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Meet our Experts!

Travel is better when it is customized. It's more personal, more rewarding and more fun!

Providing knowledge, personality and experience when travelling with a local guide, Aroha NZ Luxury Tour guides are highly trained passionate Kiwis, hand-picked for much more than their ability to drive. They are well-versed in the culture, flora, fauna and the history of New Zealand. Our guides are trained in first aid and above all they’ll make sure everything is running smoothly behind the scenes to ensure you can relax and enjoy your trip. All guides and drivers hold Passenger Endorsement licences, Pro Guides memberships and First Aid certificates, as well as having a permit to operate guiding activities on Public Conservation Land.

We are joined by an exceptional team of local field guides and experts. Our outdoors specialists all have significant knowledge in their  fields and we do not hesitate to recommend their services as they have been valued partners.

Director - Owner

German speaking

Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides Aroha Luxury New Zealand Tours is owned and operated by Veronika Vermeulen, the person you can expect to greet you upon arrival in this country. Whether in the company of Veronika or one of her hand-selected guides you will feel personally assured you are in the best hands this country has to offer. This European born "Kiwi" has earned her tour business an exceptional reputation as a leader in NZ's tourism trade, both here and abroad. She says she found an inner rapport with New Zealand’s abundant water, flora, fauna, and last, but not least, its people - especially the native Maori and the richness of their culture. "The traditions of the Maori are intensely intriguing, their lifestyle, their relationship with nature and family orientation all appeal to me", Veronika reflects, finally adding…"Here, I can truly be myself." Her love and passion for elite travel in New Zealand is infectious. “I listen to my clients’ requests carefully to develop an understanding of their wishes. And, in the end, they trust me to design their personal holiday", she says with a smile. “The beauty of new Zealand”, she says, “is that we still have generous access to its natural abundance and unique experiences. It is the most extraordinary playground on earth!” And, for Veronika this is perfect travelling. She says to see nature from all perspectives - whether by aircraft, boat, car or walking - allows her guests a truly unique encounter. Veronika recently married a dairy farmer and lives on a 600ha farm with 1200 milking cows.

Office Support - Administration

Wanaka/Central Otago

Sarah has a background in administration and a degree in Business and Tourism. She has worked in both the private and public sectors in both the UK and NZ. 
“I originally came to New Zealand for a holiday after seeing the stunning scenery in the first Lord of the Rings film and fell in love with the country. Within 6 months I had returned on a working holiday to explore all that New Zealand has to offer. I then decided to leave the UK and make the move here permanently and have now called NZ home for the last 10 years. I am currently living in beautiful Wanaka with my partner and 2 children.”


Our Personal Guides

German-French-Spanish-Hebraic speaking (Horticulturist)
Jurgen Wagner - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides
Born in Trier, Germany's oldest city, Jurgen has a passion for history. From early childhood he enjoyed working with international visitors in his grandparents B&B on the famous Mosel River. He had his first job as a tour guide in Jerusalem, Israel, where he worked as a volunteer with the German Peace Corps. After guiding for twenty years in all continents, Jurgen gained an international diploma in tourism and worked as destination manager for leading German tour operators."I fell in love with New Zealand on my first visit in 1989 - I have travelled and walked extensively exploring the awesome sights this country has to offer. My passion is to share all I have experienced by guiding small groups. Aroha Tours is a great company “to get off the beaten track” - we offer a back stage pass to this beautiful country with all possible comfort to make your holiday unforgettable." Jurgen lives in Christchurch when not on the road. He is currently studying horticulture and also works as a Nature Guide at the Botanical gardens in Christchurch. Apart from English and German he is quite fluent in French and Spanish and has a basic knowledge of Hebrew.


(Musician, Luxury B&B owner)
Wanaka/Central Otago

Stephen Hols - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

Stephen had a long career as a musician in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra but the lure of the beautiful mountains of the South Island were such that a few years ago he moved with his wife to live in Wanaka. Since then he has driven and guided for several companies. He is passionate about the area and has a great knowledge and stories to share, in particular about Central Otago and the West Coast. Stephen is committed to helping others to enjoy the region and loves the company of visitors from other countries. He has travelled overseas many times and driven throughout Europe on countless occasions. "I can’t think of a better way to spend a day than with good company and beautiful New Zealand passing by!"

