Operator Conservation Tour Guide, Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson, New Zealand
- Bachelor of Science
- Biological Sciences
Waikato Biological Sciences graduate Stewart Robertson has used his scientific knowledge and entrepreneurial vision to create an idyllic lifestyle for himself as an owner/operator conservation tour guide in the Abel Tasman National Park.
“A typical day for me involves greeting each of my tour groups with a presentation on ecology and conservation themes. We then board my boat ‘Zeehaen’ and embark on a voyage of discovery around the iconic Abel Tasman National Park. We explore intertidal areas, soft and rocky shores, open sea, island bird sanctuaries, tidal inlets and seal colonies. The day is broken up with lunch at Anchorage beach and a two hour guided walk around Pitt Head mainland ecological island.”
This venture did not come out of the blue. Stewart spent last summer working as a senior water taxi skipper for Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi, which included sustainability consulting. He continues to act as a sustainability manager and skipper for Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi alongside his own company.
Stewart says he not only has high hopes for the success of his business, Golden Future Environmental Ltd, but also for the level that he can contribute to the environment and wider community.
“Five percent of my proceeds from the tours are going to the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, a community based conservation group. I hope to achieve significant results for them as well as expanding my activities to deliver conservation messages to school and community groups.”
While eco-tourism is his core business, Stewart also provides scientific research services to organisations such as Waikato University. In the past he has worked as a scientific diver for the University and specialist dive contractors Dive NZ on the Rena response, plus he has worked as a scientific diver for Waikato University and the Department of Conservation at Kapiti Island.
Stewart finished his studies at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus just last year. He began his studies with a two-year Diploma of Marine Studies through the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and continued on to a third year of study with Waikato University; crediting his diploma towards a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biological Sciences.