• Eco School Cruise Options

  • Montessori School From Christchurch On Tour With Maori Eco Cruises In Marlborough Sounds NZ
    Peter And Takutai Of Maori Eco Cruises In Marlborough Sounds NZ
    Good Ship Tutanekai Maori Eco Cruises In Marlborough Sounds NZ
    Pete and Takutai of Maori Eco-Cruises (formerly Myths & Legends Ecotours) are proud to promote their school camp programme Maori Eco School Cruises in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

    What better way to start or end the school year, than to spend a 1-day trip or 3-day camp cruising the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, swimming, dolphin watching, tramping, having fun while learning. Our eco school cruises are a very educational experience and an interesting exercise in oral histories.

    Teachers can see below all the topics raised and can prepare the tamariki beforehand or use what they have learned throughout the year. You will find that Pete's korero will compliment your studies of Maori culture, History, Social Studies, Geography, and Science.

    Our vessel "Tutanekai" is a 42-ft traditional launch ideally suited for his role, having bulwarks, flush decks, covered stern area with dropside curtains so that everyone can be under shelter if weather becomes inclement.

  • Overview
  • General Overview

  • Over the years, we have developed a few special trip options for schools. Most trips are for just 1 day but we also offer a 3-day school camp. We are flexible and can create a personalized trip for your students. See below for more details, then contact us to discuss your trip.

    Please remember to download and modify the EOTC External Provider Agreement Form as needed.

  • Topics covered in our Oral Histories:

    • Origins of Earth, Gwondana land, creation of NZ. Geology of the Sounds.
    • Origins of species, marine life, reptiles, dinosaurs, mammals, man.
    • Tracing how Man migrated from Africa, Eurasia, China Taiwan, Polynesia, Easter Island, South America and Aotearoa. How and why they migrated, celestial navigation, following migrating birds and whales etc.
    • Creation stories.
    • Maori explorers.
    • Legends of Kupe.
    • Discovery and Settlement of Aotearoa and how Maori culture grew adapted and flourished.
    • The impact that European culture had ,the effect their diseases had on indigenous people with no immunity.
    • How the introduction of their animals and pests impacted on the natural environment.
  • Topics related to Environment:

    • Impacts caused by Man, changes from hunter gatherer to farmer, industrial revolution etc.
    • Sustainability, triple bottom Line, natural capital, Integrated Management.
    • Biodiversity, mono cultures, habitat and habitat destruction by the use of nets and bottom dredging (scallop and kina dredgers.) the effects they have on fish life, bird life and dolphins.
    • The food chain, how it works, the impacts of Mussel and Salmon Farms on the Natural environment
    • Why are the Blue cod and kaimoana are disappearing at an alarming rate?
    • Habitat destruction, implement restoration projects, Integrated management plan for creating a sustainable recreational and customary fishery.
    • Racism, effects of colonization, an overview of the Treaty of Waitangi. If you know and understand your history you will know how to deal with racist remarks that are often made in ignorance by people who are scared of things they don’t understand.
  • Other topics covered:

    Extensive history of Captain Cook, his vessels, 3 round-the-world voyages and achievements that helped shape the future of Aotearoa.

    Sealers, Whalers, missionaries, gold miners, fishermen, deforestation, sounds pastoral farming, forestry, aquaculture, subdivision, development the positive and negative effects of monocultures on the environment and culture.

    You may encounter 3 species of dolphin, Orca (occasionally), seals, blue penguins, gannets.

  • 1-Day Trips
  • 1-Day Trips

  • We offer 3 options for our one-day trips: Bay of Mystery Tour, Captain Cook's Footprints, and Whale of a Tale. These trips are very popular with Marlborough schools, ideal for learning about our local history and culture. These day trips are available all year, weather permitting.

    This year (2019) we are also offering a special Totaranui 250 eco/history tour.

    Tutanekai has a survey for classes of up to 36 tamariki plus 4 adults, plus Whaea Takutai and Matua Pete for a total of 42 paxs. All Life Jackets are supplied and must be worn aboard Tutanekai at all times. Click Safety link for Health & Safety information.

    COST: $50 +GST for each person (child or adult), max of 40 paxs.
    DURATION: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (approximately)

    Please remember to download and modify the EOTC External Provider Agreement Form as needed.

  • Bay of Mystery Tour

    People / Topics discussed:

    • Oral Histories of Totaranui
    • How the Sounds were formed
    • Kahura's Pa Site where 10 of Furneaux's crew were killed
    • Arapawa Sheep
    • Captain Cook's goats
    • Hector Dolphins - smallest in the world
    • The Prince of Wales - old sailing ship
    • WW2 Gun bunkers / emplacements

    Two alternative tour options are available.

    For more details... click to open PDF

  • Captain Cook's Footprints

    People / Topics discussed:

    • Captain Cook - overview of his life
    • Captain Cook's 3 voyages to NZ
    • Captain Cook Monument
    • History of Maori in NZ
    • Japanese Invasion
    • Ship Cove
    • Tupaia, the Tahitian Tohunga
    • WW2 Gun bunkers / emplacements
    • Moutara Island Bird Sanctuary (guided tour)

    Two alternative tour options are available.

