 years ago he has not stopped exploring. Marios has ventured widely into the recesses of these uplifted islands, sometimes researching for walking and historical guides. He has been privileged to meet some extraordinary locals and gain snippets of history and culture which give depth to the landscape and his interpretation for his guests.
Find out a little more about Marios
Jeremy Martin - Guide:
Growing up close to the Southern Alps with active hikers for parents developed in Jeremy a real passion for the outdoors. He has been lucky enough to turn this love into a career, working as an outdoor instructor and guide across the globe for nearly 20 years. He loves having a job in his playground and sharing his great enthusiasm for adventure travel and discovery.
Find out a little more about Jeremy
Kathryn Richards - Guide:
Kathryn’s upbringing in rural New Zealand fostered a life of outdoor adventure and travel. From her treasured childhood memory of her first overnight hike through to some big European hikes, summer guiding now helps indulge her passion. Kathryn enjoys the opportunity to share her knowledge and appreciation of our flora, avian fauna and culture, with other adventurous people.
Find out a little more about Kathryn
Jessi Meyer - Guide:
Originally from Kentucky Jessi has packed a lot of adventure into just a few years. Equally at home on sea as on land, following studies in Environment and Sustainability, she has crisscrossed the Pacific by sail and takes every opportunity to explore the wilds of her adopted country. Jessi brings to guiding a real passion for travel, the natural world and indigenous cultural tradition to enhance the travel experience of others.
Find out a little more about Jessi
Kath Watzig - Guide:
Kath originally hails from Oregon on the west coast of America. Soon after stepping off the plane when she arrived New Zealand in her early 20’s she knew she would make her home here. These days it is a beautiful organic farm shared with 6 other families in the winterless Far North where she grows most of her own food and has recreation on her doorstep. Kath’s love of nature and a practical outdoor life have seen her work range from landscaping to running a small tree nursery, and nowadays guiding to which she brings an infectious enthusiasm for all things ‘kiwi’.
Find out a little more about Kath
Jeffrey Fitting (Inky) - Guide:
Inky is an explorer and sailor within the more remote parts of this world such as the Amazon Jungle, Andes Mountains, Pacific Islands and his own beloved Southern Alps. With not only an education but a passion for learning from and working with indigenous peoples, he enjoys nothing more than to share a few narrative yarns. Inky feels that as a guide, it is incredibly fulfilling to have the opportunity to live vicariously through those he has the privilege to share his backyard with.
Find out a little more about Inky