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Kaikōura is open for business! CLICK HERE for a list of activities, tour operators and eateries that are OPEN. COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

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Meet The Board

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 six voluntary board members elected by the Kaikōura i-SITE financial members and are nominated a term of 2 years. The board members are currently: Julie Howden (Chairperson), Lynette Buurman (Deputy), Lisa Bond, Janice Dreaver, Matt Foy, Joanne James, Daniel Stevenson and Chris Sturgeon.

Julie Howden (Chairperson)


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.

Lynette Buurman (Deputy)


I have been involved in tourism in Kaikōura for 25 years in the role of co-owner of Encounter Kaikōura, 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 Kaikōura 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 Kaikōura. It really is the best of both worlds!  I have been on the board  for many years. I enjoy being in  a position to offer support and share my knowledge with the wider tourism sector on all aspects of business management.

Lisa Bond

I have worked at Whale Watch Kaikōura for the past 23 years, over my time with the company I have built up a wealth of specialist knowledge and am familiar with the development of Whale Watch from its humble beginnings through to its thriving success today. I have a huge passion for Kaikōura as a destination and a great understanding of the tourism industry both on a domestic and international level. It is a honour to be a member on the board alongside other passionate people of this place we all proudly call home.

Janice Dreaver

Janice is totally involved in the community on various boards and committees. “I love that I can give the best of my time , professionalism , expertise and energy into helping make a difference within the exciting future and planning Kaikōura has within tourism.”

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!

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.

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.

Chris Sturgeon


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.