The Kaikōura i-SITE is governed by an independent board, The Kaikōura Information and Tourism Incorporated (KITI) which is association that is overseeing the Kaikōura i-SITE Visitor Information Centre functions and finances. 


KITI consists of 10 voluntary board members elected by the Kaikōura i-SITE financial members and are nominated a term of 2 years. The board members are currently: Lynette Buurman (Chairperson), Chris Sturgeon (Deputy), Daniel Stevenson, Joanne James, Matt Foy, Neroli Gold, Paul Finney. Becky Harkess and Council Elected Board Members: Julie Howden & Lisa Bond. 


This passionate group of tourism and business professionals are generous with their time in assisting the Destination Kaikoura and I-site team to progress the key tourism messages for the region, and supporting the work of the RTO.  Regional Tourism New Zealand (RTNZ) is a membership based and funded organisation representing the interests of all Regional Tourism Organisations throughout the country.


RTO’s play an invaluable role in the development of their regions, taking a holistic approach to planning for and sustainably growing the visitor economy. They are the organisations tasked with managing tourism and its opportunities and impacts for the benefit of their communities and marketing the destination to build the visitation and the experiences available to visitors (and locals) in that region in a sustainable way. This translates into greater prosperity for all.


Lynette Buurman - Board Chair


I have been involved in tourism in Kaikoura for 25 years in the role of co-owner of Encounter Kaikoura, which is more commonly known as Dolphin Encounter.  The business comprises two eco tours, Dolphin Encounter and Albatross Encounter, a beachfront café and gift store, and a small meeting venue. It has been an inspiration over the years to see Kaikoura mature as a tourism destination in its own right and to achieve success on so many levels.  Our region now has a diverse local product offering while retaining our uniqueness as a beautiful coastal town with an amazing and diverse natural environment. It is a privilege to have a vibrant business as well as a superb lifestyle in Kaikoura. It really is the best of both worlds!  I have been on the Board of Destination Kaikoura, formerly known as Kaikoura Information and Tourism Inc, for many years.  I enjoy being able to offer support and share my knowledge with the wider tourism sector on all aspects of business management.


Chris Sturgeon - Board Deputy Chair


My wife Fiona and I moved to Kaikōura 14 years ago to establish an artisan business and residential cooking school, named Hapuku Kitchen. During that process we met Tony Wilson and agreed together to take on Hapuku Lodge & Tree houses as General Manager & Executive Chef which has now developed into one of NZ’s leading Luxury Lodges.

I spent many years in corporate life in Wellington, within finance and banking where I completed my MBA and I continue to operate a business redevelopment and transformation consulting company. I believe I bring many years of business and commercial expertise along with very strong advocacy skills and tourism connections to the board table. I also am pleased to be able to champion Kaikōura in another role as Chair of Luxury Lodges of NZ


I have a real passion for Kaikōura and have the privilege of traveling internationally promoting Hapuku Lodge and as a direct result also promoting Kaikōura. I firmly believe to bring tourists into any business you must first sell them on the local community, its people, its culture together with the environment before considering any individual property or business. This approach was so beneficial immediately after the 2016 Earthquake as we went back out to the country & the world to convince the tourism industry to continue to support us.

I am delighted to work alongside other passionate members of the board and working to promote our small part of paradise.


Daniel Stevenson


Daniel Stevenson is the owner and operator of South Pacific Helicopters Ltd. and its subsidiary Wings Over Whales. He arrived in Kaikōura in 2004 and started working as a pilot taking people on scenic and whale watching flights, and quickly fell in love with the town. He furthered his helicopter experience overseas from 2007 onward, but always wanted to return to the beauty of Kaikōura.

In 2016 the opportunity arose for their dream business, so Dan and his wife Monique decided to move the family down to Kaikōura. He is very passionate about Kaikōura and helping promote the town as a premier year-round destination.


Joanne James


Hi my name is Joanne James and with Brad we arrived in Kaikōura 8 years ago to start a new adventure and have loved every minute of our time, most of all in the morning having coffee looking out to the sea. (amazing)
My background is in Hospitality and Retail.  I worked for Michael Hill as a manager for 10 years all over NZ and learned so much about business through this company, which has set me up very well for our business and being able to look at other businesses with an open mind.

I am looking forward to working with the other Board Members to grow i-SITE Kaikōura and staff to make Kaikōura even more interesting for tourists to come and visit.


Matt Foy


Studied Adventure Tourism at the Outdoor Pursuit Centre of NZ (OPC) 1994.
Heavily involved with Adventure Tourism from then on – overseas and in NZ. Moved to Kaikōura in 1998 to establish “Kaikōura Kayaks” which has grown significantly over the past 20 years and won numerous awards including number 1# Activity in Kaikōura on TripAdvisor. KITI member since 1999 and strong supporter of the Kaikōura i-SITE with a great working relationship.


Instrumental in spearheading a tourism movement in the aftermath of the November 2016 Earthquake – including the “Hope Springs” discovery of the Kaikōura Peninsula. Actively promoting Kaikōura Tourism and passionate about our little seaside town. Involved in instigating the recent viral video of “Seal slapping Octopus on kayakers face” which has the spotlight on Kaikōura again globally!


Julie Howden


I have been a council representative on the KITI board for 5 years. I own and operate Bendamere House B&B so I enjoy the role I have as tourism is my main interest. KITI and Destination Kaikōura have played a huge part in the promotion both domestically and internationally of our beautiful town and I feel there are exciting and prosperous times ahead.


My role as Deputy Mayor also brings an integral link between Kaikōura District Council and KITI as council is our main funder for Destination Kaikōura and taking our town to the world. I encourage all Kaikōura businesses whether Retail, Activities or Accommodation to support the pivotal role we take in building our town and making your business grow.


Becky Harkess


My family and I have been immersed into the tourism industry and the beautiful town of Kaikoura through the purchase of South Pacific Safaris and Glencree Estate in 2019.

As a team, our goal to get across all thing’s tourism Kaikoura as our American clientele not only desire our hunting trips but the destination of Kaikoura as an experience as well.


Outside of our hunting season, you will find me in the Kaikoura Helicopters office, coaching horse riders or competing on the summer Show jumping circuit.


Kaikoura has so much to offer and we thoroughly enjoy both the gorgeous location and community. I look forward to contributing my time, effort and passion into promoting Kaikoura alongside a very experienced and knowledgeable team.


Neroli Gold


I have been involved in tourism in Kaikoura for over 22 years and have enjoyed watching our region prosper and develop as one of New Zealand’s leading tourism destinations. The strength of our region is not only our unique and distinctive ‘mountain to ocean story’ but our people. Strong, resilient and ready to engage and share our stories. I returned to the board after taking a break from it to concentrate on our own business. I look forward to continuing the great work of the board in making Kaikoura a better destination for New Zealanders and our international market.


Paul Finney


I arrived in NZ in 2007 and spent 9 years in Christchurch working in various jobs, the last being a Business Analyst for the House of Travel on Victoria St. I left that job to start a homebrew shop which led me then on to starting a beer brand, Emporium Brewing. Which lead us to buy a warehouse Kaikoura! We were looking for a site to put the brewery and found our warehouse here in town. The move to Kaikoura coincided with the quake and it has been great to see how the town has overcome such adversity. I joined the board to represent the smaller businesses in town and have had a great experience doing so. Kaikoura is a fantastic, beautiful town to live in and every morning I say "hello" to the mountains as they always look amazing.