Abel Tasman EcoTours

Marine conservation and education.
October 5, 2017
Schools
October 3, 2017
Family Planting



Eco-pioneering in the Abel Tasman National park. Golden Future Conservation Tours has now been rebranded as Abel Tasman Eco Tours, we are excited to show you the best of our amazing product and more! With a new tour for 2016 and new staff, we hope to uncover more of the park’s secrets for you.

Abel Tasman Eco Tours was founded in April 2013 as Golden Future Conservation Tours. Starting on a shoestring with the help of Abel Tasman AquaTaxi, we found a tourism niche delivering high quality ecology tours in the national park.

In 2014, Golden Future became independent with the help of Everton Bed and Breakfast Kaiteriteri, who helped us out by signing over their charter concession in a very generous deal that would kickstart our future as a genuine eco-operator in the Abel Tasman. We moved our vessel to a new location in Marahau, teaming up with Kahu Kayaks and Abel Tasman Stables.

Using our our formal education and vast local knowledge as a foundation, we are committed to enriching our knowledge at every turn. All of our tours have been researched and we have consulted with experts in botany, conservation, ornithology, marine biology and cultural history. We also pay this forward by offering all staff in the Abel Tasman the opportunity to come on a tour with us and learn about the ecology of this amazing place. We believe education is the key to change and we have written a referenced intepretation manual on ecology, conservation and history of the park that we provide to anyone interested free of charge. We are also involved in the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme, educating people on marine protection.

Aside from tourism, we are also part of the park’s conservation story, assisting in scientific surveys, pest control, research and education as well as our own initiatives. We are committed to supporting the community and conservation groups with raffle prizes, cash donations and providing our resources, time and expertise for the good of the community and environment. Please see our Environmental Policy for a list of our achievements to date.

We love the park and the wildlife that make this such a vibrant place. It is therefore in our interests to protect and preserve it. We are fiercely protective of the marine reserve and keep our eyes on any suspicious behaviour. We discourage the taking of any shells or biological matter from nature on our tours. We have developed our own mammal watching protocols and have become the only DoC SMART operator in the park, responsibly viewing marine mammals.

Our vessel Zeehaen is a rejuvenated water taxi; given a new lease of life by Eco Tours. She is a 7.5m Osprey alloy pontoon boat. Locally made, her sealed pontoons provide a comfortable ride and she is extremely seaworthy and built to withstand the local sea conditions. She is powered by a brand new four stroke 225hp Honda outboard, who’s economy, reliability and quietness make it the only commercial outboard choice in the Abel Tasman. Of course we would love to be the first in the park to pioneer electric and solar propulsion options and will endeavour to do so when the technology meets our requirements. We have just had her canopy and seats refitted for optimum comfort in all weather conditions.

Health and safety is one of our primary considerations, and we believe in delivering an impeccable safety culture to customers at all points on our tours. We pride ourselves on our safety record and strive to improve our standards by reviewing our systems twice yearly. We are audited by Maritime New Zealand and Outdoorsmark, to ensure that our safety systems are current and comply with all the relevant legislation. If you have encountered any hazards or discrepancies to this statement on our tours we encourage you to give us feedback so that we can rectify the situation for the future.


The Golden Future logo: dreamed up by Stew, made real by Sonia Forsey and polished by John Currin. Brochure and poster design by Mat Tait. Zeehaen was beautifully branded by Andy Lowe and Fred the Image Creators. …check the local talent!


Stew Robertson – Director

Stew Robertson is the founder of Golden Future. Originally from Scotland; he has lived and worked in the Abel Tasman area since 2002 and has transformed his passion for the area and the environment into a career. Marahau and the Abel Tasman National Park are the backdrop for his operation showcasing the magic of this incredible region. Stew has many years of commercial boating experience, holds a Diploma in Marine Studies from the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and a BSc (biological sciences) from the University of Waikato and is a certified scientific scuba diver. Keen to give something back to his home in Tasman Bay, Stew set up Golden Future Conservation Tours. Merging his fields of expertise, Stew is now an environmental educator, sharing the wonders of science and the beauty of the Abel Tasman with the public from his boat ‘Zeehaen’. Stew loves nothing more than sharing his passion and knowledge of this idyllic region. Book a tour with Abel Tasman Eco Tours and experience the slice of heaven that is the Abel Tasman National Park. Besides being a tour guide and educator, Stew also assists in co-ordinating community snorkelling events in the park. See our facebook page for the latest news and photos! . He assists in conservation projects such as relocating rare native birds, research and pest control programmes. He also consults with other companies on their ecological interpretation as well as conducting under-water scientific field work throughout New Zealand. He has also co-ordinated clean-up events both above and below the tide in the waters of the Abel Tasman.
Stew sits on the board of:

Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust

Tasman Bay Promotions Association

Wilderness Canoe Trust

Outside of work, Stew loves hanging out with his wife and kids, is an assistant coach at Motueka Judo, practices Sakura Kan Jujtsu, yoga, DJ’s at parties and generally loves having any sort of fun with his mates. Stew has made it onto the prospectus’s of both Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and University of Waikato.


Fay McKenzie – Head Guide

Helen Forsey – co-director / admin

We were very excited to welcome Fay MacKenzie to the crew in 2015, our first ever member of staff. You will meet Fay on ‘Promised Land’ and ‘Tasman Treasures tour’s. She is an amazing guide with vast outdoor experience. The park is her playground and she has also worked in the Wainui Valley as an outdoor education teacher at Motueka High School. We are very lucky to have a guide of this calibre, helping to take us to new heights in the eco-tourism world. Outside of work Fay loves getting into the outdoors with her family, mountain biking, is a soccer coaching advisor, RPM fitness instructor and a top jammer in the Sirens of Smash Roller Derby team. So don’t mess with this chicky.
Apart from being Stew’s long suffering wife, Helen is a force to be reckoned with. She expertly balances her duties within the company with full time study, family, sports and hobbies. Helen has just completed a Health Science degree majoring in environmental monitoring. She is also a qualified naturopath and personal trainer. She balances the books, manages the finances and man’s the phone. It is probably Helen you will speak to if you give us a ring. Outside of work Helen is most happy when on holiday in some hot country with nice food, in the garden, running all over the place or doing pirouettes on her roller skates. She is also an amazing roller derby jammer, although she’s focussing more on artistic skating at the moment, but swears she’ll go back to the team after she pulls off her first triple axle!


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