Call (+64) 3 304 7654, or Email

Marie Haley Conservationist – Latitude Magazine – Life on the Wildside, Akaroa

Akaroa Conservationist Marie Haley from The Seventh Generation Tours is featured in this months Latitude Magazine for her role in establishing the Wildside Project and new boutique business venture guiding travellers to a deeper understanding of Akaroa History and Nature. #Akaroa #Wildside #BPCT #TheSevnethGenerationTours

How to Build a Sense of Place

Our understanding of our home and our sense of place is such a vital connection for people’s wellbeing and contentment, I would be honored if I can add to that for both residents and tourists alike.

The more you know about your place of belonging in the world the stronger your connections to community and place can be. This sense of place is one of the greatest sources of meaning to our lives.

It can take many years of observation to fully know the world around you, and your rhythms within it. Over time each place, the stories attached to them and even each tree or rock can start to hold meaning for you, these become your marker pegs as you orientate yourself within space.

As a child I would roam the hills and valleys of our farm, slowly each year I would add new knowledge to my kete (basket). These gems would come from close observations, the time each year the kowhai comes into flower, when it is warm enough for jeweled gecko to be seen, a story told by an Aunty of a memory of my Great-grandmother, little scraps of information from the local newspaper, discussions with friends. And this is how I have built my knowledge of this place. My ambition in life is for that knowledge building to never stop, because this knowledge builds love and a deep connection to this land and the community who shelters here.

This August Seventh Generation will be providing ‘Locals Tours’ especially for residents who may want to add to their kete of knowledge.

Bookings can be made on my website

Akaroa Mail July 2018


Danger in the Wilderness

O Te Patatu is a spectacular and sometimes dangerous stepping off point into the wilderness. Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean it is the most Easterly point of Banks Peninsula; a beautiful and temperamental in-between place, where ocean, earth and sky merge.

We made the voyage out to this far point last week to investigate the potential for establishing a predator-free sea bird colony. Submerged reefs drive upwelling of marine nutrients, while ocean currents and weather patterns bring a wide range of seabirds close to shore; often visible are royal albatross, giant petrel, prions and Hutton’s shearwater.

Predators drove the last of the burrowing sea bird species to extinction on this headland. A special place to local Maori, it was once an important kai (food) gathering place and has associated oral legends and waiata (songs). If we can build a fence and remove introduced mammalian predators then the natural ecosystem can be re-established.

After weeks of heavy rain and heavier cloud the land was sodden, my heart was racing when we lost traction in the 4WD eventually needing to fix chains to move forward. Out on the point the wind was freezing and ripped through our tough outer layers, but deep to the south a break in the weather appeared across the ocean. Finally after weeks, weak sun shone through the clouds and pushed the rain north, so that we were able to enjoy a cup of tea from the trucks deck and watch the wilderness from the top of a cliff at the edge of the world.


Famous in Akaroa our French Town Crier

Akaroa’s official Town Crier and I went on a heritage tour recently to celebrate our shared French ancestry. Both descendants of Etienne Francois Lelievre and Justine Rose de Malmanche together we visited special places of remembrance, the Britomart Monument on which Etienne’s name is inscribed, the monument of the landing place of the Comte de Paris that bought out the French settlers including both Etienne and Justine and the ‘family seat’.

It was a memorable day exploring our heritage together.

Seventh Generation Tours

I started Seventh Generation Tours to allow me to share with the world my passion for this place, my enchantment with nature and the history and people who bring this beautiful place to life.

I grew up walking these hills observing nature and was blessed with one of the greatest riches in the world, time. Living far away from the many distractions of the modern world I had many hours as a child where I would go out with the aim to get lost in the bush, sadly for me I never achieved this aim and always found where I was. It was through these many hours that I developed the skills of a adventurer, nature observer, philosopher and dreamer.

Now I find my life as an adult is hardly different from the life I led as a child, my most enjoyable hobby is to daydream in nature whether that is whilst undertaking conservation tasks such as monitoring penguins, checking on weta motels, or whilst doing farm work, walking the dogs, gathering mushrooms or swimming in our creek.

This unguarded time has developed into a deep love of nature, this when planted in the deep and fertile soil of knowing well my family history and the epic stories that have created a rich culture in Akaroa, has allowed in me a deep rooting that is my tūrangawaewae – my place to stand.

It is this particular perspective of the world that I wish to share and the hundreds of stories that together form my world view.

Yellow-eyed Penguins Endangered


Across the mainland hōiho or yellow-eyed penguins (YEP) are having a tough time of it. This year the number of breeding pairs on Otago Peninsula was only about 200 compared to 600 in the 1990’s. Otago University researcher Thomas Mattern reports the outlook for populations around the South Island is bleak “the situation is all but lost, but we need to act and we don’t have much time’.

With an estimated breeding population of 1700 pair, the YEP is one of the rarest species of penguins in the world, around 60% of the population is thought to breed on New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands with the rest on the south-eastern coast of the South Island. However, little is known about the sub-Antarctic population and in the southern South Island mass mortality events from unknown toxins and barracouta attacks regularly decimate numbers.

Thirty-five years of sea surface data from Boulder Beach on Otago Peninsula shows that sea temperature is the main environmental influence, with lower fish stock during warmer periods. However, other factors play a significant role, the impact of fisheries is poorly understood due to a lack of data and fisheries monitoring. Predation both at sea and on land remains an issue in some areas and unregulated tourism is an important and growing threat. While humans love to see hōiho walk across a wild beach, hōiho do not feel the same at all about humans and become incredibly stressed by the mere presence of a human. 

Yellow-eyed penguins have just been upgraded to Endangered and researchers agree that South Island hōiho are facing almost certain extinction by 2060.

Thankfully on Banks Peninsula, our small hōiho population is remaining steady. We have a strong collaborative conservation program on the Wildside to control predators on land. Banks Peninsula is blessed with many sheltered bays and penguins are doing especially well in bays with restricted human access. Landowners protect the penguin colonies fiercely against these impacts and each nest is monitored closely by BPCT, DOC and CCC staff. If a penguin is in trouble, we take it into expert veterinary care as soon as possible and penguins are able to recuperate with dedicated intensive care nurses. All of this, just to ensure the population holds steady.

2017 was a year of highlights for the Banks Peninsula hōiho team. We had our first microchipped chicks return, in a species where >80% of chicks do not make it through their first year at sea, this is monumental. Eight juvenile birds, in their first year, were recorded and we hope some of these will remain and breed. A total of 25 birds were found with four nests and six chicks fledging. Only three penguins died during the breeding season.

These small successes always lead to hope that hōiho nests will increase, that more chicks will be born and fledge and that they will return again next year. But yellow-eyed penguins have just been upgraded to Endangered and researchers agree that South Island hōiho are facing almost certain extinction by 2060.