(Snow sports Instructor)
Wanaka/Central Otago

Andrew Millson - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

Andrew was born in the countryside of old England, but grew up in his early years in the mountains of Germany & Austria. Some years later he returned back to the British Isles where his passion for the countryside began, by growing up on a small farm surrounded by the South Downs Nation Park, in those early years learning the ways of the countryside from old gamekeepers. Andrew’s love for all things country lead him on the agriculture collage, where he obtained qualifications in Estate management, Conservation & Game Management. After leaving collage this profession has taken him all over England, Scotland, and Europe utilising his varied knowledge in this line of work. In more recent years Andrew has worked all over the World more in an advisory capacity, helping to develop and link sustainability between farming, forestry, shooting and conservation, primarily specialising in driven game. Part of this role was also advising on the purchasing potential of sporting estates and farming land. In the past 10 years he has been able to run this alongside his other great love skiing and guiding and spending more time in the mountains and snow, than out. Andrew holds the highest qualifications in ski instruction from New Zealand and Austria with International recognition from the (ISIA) International Snowsports Instructor Alliance in ski & snowboard. Andrew has worked in many world-class resorts and has been involved with prestigious clients from all over the world, as an instructor and guide, helping private clients and families get more out of their skiing and time in the mountains. Andrew is a professional guide who will help you relax and get the most from your New Zealand Experience.

Auckland/North and Central North Island

Steve Duncan - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

Steve has spent most of his working life in general management positions with large public companies. His last role was representing New Zealand’s famous wool products to customers around the world, which involved regular travel to many different countries including Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe. This international exposure enables Steve to easily relate to the many overseas guests who tour with Aroha Travel, and to share and compare their culture with the New Zealand way of life.
Participating in a variety of outdoor activities has always been a normal lifestyle for Steve. Today his recreation time is spent on or near the sea as a fisherman, as well as enjoying the countryside by bike and by foot. These interests take him all over New Zealand, which enables an easy conversation with the people he hosts on the diversity of the country. Having seen much of the world Steve appreciates the magnificence New Zealand has to offer visitors. He not only enjoys proudly showing these sights to visitors, but equally enjoys getting to know the people who holiday and tour our great county.

(Area scout for LOTR, restaurateur)
Te Kuiti/Waikato 

Bruce Maunsell - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides Bruce Maunsell is a New Zealander who lives on top of a remote hill overlooking the King Country in the central North Island, with his wife and two sons. His ancestors include Maori from the northern most parts of New Zealand, and an Irish missionary who translated the bible into Maori. Bruce has lived and travelled throughout his own country as well as around the world. His background includes time as a charter yacht skipper, sea kayak guide, futures trader with an investment bank, director of a forestry investment company and restaurateur. He has a fondness for fly fishing, cycling and exploring remote places, as well as fine food and wine. His love for New Zealand encompasses its history, ecology, and culture. He takes real pleasure in providing his guests with special experiences and excellent service, so working with Aroha Tours is an ideal opportunity to share these passion.

(Ex. Dept. of Conservation, Cave guide) 
Waitomo /Waikato

Kyle Barnes - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

Ross is an affable person who enjoys interaction with people of all cultures. He is committed to ensuring guests experience an authentic taste of New Zealand. His rich knowledge of New Zealand has been garnered over 40 years Guiding. Ross was born and raised on a Sheep and Beef farm in the foothills of the Southern Alps. In 1970 He discovered his passion as he was employed as a guide at the Waitomo Caves. While guiding he also worked at the Waitomo hotel. He left the caves to help a friend develop and open the Roselands Farm show and Restaurant where he spent a number of years conducting a farm shows and guiding a horse drawn cart ride to the restaurant. Ross then joined the Dept of Conservation where he was employed as a ranger. The Main focus of his Job was not only the protection of Native Flora and Fauna, but also the construction and design of walkways. 2 of his creations are rated in the top 10 short walks in New Zealand. During the 20 years at the Dept Ross and his Wife opened a B&B and animal petting farm and guided guests on bush walks. Ross then returned to cave guiding. This time helping to develop and open a new cave system on his Son’s property where he still can be found guiding today.

Our Partners

Mark Orbell
Owner/Ridgeline Adventures/Wanaka

Mark Orbell - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides Mark is a 6th generation New Zealander and has led adventure tours around the South Island of NZ for close to 20 years. These days
you'll find him in the hills behind picturesque Lake Wanaka running his own nature safari company - Ridgeline Adventures. Mark's passion is getting people off the beaten track and back to nature, exploring places only his company can take you. He's also an accomplished landscape photographer which goes hand in hand with the incredible environment he works in.

