Meet the guides

Our canyoning guides all have many years of experience in the outdoors. Meet the fun and friendly team who look forward to sharing the experience with you.

Wayne Darlington - Weno

Wayne started training in vertical rope systems & guiding in the Summer of 1995 and began taking crazy but willing participants into the vertical caving environment of the great Waitomo Caves.This saw him guiding some of New Zealand's most spectacular cave systems and various canyons in NZ and Europe. It wasn't long before Wayne was dragged into the office in the position of Operations Manager of one of New Zealand's leading caving companies. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Waitomo region but his dream of leading & guiding for a company that was his own was realised, and so he teamed up with his good mate and Adventure colleague Russ - the two purchased Canyonz and the journey began of making it their own and delivering a product they could be truly proud of.

When Wayne is not guiding he teaches Rope Rescue skills along with Outdoor First Aid. He is an Outdoor Assessor and is qualified in Industrial Rope Work as well as Adventure Guiding & Instructing.

Russell Hodgson - Russ

Russell has always had a passion for New Zealand's great outdoors and a desire to have others share that passion with him. The chance to share this with people came in 1999 when an opportunity arose to train further and gain some quality skills in vertical rope rescue, height safety, and risk management. Russ 'the muss' showed an excellent aptitude for working with people at heights which led to him becoming the Training Manager for the same leading New Zealand adventure caving company in Waitomo as his ol' mate Weno. Russell has guided and instructed people in height safety systems in New Zealand and all over the world. He also teaches outdoor first aid, rope rescue, and adventure guiding amongst a raft of other activities.
Russ has a natural ability to effectively reassure the less adventurous... and find challenges for the more confident thrill seekers.

He is pleased to say he loves 'going to work'; not that playing in a canyon all day can be considered "work!" In his spare time Russ can be found mountain biking, wakeboarding, or somewhere outdoors, often accompanied by his wife.

Russ has qualifications in Rope Access, Rescue, and Outdoor Assessment. With NZQA, IRAANZ and NZOIA quals to his name, you know you are safe with Russ.

Teri Brown - 'T'

Teri or T joins the team with over a decade of guiding experience. After working together since 1999 in the world of Cave Guiding and Adventuring T has been a key part in Canyonz after guiding with us since we took over in 2012. She has an infectious laugh and smile and will frequently have the whole crew laughing without even knowing what they are laughing at!

Teri is currently studying Te Reo Maori (Maori language) at Te Wananga o Aotearoa learning institution in Kirikiriroa Hamilton and she loves getting into the canyon whenever she can.

Be warned... she is a hugger!

Anna Crafar

Having worked with Anna since 2004 in Vertical guiding circles we
trust and love Anna – Her ‘Gladness’ is infectious and her love of
canyoning and the outdoors is clear to see. With a history of Cave
Guiding in Waitomo for 9 years before working with our mates at Deep
Canyons in Wanaka (a great company by the way) we're stoked to have her
back up north. When she's not playing in the Canyon she's been hanging
out at local beaches with her man J-rad and her lovely little lady Eva!
Anna holds current NZOIA Canyoning qualifications as well as a raft of NZQA Certs in Vertical Cave guiding and instruction.


Alex Petherick

Alex – After five back to back winters Ski Patrolling between here in Aotearoa and the northern hemisphere (Canada) we’re stoked he’s opted to hang around for a summer (or three) and stoked he’s chosen to spend time in the canyon with us showing clients the time of their lives! With a background in rescue and technical rope work it’s great to know if anything did ever go wrong you’re in safe hands with Alex.

Gav Smith

Big G unit! Whilst Gav looks like a bit of a hard man he is the friendliest guy out there. Also having worked with Wayne, Russ, T and Anna since 2005 when he returned from living in the UK to get back to the outdoor lifestyle! Gav currently lives down near Waitomo where he guides in some of Waitomo's finest adventure caves, he also guides/ instructs both Rock climbing and Caving out near Raglan where he can typically be found charging in the surf from around 5:00am! Despite his lack of love for horses he's been frequenting the horse trekking arena given his love for his two daughters who have forced him into it! Great to have Gav in our Canyonz Whanau.

Shanan Fraser

Shanan has a long history working and playing in New Zealand’s outdoors
having previously spent much of his time caving, climbing and kayaking
until one day he saw the light, converted to canyoning and has been
hooked ever since! Shanan holds a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation
Leadership, NZOIA Rock 1 and Canyon 1 and Juggles a full time job as a
firefighter to work as a Canyon Guide and Contract Outdoors Instructor
and is also an active member of CaveSAR. He lives with His wife Leesa
and son Liam in Auckland.

Sara Reidie

While young enough to make the rest of us feel pretty old!! (except maybe Alex) Sara brings a much needed fresh pair of eyes to Canyonz. With an ability to pick up technical skills and an ability to put 'freaking out clients' at ease with her relaxed nature it's great to have Sara in our team!

Sara has completed an outdoor education qualification here in NZ before guiding for NZ's largest caving company as well as other canyoning companies here and abroad, so she has plenty of experience to keep you safe. She's currently in Japan learning a few new tricks and hopefully mastering the use of chopsticks!

Bree Hindmarsh

Bree had come home to Aotearoa after being abroad in Canada for a couple of years where she was working with clients in high rope courses and similar activities. She jumped at the chance to work with the Canyonz team and she's fitted right in. Sadly she's off at the end of summer to study up in marine biology. Hopefully she'll come back to us!

Contact us

Free phone: 0800 422 696 (0800 4CANYONZ)
Outside of New Zealand: +64 21 456 682 or +64 21 478 471
Email: info@canyonz.co.nz

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