Mark Hanger founded Nature Quest in 1988 to connect visitors with the wildlife and nature of New Zealand, explore our wild places and understand the ecological communities of these isolated islands. He had a vision to provide a service that allowed visitors to both explore and understand our diverse ecology and the unique plants and animals that inhabit it.
In 2001 Nature Quest expanded to run botanical and wildlife tours in Western Australia, Tasmania and New Caledonia.
Nature Quest aims to provide
- Nature and study tours than deepen traveller’s knowledge and understanding of our ecology
- Insight into the fragile nature of the ecological communities
- Educate traveller’s to respect and care for our natural heritage
Mark Hanger – Director
Mark has been guiding tours for almost 30 years and is still as passionate as ever about exploring and educating visitors about New Zealand ecology and our conservation efforts.
Mark is a New Zealander and graduate of Otago University and is a passionate botanist and ornithologist. He is currently Deputy President of the largest conservation society in New Zealand, the Royal Forest & Bird Protection society.
Mark has been involved with many conservation project over the years and he is currently coordinating an exciting and innovative seabird conservation project along the Otago coast. This project concentrates on restoring up to seven species of seabird that have disappeared from the coast due to predation.
Mark has a rich history in conservation, he formerly worked for the New Zealand National Parks Service for 7 years and has had a professional involvement in conservation since 1979.
In 1988 Mark founded Nature Quest New Zealand to share his passion and knowledge with visitors to New Zealand and has been guiding ever since.
Mark Ayre – Guide
A keen birdwatcher for most of his life, Mark began working as a volunteer warden as a teenager at Titchfeild Haven Bird reserve. Originally from the UK Mark emigrated to New Zealand 38 years ago.
Mark is very active in the New Zealand Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and is currently a local branch chairperson. He is particularly involved in the conservation management of the endangered Mohua (Yellowhead), managing and maintaining trapping and monitoring programmes in the Haast region and the Makaroroa Valley. Mark is also involved in bird surveys and bird counts for the Department of Conservation and other private groups.
Mark has led birding trips for Nature Quest since 2002 and enjoys showing visitors the unique birds and the amazing land formations of New Zealand.
Lynette Hartley – Guide
Lynette has been involved professionally in ecology and conservation in New Zealand for well over 20 years. She is passionate about our native ecosystems and knowledgeable about the issues they face from introduced predators. Lynette’s PhD looked at native birds and their interactions with the poisons used to battle introduced pests.
Lynette has always enjoyed sharing her enthusiasm for New Zealand and its scenery with visitors. Lynette spends a lot of her spare time in the New Zealand outdoors and is actively involved in the reforestation and restoration of the urban reserve adjacent to her house in Christchurch.
Lynette’s enthusiasm for the natural world extends to drawing and painting New Zealand wildlife. Her work can be seen on her website.
Petrina Duncan – Guide
Petrina has always been fascinated by the natural world. Originally from the North Island, she moved to the South Island to study zoology. Since obtaining her Master of Science (specialising in lizard ecology), she has worked in a wide range of places and roles that always involved nature in some way: hiking guide, biology and science teacher at secondary school and ecological field worker in New Zealand and Australia (e.g. protecting the endangered orange-fronted parakeet, kokako and long-tailed bat). In her community, she supports Forest & Bird, the Department of Conservation, and the Matukituki and Te Kakano Trusts by doing tree planting, field trips, predator trapping and organizing bird surveys.
Petrina has travelled the world extensively, including trekking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, walking the St James Way in France/Spain, exploring the Scottish isles, and backpacking through North and South America. She is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge for the NZ natural world with visitors from around the world.
Alzira – Office Manager
Originally from France, Alzira came to New Zealand in 2015 to explore the country’s unique wilderness and liked it so much she never left. She is a nature enthusiast and avid birder as well as a professional horse trek guide with experience in Western Canada. Her interest for nature conservation has led her to volunteer with French and Canadian environmental NGOs in the past, and now with Forest & Bird in Dunedin, where she lives with her partner.
Alzira has lived in six different countries and speaks French, English and Spanish. She was trained in law, but has since developed versatile skills and experience primarily outside the legal field.
She joined Nature Quest in 2017.