"If you're passing through Wanaka, please stop. You've just got to come and see this place, the scenery, history and heritage combined with a fun 4WD adventure through a real New Zealand farm. Pure New Zealand does not get better than this. You will be touched by the magic!"

Jonathan Larrivee
Chief Pilot/Fiordland helicopters/Te Anau

Jonathan Larrivee - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides
Jonathan has been flying helicopters for 20 years, accumulating over 10,000 hours of flight time – 7000 of which are in MD 500 series helicopters. Over half of his experience has been in wild animal capture and recovery, the remainder supporting commercial fishing boats, mineral exploration, seismic and survey operations. He spent a number of years flying overseas, mainly in Alaska. He is in his 6th year as chief pilot of Fiordland Helicopters, and he thinks a better job would be hard to find!

Tom Loughlin
Maori specialist/Lake Taupo

Tom Loughlin - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

"Ko Tauhara te maunga, Ko Waikato te awa, Ko Taupo te moana, Ko Ngati Tuwharetoa te iwi, Ko Ruingarangi te hapu, Ko Te Rangiita te whare tupuna, Noreira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa." 

Now you know where Tom comes from!   Tom has grown up in the outdoors and has come from a long line of Ngati Tuwharetoa, who have lived the life of harvesting and cooking food in Te ngahere, The Bush. This is where you will find Tom as your host, your guide and your friend. You will also be delighted to know that Tom has travelled extensively for over twenty years, honing his skills as a qualified chef, throughout the Pacific, Europe, UK, Australia and New Zealand. His 'The Kai Waho Experience' is the only Maori Cultural Activity that provides a detailed insight into Maori Kai (Food) and the outdoors where the Kai is harvested, preserved/cooked, and stored. Tikanga (Sacred rules) Karakia (Prayer), Kaitiakitanga (Guardian ship of guests), Manakitanga (Being the humble host). These are all what makes up The Kai Waho Experience. He mihi nui. 

Phil Robinson
Senior pilot/Air Safaris/Tekapo

Phil Robinson - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

Phil was born and brought up in the UK and moved to New Zealand almost 10 years ago, beginning his flying career in the hills and over the ocean at Kaikoura on the South Island’s East coast. A love of mountains since childhood steered him towards the scenic mountain flying that he now enjoys every day with Air Safaris, one of New Zealand’s original and largest scenic charter companies. Phil came to Air Safaris in 2006, and considers he has struck gold with a job that he loves, working with a great team in a place that he wants to live!

"The constantly changing weather patterns, the beauty and excitement of the terrain and the mixed fleet of fantastic aircraft are key attractions of the job, and the fact that our passengers are having a great time makes for a very happy environment in the aircraft cabin! Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realise how good I have it!" All Air Safaris pilots live and work either in Lake Tekapo in the rugged Mackenzie basin or in Franz Josef on the West Coast. A shared passion for aviation and for the outdoors keeps the team enthusiastic and keen to pass this on to all their passengers.


Chris Brennan
Fly fishing guide/Lake Taupo

Chris Brennan - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

Chris Brennan was born and bred in the Taupo region of New Zealand's North Island. His knowledge of local fly fishing waters and hunting areas is unparalleled. Chris has been guiding full time since the age of 17 and has forged relationships with large property owners in the area and has access to vast tracts of private land for your enjoyment. It's our philosophy that people make the experience, with Chris you get someone with a genuinely recognised reputation as a fishing and hunting guru. You also get a young man with a genuine passion, humility and desire to provide the ultimate experience for his guests.

Phill Barclay
Owner-Floatplane pilot/Volcanic Air/Rotorua

Phill’s role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of Volcanic Air. 

Phill Barclay - Aroha Luxury Tours personal guides

This includes ensuring all Standards and Procedures are properly adhered to and integrated into the operations of the business. Phill has extensive floatplane experience, has an instructor rating and trains all floatplane pilots. He is a qualified Multi-Engined Instrument Rated pilot. He is also responsible for the upkeep and R & M of the aircraft. Of late Phill has taken a liking to Golf and can be found on his days off swinging a Club at one of the many local Golf Courses.

Contact Us
Call: 00 64 21 890 611

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