Meet the team

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  Owner and founder of the business. I am a fourth generation farmer on Banks peninsula and when I grew up penguins were in every bay. When my husband and I moved to Pohatu there were heaps of penguins but as the years rolled on we discovered the populations were dropping all around the peninsula and that we were lucky to have some left. We decided to do something to assure the penguins remained here in good numbers. A quick look around the hills and we realized that the main reason for the population decrease was the introduction of land predators such as Ferrets and Stoats.Trapping has been a huge job through some pretty extreme country but after years of trapping we are now able to see the result of an increase of population of well over 50% and that has been a great reward for effort for us.
 As penguins are unfortunately easily disturbed by people we found we needed to control public access so I set up the penguin tours. This enables us to view the Penguins in a way that minimizes impact and also brings in much needed revenue to continue our conservation work.
Slowly the business grew and activities have been added on, from Evening penguin tours 24 or 48 hour accommodation packages, land based tours and sea-kayaking.  I believe that there is now an option for all to enjoy and I truly hope that coming with us on one of our tours will enable you to experience the love we have for the place, and the wildlife that call Pohatu home.

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   I am Shireen’s niece and I have been lucky enough to spend pretty much all my childhood holidays at Pohatu/Flea bay.
Animal lover I very soon show interest into helping and taking care of penguins. And one day Shireen offered me to start working with her, just the 2 of us at first which was really enriching as we were making the business grow and a lot had to be done.

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  Born in France, I always love to look at birds and watch their behaviour. After my study in conservation and eco-tourism, I spent a lot of time in contact with different birdwatchers and scientists allowing me to increase my knowledge about these animals.
I love to go outside with my camera and shoot the wildlife that surrounds us. I am a traveller who drop my backpack to the beautiful country that New Zealand is. Here I can practice my two specials skills: birding and kayaking.

  Mother of two and daughter of Francis and Shireen Helps, 5th generation, Akaroa. Growing up in Flea Bay as a child I have always had a special relationship with little penguins. As a child I learned to sleep to the sound of their calls as several pairs were nesting underneath the floor boards of my bedroom and also in the outside toilet. Frequently after a very bad sea storm, our kitchen would act as a recovery ward for injured of under nourished penguins.
I am very proud of the conservation work that both my parents have done over the years to insure the survival of this special little bird and I am happy to share their story and my beautiful home with everyone on our tours.

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  I am another French frog that has been trapped inside Akaroa volcano.
After my environmental studies in France the call of the travel was in me and I arrived in New Zealand in January 2009 with a Working Holiday visa and 3 words of English.
When I discovered Pohatu/Flea bay, I thought I reached heaven. Shireen took me on a kayaking trip straight away on a still sea. We went in every single sea-cave we could find. What a place!
Overtime love found its place and Averil’s charm was the last thing that made me decide on staying.
What else could I ask for? A stunning isolated area where I could kayak, help the environment and the wildlife found around.


   Born and raised in the Loire Valley in France, I traveled few years in different parts of the world (mainly on Islands!) before arriving to New Zealand in 2009. It was meant to be for a year... It has been now 6 years! I just fell in love with this beautiful country and its inhabitants... well, especially one! After working in health, hospitality and education, I was very happy last year to join the enthusiastic and passionate team of Pohatu penguins.  You will see me mainly at the shop/office, sometimes with my little helper!


  • Pohatu Package
  • Penguin Tours
  • Sea Kayaking Tours
  • Scenic Nature Tours

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Contact Us 

icon location Wildside Booking Office,
8/2 Rue Balguerie, Akaroa
New Zealand
icon phone 03 304 8542
icon mobile 021 246 9556
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