Our People

First Light Travel Staff

We love this country and that’s why we live here! Our New Zealand team of friendly Travel Professionals have been creating holidays since 2001 – and we are pretty good at it! So if you want an unforgettable holiday, that not only surpasses your expectations but also eliminates all the guessing and hard work, then talk to one of our team today – We are there with you all the way!

Read our reviews and find out why our guests just love what we do!

First Light Travel is Qualmark gold

Elizabeth Marshall

Profile picture for user Elizabeth

Since graduating from university, Elizabeth has now found her true calling “New Zealand Tourism” Born in the central South Island she has an understandable love for the great outdoors and a true passion when it comes to helping people discover our wonderful Country. Elizabeth takes great pride in ensuring our team has the latest information to showcase the very best New Zealand has to offer and fits in perfectly to run First Light Travel’s Customer Services.   

Marcella Johnston

Profile picture for user Marcella

Marcella was destined for a bright future in travel, having both Italian and Samoan Heritage, and a love of learning about the different cultures around the world. Her parents fostered her love of travel with family holidays throughout Australia and the South Pacific. After studying, Marcella became Air New Zealand's youngest ever Flight Attendant, a dream of Marcella's as a 9 year old. Her time as a flight attendant came to an end, and she moved to Europe to take on new adventures. Marcela explains how these travel experiences have shaped her as a Travel Designer.

Bernadette Biggelaar

Profile picture for user Bernadette

Bernadette was born and raised in the harbour city of Auckland. Travel, connecting with people and creating memorable experiences has always been something that comes naturally to her. This is what made the decision for her to study and graduate with a degree in International Hospitality Management easy. Bernadette has travelled extensively throughout New Zealand and loves so much of what the country has to offer but it is Queenstown that has captured her heart and where she now calls home. When she is not ‘working’ you will find her seeking out a new eatery, getting amongst nature or going on a weekend roadie. 


Gina ONeill

Profile picture for user Gina

Gina was born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau and simply loves the North Island life. Her top spots to visit are Paihia, The Coromandel and Lake Taupō. Gina graduated from The International Travel College of New Zealand and just knew that she wanted a career helping people have the best adventures here. When she is not sharing tips on how to maximise your trip you will find her on a paddle board or meandering through a vineyard.

Danielle Mueth

Profile picture for user Danielle

Growing up in the USA, Danielle’s passion for travel began at a young age. After a year of studying abroad during university the travel bug was fully engrained, inspiring Danielle to spend years exploring and living on a variety of continents whilst earning her Master’s degree in Tourism Management. She was drawn to New Zealand for the awesome hiking opportunities and Middle Earth landscapes. When Danielle is not crafting seamless and unique itineraries for others, you will find her eagerly exploring our backcountry.


Narissa Phipps

Profile picture for user Narissa

Upon completion of her degree in the UK, Narissa embarked on a round the world trip landing in New Zealand for the first time in 2014. Falling in love with the endless natural beauty and kiwi culture she now proudly calls New Zealand home. Using her unique experience as both a tourist and a local, Narissa now dedicates her time to personally curate the dream itinerary guaranteed to create memories of a lifetime.  

Micala Lindsay

Profile picture for user Micala

Born and raised in Auckland, I have travelled all around the North Island. Nothing beats a Kiwi Summer and the best way to spend it for me is a roadie to the Coromandel or a day trip to Piha either boogie boarding at the beach, or going for a long walk around the Mercer Bay Loop overlooking the beautiful West Coast. If not at the beach, I love visiting the snow, and that’s why Queenstown in Winter is another one of my favourite destinations, I love that our little NZ offers a bit of everything from Mountain to Coastal scenery. 

Nigel Williamson

Profile picture for user Nigel

Nigel has also been involved in tourism for over twenty years. Working as a tour guide in Africa, Nigel literally enjoyed it so much that he decided to run the company - becoming the London based Operations Manager. After completing his MBA and spending three years as a Management Consultant, Nigel felt it was time to get back to the good life - travel!

Natalie te Dorsthorst

Profile picture for user Natalie 2

Natalie is a born and bred Kiwi who grew up on the tropical island of Waiheke. From a young age she loved exploring New Zealand so a career dedicated to helping others discover Aotearoa’s amazing beauty was a natural progression. With over 20 years in the industry, you can be sure Natalie will take excellent care of your travel arrangements in her Guest Services role. When she is not at work, you can find her sipping on the family wine at their relaxing beach bach.

Steve Taylor

Profile picture for user Steve

After 4 years running other peoples trucks, Steve established his own successful African overland safari company, overseeing operations and logistics between London and some of the most challenging terrain in travel that there is. In 2003, twenty one years later, Stephen returned to New Zealand and is now using his expertise as First Light Travel's Operations Manager.