    For more details... click to open PDF

  • Whale of a Tale

    People / Topics discussed:

    • Legend of Kupe.
    • John 'Jacky' Guard - 1st whaler.
    • Te Awaiti - 1st settlement on South Island.
    • Dieffenback - 1st NZ conservationist.
    • Wairau Affray.
    • Te Atiawa sell sounds to NZ Company.
    • Treaty of Waitangi.
    • Sealers, Whalers and Fishermen.
    • Te Rauparaha, Ngati Toa & their Allies.
    • Positive & Negative impacts of Shipping, Aquaculture and Farming on the Sounds Environment.

    For more details... click to open PDF

  • Totaranui 250

    2019 marks 250 years since the first of Captain Cook's three voyages.

    To commemorate, we would like to Tautoko this Kaupapa of Dual Heritage - Shared Future by offering schools all-day Eco/History cruises on the Tutanekai following in the footsteps of both Kupe, Cook and Tupaia.

    Sites visited/viewed:
    Cooks Lookout, Kahura's pa site, Pickersgil Island, Bald Hill, East Bay, Ship Cove, Motuara Island, and Wharehunga where 10 of Furneaux's crew were killed.

    For more details... click to open PDF

  • 3-Day Camps
  • Multi-Day Camps

  • In addition to our 1-day trips, we also offer a 3-day school camp that allows you to see all the significant sites the Sounds has to offer. This includes catered stays at either Resolution Bay Resort or Furneaux Lodge.

    COST: $150 +GST for each person (child or adult)
    CAPACITY: max of 40 paxs.
    DEPARTURE: 9:00 AM on day 1
    RETURN: 5:00 PM (approximately) on day 3

    For more details... click to open PDF

  • The Kaupapa (Ideals) of Eco School Camps

    • Kaitiakitanga (Guardianship of the Environment)
    • Knowing and Understanding Your History
    • Culture and Environment
  • Being together on a boat for three days teaches tamariki a lot about respect - respect for their elders, each other and for the Tutanekai. By the end of the camp, they are always like a well-oiled machine, everybody knowing what jobs and roles they need to play. Parents help to tie the boat up, all of the tamariki learn how to steer the waka.

    Please remember to download and modify the EOTC External Provider Agreement Form as needed.

  • As part of our cultural awareness theme, we encourage all schools to stay at the beautiful Waikawa Marae (for a catered or uncatered stay) on the night BEFORE the adventure starts.

    Sleeping in the wharenui is like sleeping within the pages of a history book and is a wonderful, memorable experience. You can contact them directly or make a booking via their website.

    If the Marae is booked out, an alternative accommodation place is the Waikawa Bay Holiday Park. You can check availability and book online via their website.

  • Day One

    Begins with a cultural experience. We visit Te Awaiti, the first shore-based whaling station and first settlement in the South Island.

    Later, you'll go on a guided walk with Matua Pete who will show and explain about the large Urupa of the early whalers and their families.

    You'll get to see and touch whalebone that can still be found on the beach after a storm, and whale oil in the banks.

    For more details... click to open PDF

  • Day Two

    You'll visit the Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary - home to some of New Zealand's rarest birds. Takutai will guide you to the top where there is a stage that towers over the treetops, learning about the native trees and bird life in the process.

    We then spend the afternoon exploring "The Bay Of Mystery". This inlet is the most remote in the Sounds and is Maori's Spiritual Heartland of the Sounds.

    You'll also see the remains of a sunken sailing ship called "The Prince of Wales" - one of NZ's immigrant ships. Then we'll steam over to Resolution Bay.

  • Day Three

    We start out with a visit to Endeavour Inlet to see the only catchment of virgin bush to be found at sea-level in the Sounds. It's like walking through Jurassic Park.

    Next, we head over to Blumine Island for a guided 2-hour walk with Whaea Takutai through this island bird sanctuary. It is 4 times larger than the Moutuara Bird Sanctuary and has lots of ancient bush with lots of water.

    It is also home to two WW2 Gun Emplacements, so there is a lot of history to be learnt from this experience.

  • Safety
  • Health & Safety Info


    Here's What to Bring With You:

    Sleeping bag
    Warm hat
    Water proof coat/Trousers
    Thermals if available
    x 2 Woollen Jerseys
    x 2 Woollen Socks
    x 2 Other Socks
    Underwear, for the days away
    Swimming togs
    x 2 towels
    x 1 tea towel
    Plate, bowl & cup
    Knife, fork & spoon
    Torch (spare batteries)
    Camera & Film
    Any Medication!


