Our People

Jenny McDonald   Director


Jenny McDonaldJenny has been a Waiheke resident since 1978, and was a district nurse and midwife here for nearly 20 years. During the course of this career Jenny became intimately familiar with the Island, its special places and unique community. She started Ananda Tours in 1999, long before Waiheke became the place to go for visitors to Auckland; since then, she has been instrumental in developing and marketing tourism to the Island. She has also studied the international market in depth, and is dedicated to ensuring that every Ananda tour is a world-class experience.

 




Brooke Robinson   Office Manager


Brooke RobinsonAfter years of working part-time in the family business, Brooke joined the Ananda team full-time in 2012. With a passionate interest in the world of wine, Brooke has completed several stages in the International WSET wine courses, studied a Diploma in Wine Marketing and has even made her own wine. "I have to say ... It wasn't very good though!" During her eight years in the wine industry she worked at several Waiheke wineries, including Stonyridge, Te Whau and Mudbrick, as well as Vidal Estate in Hawkes Bay. Oh, and as well as being a wine expert, Brooke is a great organiser!

 




Eve Robinson   Marketing Manager


Eve RobinsonHaving travelled extensively all her adult life, Eve knows well what makes the difference between an "ok" tour and a great one! As well as helping us design tours, she designs all our marketing collateral - if you've seen our beautiful brochure, you've seen some of her handiwork. She also designs wine labels and brochures for local companies who share her passion for the Island.

 




Nathalya Larson   Office Administrator


Nathalya LarsonNathalya who is originally from Brazil has joined our small office team after living on Waiheke for the past two years working in hospitality and customer services. She has also worked as an interpreter for some of our previous Portugese speaking groups and will be helping us with the increasing tourism heading to New Zealand from Brazil.

 




Nigel Robinson   Tour Guide


Nigel RobinsonNigel came to Waiheke in 1973 for a holiday with his brother Steve, and like many others, he never went back. Initially attracted by the simple island life, Nigel's passion for wine and food has grown along with the wine industry on the Island, of which he has in-depth knowledge. Nigel loves nothing more than sharing his knowledge with visitors, except perhaps furthering his "studies" abroad, particularly around the Mediterranean.

 




Steve Robinson   Tour Guide


Steve RobinsonSteve was the first of the Robinson family to discover Waiheke Island, back in the 1970s when there were no wineries, no restaurants, no fast ferries and not many residents. He has lived on the Island permanently for 20 years, and knows its history, geography, ecology and culture intimately. His friends say: "If you want to know anything about anyone on the Island, ask Steve - he knows everyone!" When he's not tour guiding, Steve is a musician with two bands, both world-famous on Waiheke.

 




Jo Hutchinson   Tour Guide


Jo HutchinsonJo has had a long association with Waiheke having bought many corporate teams here for team building events since the 1980's and her mother also lived here in the 90's. She says 'it's been an amazing journey to see how the island has changed over time and as an escapee from Auckland, I love living here and I love the community spirit'. She's led tours in Egypt and South America and loves helping people to have an amazing experience on Waiheke.

 




Ian Johnston   Tour Guide


Ian JohnstonIan visited Waiheke in 1996, loved the Island, bought a property, and then built a house. The attraction to Waiheke was beaches, the landscape, vineyards, relaxed community and proximity to Auckland. After initially spending 12 years in Broadcasting followed by a 35 year career flying helicopters in NZ and internationally, Ian joined the Ananda Tour team. Over the years Ian travelled extensively through Europe and Castles and Cathedrals were always secondary to visiting wine growing regions. Ian is enjoying meeting visitors, sharing his knowledge of the local wine and food industry and the history of Waiheke and its people.

 




Kyle Guan   Tour Consultant


Kyle GuanKyle came to New Zealand with his wife from China in 2010 and they’ve decided settle down on Waiheke Island in 2012 when his wife started studying wine. With the passion for wine and the love of Waiheke, he has recently joined the Ananda team as their Chinese tour consultant and tour guide. Kyle can speak both Mandarin and Cantonese, and ready to deliver the best food and wine experience to the Chinese customers.

 




Jules Ness   Tour Guide


Jules NessArriving on Waiheke Island 14 years ago, Juliet has lived and worked in many countries, some in tourism from game lodges in Africa to villas in Greece. Juliet has worked on several vineyards on Waiheke and when she is not showing visitors this paradise island, she is out gardening or golfing.

 


Simon Mansfield   Tour Guide


Simon MansfieldIn a now-familiar story, Simon fell in love with Waiheke when his family visited the Island ten years ago. He returned home to the UK and made arrangements to move here immediately. As soon as he arrived he integrated himself into the community, became involved in local radio and now hosts the weekly Saturday Morning Breakfast Show on Waiheke Radio. Although he is relatively new to the Ananda team, Simon has previously worked in wine toursim on the island and has a great knowledge of the Island's vineyards and their wines.

 




Grant Purdie   Tour Guide


Grant PurdieAfter enjoying his holiday home on Waiheke for a number of years, Grant migrated north and made the Island his permanent home. With a 25-year career in the hospitality industry owning both restaurants and catering companies, Grant brings to his work a real passion for both the wonderful food and award-winning wines that Waiheke has to offer.

 




Niki Walker   Tour Guide


Niki WalkerFourteen years ago, Niki came to Waiheke for a long lunch at one of the island's leading vineyards - and never left! She has over 20 years' experience working in the New Zealand wine industry, including co-managing the Waiheke Wine Centre and running the cellar door at Cable Bay for five years. Her extensive knowledge of our local wines is truly impressive, as is her passion for good food and ability to enjoy life - hence her decision to make this island paradise her home. When Niki isn't busy sharing the secrets of Waiheke with her clients, you'll find her on Onetangi beach lapping up the sunshine with her blue heeler dog, Nelly.

 




Jude Collins   Tour Guide


Jude CollinsJude discovered Waiheke in the late '70s, when she came to visit relatives. Although she lived and worked overseas for many years, she came back to the Island as often as she could get away from her busy work schedule, first as a tour manager for a global tour company in the UK, and then as a manager and guide for a Greek wine and food tour company that she co-founded. She is now working in Auckland and spending most of the summer months on Waiheke, showing off the Island to visitors from all around the world.

 




Nico van Niekerk   Tour Guide


Nico van NiekerkNico started driving for Ananda in 2015 and for most of his 13 years living on Waiheke, he has been actively involved in the local wine industry. When not driving with Ananda, he can be seen in the vineyards, driving tractors, pruning vines and has completed four vintages for various wineries. He is passionate about Waiheke and its wine and sees great potential for increased quality rather than quantity of Waiheke wine in the coming years.