Chatham Island Annual Bird Tour – Introducing Host Mike Bell

In conjunction with Hotel Chathams and Air Chathams, we are pleased to announce the launch of our Annual Chatham Island Bird tour which in 2025, will be held 1st – 8th March.

2025’s tour will be led by Mike Bell a New Zealand ornithologist who is extremely passionate about native bird conservation in the Chatham Islands. Mike has spent 30 years and more travelling to Chatham Islands to do conservation work there.

He’s the managing director of Wildlife Management International, but also, amongst other things, works closely with the Chatham Islands Tāiko Trust and is a member of Chatham Islands Landscape Restoration Trust.

We will be visiting Taiko Sanctuary and enjoy a full day out on the water heading to Pitt Island to view the Pitt Island Shag, cruise Chatham Island coastline looking for other endemic birdlife, including the Black Robin, Buller’s Mollymawk, Wandering Albatross. Back on land, we will be able to see the Chatham Island Pipit and Oyster Catcher plus of course the Chatham Island Parea.

2024 Auckland Anniversary Weekend Tour

What an awesome time our group had at our 2024 inaugural Concert in the Garden tour where over four hours and joined by around 150 concert goers they we were serenaded by the Lady Killers and Chris McHardy at the beautiful Admiral Gardens.

Our group enjoyed all the island has to offer, including fresh crayfish, blue cod, hapuka, kina and paua. Learning how to shuck paua was a highlight as was being hosted for lunch at the Murison’s sheep station near Kaingaroa.

We had fishermen’s luck on our side – “Queen of Fishing” was awarded to Erika, who had previously never been on a boat nor ever caught a fish!!

Wandering Albatross and the Chatham Island Mollymawk which is endemic to the Chatham Islands entertained us fighting for the spoils which were thrown overboard.

Not only did our group catch blue cod, Cody caught barracuda and a king fish.

A massive thanks to our sponsors for this event – Air Chathams, Hotel Chathams, Maude Wines and Chatham Island Breezy Brewery.

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Welcome Martin Bosley

Martin Bosley is one of New Zealand’s finest chefs.

Living by the philosophy that we should eat what’s in season, what’s local, and what’s fresh, he has been bestowed with every major food award in the country.  With a career spanning more than three decades, Martin has opened world-class restaurants; contributed food columns to publications such as The Listener and Cuisine. For 13 years he was the food columnist for Air New Zealand’s in-flight magazine Kia Ora and now contributes a regular column in Cuisine Magazine. He has released two beautiful cookbooks to critical acclaim, Martin Bosley Cooks and Martin Bosley; appears regularly on radio, television and at food festivals in New Zealand and around the world; and has been commissioned by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as a Chef Ambassador to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan and San Francisco. He appears monthly on Radio New Zealand’s Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan and with Wallace Chapman on The Panel. Because he’s dancing as fast as he can, he is also a Councillor for the South Wairarapa.

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Artists Retreat

Coming join our 2024 inaugural small group artists retreat – hosted by Hotel Chathams Tours and led by Chatham Island artists, we will take you to the most beautifully ruggedly raw locations Chatham Island has to offer.

Simply pack your art gear as everything else is included; return Air Chathams flights, accommodation, meals and transport but be prepared to have an amazing amount of fun.

Subscribe to our newsletter to hear more when this our Artists Retreat is listed – click here

Introducing Timmy Smith

Timmy says that while food provides the blood in our veins, our health is drawn from the land. She says that she has always known and felt the mauri of our whenua and have lived, and connected within the veneer that holds tūrangawaewae between the sea and our lands.

Understanding that the intricate tools of tea for connection, and creation of intimate times of reflection is why they hold center stage within my space and offerings.  Timmy believes they assist us to remove our rush, and connect in ways that very few foods can.  It is kai for the soul as well as a soother for our systems.

And as a wonderful way to share unspoken words and wisdom which is why we are really excited to have Timmy join us and lead our Tea Experience workshop where you will be guided through using the principles of Te Ao Māori to highlight the importance of tī.

You can read more here about Waiheke Island based Timmy Smith, where she has been “evoking memories since 1972”.

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Introducing Tom Hilton

“Tom Hilton has probably achieved almost everything one could hope to in the culinary world. In fact, he had done most of it by the age of 23. But after a journey that took him to the highest of highs, and lowest of lows, Hilton has gone back to his roots – literally and figuratively – to reignite his love of chocolate. And he hopes to take many others along for the ride.”

We are very excited to have Tom leading the “chocolate workshop” in our 2023 Chatham Island Cooking Class. Tom is the founder of Ao Cacao which Tom says “is a timeless brand of chocolate that is high end from an indigenous lens and for the conscious consumer this means investing in a chocolate that has been loved, cared for and empowers a community – whilst bringing the mana back to what chocolate truly is.”

Tom is an internationally renowned chef creating patisseries in Paris and Michelin Star restaurants in the US.

Born in Surrey, England, Hilton’s dad is Māori, so he always felt a strong pull to New Zealand and we are soo fortunate to have Tom as part of our upcoming cooking classes – you can read more about Tom here.