About Us

Pōhatu Penguins is a family-run business with a long-standing history of protecting the Kororā (Little Penguin) in Pōhatu Bay on the family farm.

Pōhatu Penguins is a family- owned and operated eco- tourism business with 30+ years history of advocating and helping to fund the protection of Kororā (Little Penguin) on the family farm in Pōhatu/Flea Bay. Our guides are all conservationists, friends and family - with years of working in penguin conservation, a passion for sharing their stories and a wealth of local knowledge passed down several generations.

When the Helps family first began their conservation work the penguins faced massive challenges that threatened their very existence. These challenges included predation via introduced predators such as dogs, cats, ferrets and stoats, gill net fishing and other human disturbances. Colonies around Banks Peninsula declined at an alarming rate and most disappeared altogether. Through predator trapping, monitoring, rehabilitation and immense dedication the family has stabilized the Pōhatu colony and it grew for many years to become the largest of its kind on mainland New Zealand!

In addition to their penguin conservation work the Helps family have also, for many years, protected native forests and other endemic species. Their work helped found the award-winning Wildside Conservation Project.

To this day, the family continues to be leaders in conservation and have recently received the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of their work.

Their efforts continue to be funded via Pōhatu Penguins’ tours so when purchasing a tour, clients have a positive input on our little Kororā.

Small group tours run from Akaroa over one of the most scenic back country roads by 4WD van to Pōhatu/ Flea Bay and Pōhatu marine reserve, a beautiful sheltered bay out on the wild south eastern corner of Banks Peninsula and home to the largest Little Penguin Colony on mainland New Zealand with over 1500 penguins breeding there.

In 2020 we have also created the Helps Pōhatu Conservation trust in order to extend the much needed research to better understand populations trends and their foraging habitat.
You can also help us out helping them by visiting our trust page above or symbolically Adopt a penguin.
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As a business and a team, we are all committed to:

As a business and a team, we are all committed to:
  • Continue protecting Kororā/Little Penguins at Pōhatu and the wider Banks Peninsula through predator control, rehabilitation of injured birds and weekly monitoring of the colony
  • Continue to aspire being a true leader in regenerative tourism
  • Continue to advocate for the protection of New Zealand native species through our tours and outreach with schools and communities
  • Continue to support Governmental and Regional advocacy for a better New Zealand for now and future generation such as the Tiaki promise
  • Continue to be involved in our community and support local events
  • Continue to advocate for regenerative farming principles and sustainable fibers
  • Continue to work with the Department of Conservation and advocate for a regenerative tourism promoting good practices around wildlife with the SMART program
  • Continue to strengthen our relationship with our local Runanga
  • Shireen Helps profile image
    Owner and founder
    Shireen Helps
  • Kevin Parthonnaud profile image
    General Manager
    Kevin Parthonnaud
  • Joey Cataliotti Valdina Del Grano profile image
    Nature guide and Lead conservation education ranger
    Joey Cataliotti Valdina Del Grano
  • Averil Parthonnaud profile image
    Nature guide and penguin rehabber
    Averil Parthonnaud
  • Geraldine Guillemot Peacock profile image
    Nature guide and Adopt a penguin manager
    Geraldine Guillemot Peacock
  • Benoit Navarron profile image
    Nature and Sea-kayaking lead guide
    Benoit Navarron
  • Vila Kasikova profile image
    Sea-kayaking guide and Trapper
    Vila Kasikova