Qualified Skipper & Nature Guide


Permanent for immediate start. 

  • Opportunity to work and live in Stewart Island / Rakiura away from the crowds.
  • Be part of a small positive team where your contribution matters.
  • Experience varied work, wildlife and nature. 
  • Interact with visitors from around the world. 
  • Receive training about our location, systems, wildlife, history and customer service.


Skipper our vessel Aihe Wildlife Cruises & Water Taxi and be in charge of all onboard duties.  Provide essential and reliable transport for our guided tours.  Help showcase our natural wilderness, wildlife and cultural history on our boat cruises. Carry out basic maintenance. 


Pay is negotiable subject to skills and experience.

LOCATION: Stewart Island / Rakiura 

Aihe’s main operating areas is: Paterson Inlet and especially Ulva Island, along Freshwater and Rakeahua Rivers, Stewart Island’s north-east shoreline and nearby mutton bird Islands.  

Occasional trips may take place to Bluff for maintenance work. 

Stewart Island is a largely unmodified Island, almost entirely in wilderness, except for Oban Township and the surrounding 28 kms of road.  Approx. 400 people live here permanently. 

Daily flights occur to / from Invercargill, with daily ferry services to / from Bluff.  Locals and residents receive a discounted service on both forms of travel. Some of our key amenities include: a restaurant, cafes, grocery store, library, garage, tourist booking offices, museum, Department of Conservation visitor centre, nurses clinic, volunteer fire brigade, golf course, community centre / gymnasium, kindergarten, primary school. 

Stewart Island is a wonderful place for anyone who thrives in a semi-remote location, enjoys nature and the outdoors. There are opportunities to, hike, fish, dive, hunt along with a variety of indoor activities. 

Accommodation is limited in Stewart Island. We aim to source accommodation for our staff. 


Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience is a small owner / operated nature tourism business, operating entirely in Stewart Island since 2000.  Our customers are New Zealanders and internationals from over 40 countries.  We are Qualmark endorsed. The business was started by Furhana who works full time in the business as the key guide and in a multiple number of other roles.

Nature, wildlife and the environment are our key focus and trying to operate sustainably.  The business actively seeks to develop a positive team, with supportive, caring, reliable and competent staff, so that our customers are able to undertake our tours and, get the best possible attention and service we can offer.

A variety of tours are offered including guided walks on Ulva Island and Stewart Island, overnight hikes, kiwi spotting and bird watching trips, along with scenic and birding road tours. 

Aihe Wildlife Cruises & Water Taxi is owned by the business to provide a water taxi service for its guided tours and for independent customers, along with wildlife, scenic and historic cruises. 

Aihe is a 7.6 m StabiCraft with a 250 hp outboard motor.  Licensed to carry 12 passengers and 2 crew. 

Our small Outdoor Adventure & Gift Shop is a compliment to other services we offer. 

We operates all year round, however, the majority of the work is highly seasonal,  driven by visitor demand.  Key tourist months are October through to April / May.  There is intermittent off-season tours.  Demand varies from year to year. 


  • You will report to the Owner / Operator, but will work closely with our Staff in our Booking Office for all essential day to day communication. 
  • Your contribution will ensure the business can offer some of its key tours that are reliant on boat transport.
  • You will provide our customers with a reliable, timely, safe, comfortable experience, enhanced with quality information on the area, wildlife and history.  
  • Your input will help increase customer satisfaction, improve feedback and recommendations for our tours and services, along with repeat business. 
  • A dedicated skipper responsible for the day to day management and maintenance  of the vessel, along with accurate and timely reporting is essential to the well running of the business.

DUTIES (day to day responsibilities)

  • Transporting passengers to / from walking / hiking / hunting destinations
  • Providing wildlife / seabird / scenic / historic cruises.

This work will require you to:

  • Row a dinghy to / from the mooring
  • Be in regular communication with the office and its staff and guides
  • Complete accurate and timely logs and reports
  • Carry out daily checks and report maintenance issues on a timely basis
  • Instruct and inform customers and assist them as required
  • Lift gear
  • Work in varying weather conditions
  • Carry out basic maintenance
  • Decant, transport and fuel our vessel.
  • Provide accurate information on the location, wildlife and history to our customers to enhance their experience
  • Assist as required with health and safety and Maritime Operator Safety System 
  • Carry out regular safety drills and training crew / guides on board
  • Carry out any other reasonable task to support the business.


Five days a week to be agreed around business needs.  Where we are able to recruit a part-time skipper you working week will be the same each week.

Your hours may vary anytime from 6.00 am to 10.00 pm.  However, the majority of our work is carried out from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm. 

Daily work is not routine, nor are the daily work hours, but is varied, based on customer demand. Tours may not all be pre-booked and last minute bookings are common. 

It is essential that you are flexible and supportive when work needs to be carried out as customer booking patterns are out of our control and difficult to predict.


As a tourism business we are required to work during the key tourist months October to April.  Staff are not required to work on Christmas Day and may get some other public holidays off work along with their regular statutory days off. Staff we encouraged to take holidays during Off-season months. 


  • A valid Maritime New Zealand Qualification (or MNZ approved overseas qualification).
  • Minimum 2 year commercial skipper experience, where possible in the tourism industry, but not essential. 
  • Competent and experienced in operating an outboard motor boat in changeable weather and able to demonstrate good boat handling and safety skills. 
  • NZ full driver’s licence
  • Current, valid first aid certificate for minimum 12 months at start of employment. 
  • Appropriate level of mechanical skills
  • Good communication and customer service skills
  • Good time keeping and record keeping.


You will need to be medically and physically fit to undertake this work.  Our preference is for non-smokers.  Personal presentation is important. Staff are provided with a uniform. 

Due to booking patterns and late reservations, at times our work can be hectic and a bit stressful. At other times it can be slow.  Flexibility and a positive “can do” attitude is helpful, along with willingness to help with reasonable tasks when work may be slow. 


We are professional and hard working, focussing on quality, small group tours with opportunities for customers to interact as individuals. We are not a mass tourism business. 

Our priority is to provide excellent customer service, to maintain high standards and ensure the safety and well being of staff and customers. 

A positive working environment with a loyal team are essential to our success. Each team members is encouraged to be understanding, kind, supportive and loyal. Honesty is important for along with communication.


  • The opportunity to learn - you will do and see more. 
  • Opportunity to progress into a senior skipper role if the team is able to grows. 


To set up a time to discuss the job vacancy or for an application form and detailed job description, please email: