Meet The Team

Our team

We employ guides who, like us, are professionally experienced sea kayakers with a personal commitment and passion for conservation and kayaking. We all love the ocean, are our best selves when sea kayaking and love to share our skills and local knowledge of the region with our visitors.

 Each season the team participates in a detailed training program specific to the Hauraki Gulf, it’s conditions and unique marine environment, ready to provide the optimal guiding experience for your trip.

All instruction and skills are taught to our guests prior to getting on the water, ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip. And with small group sizes – visitors will get to know our guides personally, allowing the opportunity to learn from the experience. So don’t be shy – come and join us.

Nic Mead

Owner / Operator & Sea Kayak Guide

Nic grew up on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf and spent the first 18 years of his life exploring, paddling, sailing, diving and fishing through out the Hauaki Gulf. University brought Nic to the south island and upon completion gained a job sea kayak guiding in Fiordland in the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Site located in the south west corner of the South Island.

During a climbing trip to Pakistan, Nic landed a Sea Kayak Guide job in Western Norway which kept him there for 5 years before heading back home to start Auckland Sea Kayaks in 2010.

He is seen most days in a kayak and after spending many years overseas he loves showing off his backyard to locals and tourists. He is involved in many local conservation projects and training towards the Yukon River Quest a 715 km race in Canada in 2020.

Email: nic@aucklandseakayaks.co.nz

Nic Mead Owner Operator of Auckland Sea Kayaks

Daniel O’Connor

Operations and head guide

Daniel has been with Auckland Sea Kayaks for 5 years . He is a passionate outdoors person, with a keen focus on protecting and regenerating our local environment. In a previous life he worked as a site engineer for large construction companies. He found paddle and made the transition into the outdoor guiding industry.

Daniel brings with him a level of organisation, attention to detail and wealth of sea kayaking skills and knowledge gleaned from paddling around the world. 

His passion for sea kayaking and being in wild and remote places have seen him paddle and guide in some remote and stunning places in Patagonia, British Columbia, Scottish Isles, dynamic waters off the Isle of Man, fjords of Norway, Wilson’s Promontory, Australia and of course his favourite Great Barrier Island in NZ. 

Daniel is a sponsored paddler for NDK kayaks.

In July, 2019 Daniel paddled around Vancouver Island, Canada and can be seen on his Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lifeandtimesofdan/

Email: ops@aucklandseakayaks.co.nz

Daniel O'Connor Head guide and Operations Auckland Sea Kayaks

Eric Webster

Eric exchanges one form of H2O for another when the seasons change. Sea Kayaking for the summer seasons for Auckland Sea Kayaks and ski patrolling in the winter at Takino ski field, on the eastern face of Mount Ruapehu, in the central area of the North Island.

A paramedic and soil scientist by trade he can not only inform you on all the tree species he can tell a good story about the many solo sea kayak expeditions he has been on through out the Hauraki Gulf.

Auckland Sea Kayaks Guide Eric Webster

Tom Groothuizen

Tom is an interesting chap. Born and raised in Auckland and is normally seen on very very windy days windsurfing when know one else dares to go out.

Tom left New Zealand right out of high school and cycled from northern Alaska to the southern tip of South America before cycling from South Africa to Egypt.  When you think this was not enough, Tom built a canvas kayak in Sweden and paddled it to southern Europe. This was followed by him cycling from Sweden to Vladivostok, far eastern Russia. Clocking up 50, 000 km cycling around the globe.

Tom has just got back from walking across the Mongolia with two horses and looking forward to a summer back home in Auckland.

TOM GROOTHUIZEN Auckland Sea Kayaks

Logan Armstrong

Logan has been with Auckland Sea Kayaks from our inception and deserves much of the credit for Auckland Sea Kayaks becoming an award winning company. His friendly manner, professionalism and attention to safety means he has guided hundreds of people through out the Hauraki Gulf with 5 star reviews.

Logan has completed a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation focusing on Outdoor Education. As a keen sea kayaker Logan has done many solo paddling expeditions including a solo unsupported circumnavigation of Great Barrier Island.

Logan Armstrong sea kayak guide auckland sea kayaks

Lara Hudson

Lara has a life time of expeditions. She has been guiding North of the Arctic Circle for many years, originally dog sled guiding in Svalbard and then kayaking guiding in the Lofoten Islands in Norway. She is coming closer to home for another south pacific summer.

Lara Hudson

Mo (Andrew) Kennedy

‘Mo’ is a veteran sea kayak guide who started guiding on the Coromandel back in 2002 and has been with Auckland Sea Kayaks since 2014. He is a qualified emergency medic and world-class white water paddler. Mo is always on an adventure, full of energy and one of the best kayak instructors in the industry.  He is a senior kayak instructor at WERO, Auckland’s artificial White Water Park, and kayaked full-length of Fiordland in 2017.

Mo Kennedy Auckland Sea Kayaks

Ocean Belcher

Digital content

Ocean is creative manager responsible for the website and digital marketing for Auckland Sea Kayaks. She previously worked for Tourism New Zealand and is committed to ensuring visitors to New Zealand get as excited about the country as she does. When she’s not paddling with us, you’ll find her sailing competitively or catching a few waves on her longboard.

Email: marketing@aucklandseakayaks.co.nz

ocean mead digiatl auckland sea kayaks

Safety Standards
The safety and well-being of our staff, clients and the environment in which we operate is fundamental to our business. We are members of the Sea Kayak Operators Association of New Zealand (SKOANZ); and strictly comply with their Code of Practice and Operating Procedures. We operate with Department of Conservation concessions and Auckland Council permits, and are also active members of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand. In tandem with this, we also work closely with regional environmental organisations.

Environmental Stance
Auckland Sea Kayaks is an inherently environmentally friendly business, taking advantage of the Hauraki Gulf’s natural wonder. The philosophy of the company is based around protecting, enhancing and educating our guests about our environment. We have the opportunity to educate our guests, both domestic and international, about the uniqueness of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and how making this a protected marine environment has made a positive change on the area.