International Women’s Day: Kiwi tourism operators should be proud
International certified fly fishing instructor Kylie Sargeant has been a guide at Owen River Lodge for six seasons. Photo / Provided
There are countless amazing wāhine working in New Zealand’s tourism industry. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we profile a handful of them.
1. Kylie SargeantOwen River Lodge, West Coast
Kylie Sargeant is New Zealand’s only International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) certified casting instructor and has worked at Owen River Lodge in Nelson for six seasons. Every year, she gives casting lessons to members of “Casting for Recovery” – a project for women who have experienced breast cancer and its various treatments. The lodge facilities are donated to the group each year. “Traditionally, fly fishing has been a male dominated sport, but here at Owen River Lodge we encourage everyone to take advantage of it,” says Sargeant. “Some of our guests first visit as non-fisherwomen, then after a lesson or two they have the confidence and basic skills to give it a try and many go on to enjoy fly fishing. We offer a positive and supportive environment for all.”
2. Vanessa McKayCarino Wildlife Cruises, Bay of Islands
Vanessa McKay, a passionate marine lawyer, runs Carino Wildlife Cruises, a small family business in Paihia in Te Pēwhairangi, Bay of Islands. The award-winning tourism company offers sailing tours and wildlife conservation experiences. Throughout the pandemic, the company has given children the opportunity to take an educational course, the Carino Marine Exploration Activity, promoting hands-on learning about critically endangered bottlenose dolphins in the Bay of Islands. . “I can be the voice of the ocean, its wildlife and my beautiful bay of islands,” McKay said. “By sharing my passion, I have an incredible opportunity to shape people’s experiences and, through nature, inspire them to make a difference in their world. Tourism has the power to bring us all together, and together we can really make a difference.”
3. Justine Ross Lake Hāwea Station, Queenstown
Justine was born into farming and, after training in journalism and speech therapy, founded New Zealand brand 42Below with her husband Geoff. She has been a trustee of a number of charities, including Play It Strange, and she and Geoff mentor many Kiwi start-ups. Now she’s left city life behind for a new adventure at Lake Hāwea Station, a historic New Zealand highland sheep and beef station in the Queenstown Lake District. The carbon positive farm is home to fine merino and angus wool cattle, as well as regenerative agriculture. Guests can stay on the property in one of two cottages (converted shepherds’ huts) and take advantage of the on-site hot tubs and 4×4 farm tours.
“I believe in the intuitive and nurturing ability of women; I also believe in their ability to boldly represent their values,” Ross says. “It works well in tourism when a woman represents her country or region as a host, creating experiences around her company’s unique offering. For us, it’s ecotourism and positive agriculture for the climate… we hope that lasting memories will be created in the Alps and foothills picnicking, watching a rally or planting trees. But above all, we hope that our guests will leave motivated to defend Papatūānuku, Mother Earth, and do what they can in the fight against climate change.
4. Jenny Dobson Vintner, Hawke’s Bay
Although she only started making wine in New Zealand in the late 1990s, Jenny Dobson is one of New Zealand’s most experienced winemakers. She spent 16 years in France, mainly in Burgundy and Bordeaux, and a season in Western Australia, before returning to New Zealand in 1996 and settling in Hawke’s Bay. After 12 years as head winemaker at the Te Awa estate, she is now a wine consultant and boutique producer, making New Zealand artisan wines. “Women play an important role in all aspects of the New Zealand wine industry,” says Dobson. “Having the opportunity to showcase and share our exceptional wines and the stories behind them with visitors, local and from further afield, brings me enormous pleasure and satisfaction.”
For more travel inspiration, head over to newzealand.com/nz.
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