Anne Baumscheiper

Profile picture for user anne

A seasoned travel professional originating from Germany, Anne loves New Zealand’s fascinating landscapes and can’t decide which area has impressed her the most (so far) – Abel Tasman and the West Coast are definitely on the top list as well as Cape Reinga. Loving city life and the great outdoors  she can be found all over the place  when she is not in the office. Her biggest adventure here in New Zealand so far was learning how to dive and caving the “Lost World”. 

Brent Narbey

Profile picture for user brent

Brent has been involved in tourism for over twenty years. He owned an agency in London for 7 years (Global Connect Travel) running `high end' adventure tours in East Africa and diving holidays in the Red Sea, along with other activities and destinations around the world. Currently attempting to mountain bike all the back country tracks he can find and living to tell the tale!

Anna Caudle

Profile picture for user Anna Caudle

Originally from the USA, Anna has travelled the globe fairly extensively. She graduated university with a degree in Tourism Management and has since gained experience working in many facets of the industry, including the luxury space. She is passionate about implementing her love and knowledge of New Zealand to tailor make your dream holiday. When not creating your perfect trip, she can probably be found dreaming up her own next adventure or in the great outdoors.

Suzie Thorp

Profile picture for user suzie

Suzie is a proud Kiwi who has travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand and is still awestruck by the beauty and range of activities on offer. With fifteen years previously in the wine industry, and a ‘foodie’ by nature, she has a wealth of insider hot tips on how best to savour New Zealand. Is happiest sitting in a hot tub with a spectacular view following an epic hike, and sipping on a craft beer.

Michelle Perrin

Profile picture for user Michelle P

Born and bred in New Zealand Michelle loves to travel and believes in the saying, “Don't leave home until you've seen the country”.  She has travelled the length and breadth of NZ, in the early years by motorbike but more recently has traded her bike for a Campervan.  Her favourite holiday involves meeting the locals and finding a beach or bush walk to enjoy the joys of nature and then discussing all of the above over a wine at the end of the day.  After having worked in the IT industry for 30 years Michelle now focuses on making First Light Travel's systems even better.

Judith Pohn

Profile picture for user Judith

Judith comes from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. In 2004 she set out on a world trip, visiting all continents and finally arriving in New Zealand. After an 8 month road trip, claiming to have travelled every road at least once, she decided to stay in what she believes is the most beautiful country in the world. Judith says living here still feels like one continuous holiday - as soon as she steps outside, or even glances out a window!

Dmitry Piven

Profile picture for user Dmitry

Dmitry has been in travel industry since 1992. He started out in Russia as a guide for American travellers. In 2004 Dmitry finally settled in New Zealand. Since this time he has explored every corner of the country, either with clients or with his own family. Fishing, caving, rafting, walking, quad biking and doing the world’s highest bungee (134m) are amongst the activities he enjoys most.

Emma Bradley

Profile picture for user emma bradley

Emma was born and raised on a farm in Taranaki on the North Island of New Zealand and caught the travel bug on her first trip to the Northern Hemisphere! Upon her return home in 2017, she just knew she had to share her new passion for those wanting to visit the South Pacific. She started her tourism career as a Travel Designer before moving into the Product space as an assistant and now a Product Manager. Emma’s favourite place in New Zealand is Wellington as it ticks all the boxes that every foodie desires!

Gabriella Darby

Profile picture for user Gabriella

Gabriella grew up in California with frequent trips to the UK to visit extended family and that is where her love for travel began. After spending some time in Europe a friend convinced her to travel for a few months in New Zealand where she fell in love with the beautiful landscapes and relaxed lifestyle. Five years later she has settled in Queenstown and is excited to be an integral part of the Accounts team. When she is not working you can find Gabriella out paddle boarding on the lake or finding the best day hike.

Jaydene Edwards

Profile picture for user Jaydene

 Growing up in New Zealand with the awesome culture and spectacular scenery has always made Jaydene a very proud Kiwi. From a young age Jaydene knew that she wanted to be able to share her beautiful country with people across the world and have them experience this little slice of heaven for themselves. Whether you enjoy riding the slopes of a ski field in Queenstown or sunbathing on a beach in crystal blue water up in the Bay of Islands – New Zealand has it all and Jaydene will design the perfect trip for you!

Joanna Havea

Profile picture for user Joanna

Joanna is a dynamic professional with a robust background in customer service and a degree in Tourism Management. Her passion for tourism knows no bounds as she views it as a transformative gateway for individuals to explore diverse cultures across borders. Outside of work, Joanna enjoys spending quality time with her family, embarking on road trips and savouring local cuisines. These experiences serve as wellsprings of inspiration, fueling her drive to craft meaningful travel adventures. Her favourite destinations include tranquil gems like Punakaiki and the adventure-packed Queenstown. Joanna chooses experiential consumption over material consumption at every opportunity!


