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Our Team

Unique, personalised tours by local Maori

We share our knowledge with our own people as well as visitors. Every guided tour of New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay region is a unique experience, an opportunity for you to gain an understanding of our people, and for us to learn about you. We’ll take you on an emotional journey of discovery through Hakikino, Te Mata Peak, The Celestial Compass and the greater Heretaunga area. Together, we’ll bring Maori history to life for you.

Core Team:

Robert MacDonald

Owner/Director and Visionary behind The Hakikino Conservation Reserve and Waimarama Maori Tours. Robert is a historian, writer and respected elder of his Ngati Kurukuru tribe. He was raised in the small coastal community of Waimarama where he still lives today. Robert is knowledgeable and articulate and an excellent and interesting story teller. With humour and grace, he shares his personal insights with you.

Ike Wallace

Director and Manager who ensures that the waka (canoe) doesn’t capsize and allowing everybody to do what they do best! Although he spends a lot of his time on the computer he relishes any opportunity he gets to spend time with our visitors and share our culture. He has returned home to Waimarama after being raised on a farm in Southland. He is the great-nephew of Robert MacDonald and grandson of Ira and Russell Deans.

Adele Mohi-McGoverin

Adele comes with a vast background and knowledge in Human Resources and Retail. She can often be found trawling through shops and meeting with local artisans to ensure that Hakikino always has the best products to offer our visitors. As well as managing our shop, Adele loves to spend time sharing stories of our culture and Hakikino with our visitors and is often found down by the eel pond. She has a beautiful singing voice and is an amazing cook!

Donna Keefe

Donna is always ready with a smile and a hug.  Donna is a fabulous mother, grandmother and friend. She is a cultural advisor to the teachers at Hastings Girls High School. She also runs a programme on cultural awareness for various employers. She shares the love of her culture with our visitors at Hakikino.

Helen Barlow

Helen joined the company at the beginning of 2017 and her passion and love for her culture make it easy for her to share it with our visitors. Helen is a kaumatua, an elder who resides here in the small coastal community of Waimarama where she has spent most of her married life and raised her four children.
Helen is always ready to greet you with her infectious smile and maybe even a song or two!

Marama Puhirere

Marama joined the team here at Waimarama Maori Tours upon returning home to New Zealand after spending 12 years overseas. She has an extensive background in Occupational Health and Safety and brings that knowledge with her into her current role here as our Health and Safety Officer.  Marama enjoys sharing her culture with our guests and in particular her knowledge of our native flora. Marama is Helen’s elder sister and both are Life Members of the Waipatu Maori Club; a cultural performing group.

Paddy Maloney

Born and raised in Hawkes Bay, Paddy spent all his summers as a teenager in Waimarama and fell in love with the place and the people.  He left with a dream of retiring to Waimarama one day.  In 1998 he and his wife Anne moved to Waimarama. Paddy has been involved since the beginning and is our eel expert.  He is our voice of reason.

Anne Maloney

The first place Paddy wanted Anne to see when he brought her home was Waimarama. That resulted in something else they could share – a love of Waimarama and the people.  Anne has been involved since the beginning and has at one time or another done every job – but currently focuses her efforts on marketing.

Ira Deans

Ira is a kaumatua, an elder and a sister to Robert. She has been involved with Hakikino in some capacity for a number of years. Ira moved to Southland at a young age where she raised her family and now as a semi-retired school teacher, she and her husband Russell return to Waimarama for most of their summer holidays. She loves spending time at Hakikino sharing her knowledge and culture. Ira is Ike’s grandmother.

Russell Deans

Russell is a kaumatua, an elder, and married to Ira (Robert’s sister). He has spent many years supporting Hakikino and returns every summer with his wife, Ira to Waimarama. Russell along with Ira are always busy supporting their mokopuna (grandchildren) and can often be found on the sidelines of a rugby match. He loves spending time at Hakikino and always ensures that our visitors are well looked after. Russell and Ira are our ‘time-keepers’ and always ensure that our visitors are never late back to port! He is Ike’s grandfather.

Honourary Team:

Denise Prentice

Retired Director. Denise has always been our ‘camp mother’. She is a super hostess and provides timely advice and direction when it is required. She is a very much loved Mum and Nan, and has an uncanny way of pulling people together at a moments notice for all kinds of working bees. She can still keep us in line, and we all know that if she asks something of us, it must be important.

Tyla Te Whaiti

Tyla supported the vision of his Uncle Robert in the creation and preservation of the Hakikino Conservational Reserve and is a founding team member. He thoroughly enjoyed sharing his knowledge with our guests and would often be our fierce warrior ready to challenge the visitors; even if he always had a huge smile! Tyla has moved on to further study of carpentry and hopes to secure an apprenticeship shortly. We wish him well for the future!

The Hokianga Family

Alayna, Thompson and their 5 children are a busy family!  They each have their own traditional skills and talents. Thompson is a carver, tattooist, musician and expert in traditional Maori musical instruments.  Alayna specialises in cultural song and dance. Together they run the Te Aka Charitable Trust in Flaxmere – and they provide after school cultural programmes for children in Flaxmere. They are both very involved in their community of Flaxmere. You can see more about the Trust on their  facebook page

Those We Have Lost:

Glenn MacDonald

Sadly, Glenn passed away this year (2018) shortly after relocating he and his wife to Christchurch to be near his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had supported his brother Robert’s dream in the creation and preservation of the Hakikino Conservation Reserve. His cheeky sense of humour and his presence is sorely missed by all!

Davis Te Whaiti

Sadly in 2017 we lost Davis who was a kaumatua, an elder. He had returned home to live in Waimarama after many years of working and raising a family in Hastings. Hakikino truly benefited from his experience and steady hand. He is sorely missed

Ben Keefe

Sadly in 2012 we lost Ben who was with us from the very first days at Hakikino. His wife Donna and their children are still with us, and he would be so proud of that. Ben was our musical expert, sharing his knowledge of taongo puoro with our guests. He lived the vision of the Hakikino Conservation Reserve and put so much effort into helping realise the dream.