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What people feel about Myths and Legends Ecotours in the Marlborough Sounds.

Tena koutou nga taringa o te ao.
Greetings to all listening throughout the world.

Ecotours School Cruise

"Hi Pete and Takutai
Thought it was about time I dropped you a line to thank you for all your hard work and efforts in making the year 8 trip so informative, fun and such an adventure. They are still buzzing from the whole experience....there was so much packed in to the 3 days that they will remember for many years to come. Being based on the Tutanekai made a real point of difference from other school trips and was a whole new experience for most of the kids. "

Penny Henderson
Ohaka School


"This is the best outdoor education programme I have encountered and I warmly recommend it to all schools. If a school is looking for a programme which will deliver
not only valuable experiences for children but genuine educational value as well, this is it. The learning acquired on this trip is deep, broad and meaningful.

Pete and Takutai are superb hosts, and make everyone feel very welcome. They relate brilliantly to young and old and are passionate about what they offer and what they have to impart.

The journey aboard Tutanekai is very comfortable as the travellers island hop around Queen Charlotte Sound. Pete’s commentary is continuous and easy listening, full of fascinating geography, science, history, and environmental education. He delivers his information with expertise, involving the children constantly.

Takutai was our guide on the land. She is the epitomy of Maori hospitality and her knowledge and love of the natural environment is infectious. Our walks with her through the bush on various islands were very special times. We got up close with birds and animals we sadly never encounter on the mainland and did our best not to disturb the peace and tranquility.

From Tutanekai we encountered dusky and Hectors dolphins, king shags, seals, and gannets. We met the legendary Betty Rowe and her Arapawa goats, sheep and pigs
- what an amazing woman she is. We viewed innumerable historical sites and heard the fascinating stories around them.

Accommodation was brilliant, especially the teepees and we were quite happy catering for ourselves. It was a huge bonus to be able to stay at the beautiful Waikawa Marae, to experience tikanga Maori, and meet the tangata whenua and hear their stories.

I have made three trips now with school groups and each trip was unforgettable. It was uplifting to see our children respond to the people they met and to the environment, with respect and enjoyment. All New Zealand children need an experience like this. Kia ora rawa atu Pete and Takutai. Kia kaha tonu."

Mike Davey
St. Albans School


"My name is Grant Hakaria and I am the kaiako(teacher) of the senior class in Te Tikanga Rua Reo o Hato apani (St Albans School Maori Bilingual Unit) based in Christchurch. The focus for our tamariki is always to speak and learn in Maori. Matua Pete (Uncle Pete) and Whaea Takutai (Aunty Takutai) with their wealth of knowledge and understanding of te ao Maori (the Maori world) have provided an opportunity and experience that our Bilingual Unit have not been able to find anywhere else. The children came away with a better respect and understanding of their environment. This philosophy made a real connection with our tamariki and our Maori beliefs. Whaea Takutai would kerero (talk) to the tamariki in Maori, which helped us stick within our kaupapa (focus: learning and speaking in te reo Maori). While Matua Pete and Whaea Takutai both provided us with the history and knowledge of the area. This experience was not successful by their knowledge alone. It was also made possible through the connections they allowed us to make with the local people of the Queen Charlotte Sounds (Totaranui). Some highlights expressed by the tamariki were staying in the tipee village and visiting the Arapawa wildlife Sanctuary. These experiences alone made the trip fantastic, but including the fact that you travel regularly to different islands daily was also amazing.
I am extremely recommending that all schools should undertake this Eco-tour. The benefits of learning about the environment and its implications for the future and that of the Maori history shared from both Maori and Pakehe perspectives are invaluable. So true is this that I will be booking this tour again next year."

Grant Hakaria

Kaiako o Te Tikanga Rua Reo
Hato apani

76 Moenui Bay
R.D. 1

Dear Pete & Takutai

"I am writing to thankyou both so much for a wonderful trip on “Tutanekai” last Thursday. My children & I enjoyed everything about it, it rates amongst the best trips we’ve had. I was particularly impressed with the commentary and the obvious love you both have for the Sounds. The kids learnt heaps about conservation. I was also impressed with the dignity & courtesy with which you treated the kids on board – little people loved to be talked “ to” not” down to” & I think this was a big part of their enjoyment.
Well done too for putting life jackets on them the first time that has ever happened for us (& we’ve been on plenty of boat trips!)
We’ll definitely come again!

Kind regards
Anna Ballerby

To Whom it may Concern

"During the second week of March Whataroa’s senior class had the unique pleasure of visiting the Marlborough Sounds with Pete and Takutai on their Myths and Legends eco tour. It was the tour of a life time, fabulous beyond words and wonderfully educational. The students were absolutely entranced with the legends and historical stories told by Uncle Pete. They learned about whaling in Queen Charlotte Sound, Captain Cook’s voyages to the area, early Maori life in the area and several Maori legends about places in the Sounds. Uncle Pete also showed and talked about the impact of mankind on the sounds and demonstrated ecological changes that have happened in the area because of man. Auntie took the children on two awe inspiring walks; one over Arapawa Island and a second over part of the Queen Charlotte Great Walk. On each walk she talked about the plant and animal life with the children, encouraging them to learn to identify the birds and vegetation native to the area. Of special joy was the visit to the beautiful bird sanctuary, with Auntie leading the children on a"silent walk” to listen to the birdsong without remembering that unique visit.
Thanks to Uncle Pete and Auntie Takutai the children had the opportunity to “drive a boat”, laugh at seals sunning themselves on rocks, wonder at the ecological impact of marine farming and the ferry and learn the horrors of early whaling. The warmth and kindness of Pete and Takutai was reflected in their care of the children; lifejackets for everyone, great wholesome meals and an overall atmosphere of genuine caring from guides who love what they do and enjoy sharing it with children. Truly, it was the best camp I have ever been on and I have been teaching for over 30 years. So much fun and so much learning. Tied to the curriculum in so many areas too; social studies, science and Te Reo of course. I can only hope we get to go back in the future so that our younger children can experience this rare treat!

Sherry ,
Senior Class Teacher
Whataroa School



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