Tatyana Kelenc

Profile picture for user Tatyana

Tatyana knew that she wanted a career in tourism from a young age and this is what inspired her to graduate from the International Travel College of New Zealand. Tatyana is very grateful to be able to call New Zealand home and create memorable trips for her treasured customers. She is very passionate about helping others to maximise their travel time and enhance their experience here. When Tatyana is not dedicating her time to “work”, you can find her relaxing at the beach or exploring nature through the wonderful bush walks of the North Island.

Katrina Maltais

Profile picture for user Katrina

Having travelled to over 40 countries (so far), Katrina has a wealth of travel knowledge to share! Growing up in Canada, she graduated in Tourism and Hotel Management and has over 16 years of hospitality experience from working in hotels, cruises and living abroad. Passionate about experiencing new cultures and learning new things about the world she is now living in Auckland and is doing an exceptional job as our Business Development Manager. On her weekends you can find her exploring all of the natural beauty that New Zealand has to offer.

Gail MacSween

Profile picture for user gail

Gail grew up in Scotland and began exploring the world with family from an early age. After travelling Australia for 2 years on her first solo trip and working her way through the travel and tourism industry, she decided to give New Zealand a try. Drawn by the natural beauty and the adventure activities, New Zealand stole her heart and she has now chosen to make Aotearoa her home. Gail is a fantastic asset to First Light Travel, excelling in her role as Organisational Development Manager. When not “working”, you will find her by the water, on a mountain or exploring somewhere new.

Katarina Marsalekova

Profile picture for user katarina

Katarina was born in Slovakia and first came to New Zealand in 2018 with the intention of completing a one year trip. Thanks to the natural beauty and Kiwi culture, she now never wants to leave! Katarina has a Masters in Environmental Geography and a huge passion for travel. Her favourite part of New Zealand is Arthur's Pass with an abundance of beautiful hikes and cheeky Kea birds everywhere. Katarina is an integral part of our Guest Services team and when she is not in the office you can find her hiking in nature.

Izabella Salamanca

Profile picture for user Izabella

Izabella's love for travel began during her childhood where she became a camping enthusiast, regularly exploring everything that the North Island has to offer. Her passion lead her to graduate in Tourism and work in hospitality before really kick-starting her career with First Light Travel. She loves experiencing new adventures and lives to help you feel the same when you visit New Zealand. Her favourite place to explore is the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua! Izabella enjoys spending her days supporting the team in her Guest Services role.

Miku Saito

Profile picture for user Miku

Originally from Japan, Miku has called New Zealand home since 2017. Miku instantly fell in love with New Zealand and has made many incredible memories here. She has wide-ranging experience in various tourism and hospitality roles with a passion for helping others to also make memories to last a lifetime and have an unforgettable experience in New Zealand. Her favourite place she has visited so far is Waipoua Forest. Miku is a valued member of First Light Travel’s Guest Services team.

Tracy Nguyen

Profile picture for user tracy1

Tracy is very grateful to have had opportunities to travel with her family from a young age whilst growing up in Vietnam. Tracy was captured by New Zealand’s stunning nature so much so that she took the plunge to move in 2018. In her spare time, Tracy loves to get on the road to explore the untouched nature of Aotearoa. New Plymouth and Taupo are her favourite spots to become one with the landscapes. She believes hiking up the breath-taking (literally) Mount Taranaki is a must do. When Tracy is not on a road trip, you can find her hard at work in Guest Services.

Naeelah Abrahams

Profile picture for user naeelah1

South African born, Naeelah moved to New Zealand in 2017 and fell in love with the pristine beauty. Her love for travel started at a young age with a particular interest in connecting with different people. Naeelah’s explorations taught her that she simply had to help others see the wonders of New Zealand for themselves, so completed her Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management. Naeelah now helps people book the perfect trip as an Escorted Coach Tour Specialist. You can trust Naeelah to listen to what you want from your dream trip and match you to the best option.

Kimi Suobiron

Profile picture for user kimi

Born and raised in the Philippines, Kimi grew to have a great appreciation for both nature and city life which sparked her passion to travel the world. Kimi is constantly mesmerized by New Zealand, the place she now calls home. She believes the natural beauty is like no other and advocates for everyone to experience it for themselves at least once in their lives. Kimi is an integral part of the Product team at First Light Travel, dedicated to ensuring that your dream trip can become a reality.

Cassandra Wilks

Profile picture for user Cassandra

After visiting New Zealand a number of times and falling in love with its natural beauty and warm-hearted people, Aussie born and bred Cassandra took the giant step to move here in 2022! A keen photographer, hiker and adrenalin seeker at heart, Akaroa, Bay of Islands & Queenstown are amongst her many favourite places to visit. Chatham Islands, Abel Tasman and Stewart Island being top of her ever-expanding Bucket List. When she is not out and about exploring, you will find her meticulous working on our content as an integral part of our Product Team.

Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price