    Pete's Cell0275 404 407
    Takutai's Cell 022 137 2454
    Picton Police(03) 520-3120
    Picton Medical Centre(03) 573-6092
    Wairau Hospital(03) 520-9999
    Tranzrail Rescue Boat111
    Westpac Helicopter111
    Arrow Water Taxi(03) 573-8229
    Beachcomber Cruises(03) 573-6175
    Cougar Line(03) 573-7925
    Resolution Bay Cabins(03) 579-9411
    Furneaux Lodge(03) 579-8259
    Waikawa Marae(03) 573-7528
    Waikawa Bay Holiday Park(03) 573-7434
  • Recommended Accommodation Providers
    (click logo to visit website)

  • Photos
  • Captured Memories

  • Testimonials
  • Testimonials - How People Feel About Our Eco Cruises

  • This is the best outdoor education programme I have encountered and I warmly recommend it to all schools. If a school is looking for a programme which will deliver
    not only valuable experiences for children but genuine educational value as well, this is it. The learning acquired on this trip is deep, broad and meaningful.

    Pete and Takutai are superb hosts, and make everyone feel very welcome. They relate brilliantly to young and old and are passionate about what they offer and what they have to impart.

    The journey aboard Tutanekai is very comfortable as the travellers island hop around Queen Charlotte Sound. Pete’s commentary is continuous and easy listening, full of fascinating geography, science, history, and environmental education. He delivers his information with expertise, involving the children constantly.

    Takutai was our guide on the land. She is the epitomy of Maori hospitality and her knowledge and love of the natural environment is infectious. Our walks with her through the bush on various islands were very special times. We got up close with birds and animals we sadly never encounter on the mainland and did our best not to disturb the peace and tranquility.

    From Tutanekai we encountered dusky and Hectors dolphins, king shags, seals, and gannets. We met the legendary Betty Rowe and her Arapawa goats, sheep and pigs
    - what an amazing woman she is. We viewed innumerable historical sites and heard the fascinating stories around them.

    Accommodation was brilliant, especially the teepees and we were quite happy catering for ourselves. It was a huge bonus to be able to stay at the beautiful Waikawa Marae, to experience tikanga Maori, and meet the tangata whenua and hear their stories.

    I have made three trips now with school groups and each trip was unforgettable. It was uplifting to see our children respond to the people they met and to the environment, with respect and enjoyment. All New Zealand children need an experience like this. Kia ora rawa atu Pete and Takutai. Kia kaha tonu.

    Mike Davey, St. Albans School, Christchurch

  • My name is Grant Hakaria and I am the kaiako (teacher) of the senior class in Te Tikanga Rua Reo o Hato apani (St Albans School Maori Bilingual Unit) based in Christchurch. The focus for our tamariki is always to speak and learn in Maori.

    Matua Pete (Uncle Pete) and Whaea Takutai (Aunty Takutai) with their wealth of knowledge and understanding of te ao Maori (the Maori world) have provided an opportunity and experience that our Bilingual Unit have not been able to find anywhere else. The children came away with a better respect and understanding of their environment. This philosophy made a real connection with our tamariki and our Maori beliefs.

    Whaea Takutai would kerero (talk) to the tamariki in Maori, which helped us stick within our kaupapa (focus: learning and speaking in te reo Maori). While Matua Pete and Whaea Takutai both provided us with the history and knowledge of the area. This experience was not successful by their knowledge alone. It was also made possible through the connections they allowed us to make with the local people of the Queen Charlotte Sounds (Totaranui).

    Some highlights expressed by the tamariki were staying in the tipee village and visiting the Arapawa wildlife Sanctuary. These experiences alone made the trip fantastic, but including the fact that you travel regularly to different islands daily was also amazing.

    I am extremely recommending that all schools should undertake this Eco-tour. The benefits of learning about the environment and its implications for the future and that of the Maori history shared from both Maori and Pakehe perspectives are invaluable. So true is this that I will be booking this tour again next year.

    Grant Hakaria, Kaiako o Te Tikanga Rua Reo, Hato apani

  • Hi Pete and Takutai,

    Thought it was about time I dropped you a line to thank you for all your hard work and efforts in making the year 8 trip so informative, fun and such an adventure. They are still buzzing from the whole experience....there was so much packed in to the 3 days that they will remember for many years to come.

    Being based on the Tutanekai made a real point of difference from other school trips and was a whole new experience for most of the kids.

    Penny Henderson, Ohaka School

  • Dear Pete & Takutai,

    I am writing to thank you both so much for a wonderful trip on “Tutanekai” last Thursday. My children & I enjoyed everything about it, it rates amongst the best trips we’ve had. I was particularly impressed with the commentary and the obvious love you both have for the Sounds. The kids learnt heaps about conservation.

    I was also impressed with the dignity & courtesy with which you treated the kids on board – little people loved to be talked "to" not "down to" and I think this was a big part of their enjoyment.

    Well done too for putting life jackets on them the first time that has ever happened for us (& we’ve been on plenty of boat trips!) We’ll definitely come again!"

    Kind regards, Anna Ballerby, 76 Moenui Bay R.D. 1

  • During the second week of March, Whataroa’s senior class had the unique pleasure of visiting the Marlborough Sounds with Pete and Takutai on their Myths and Legends eco tour. It was the tour of a lifetime, fabulous beyond words and wonderfully educational.

    The students were absolutely entranced with the legends and historical stories told by Uncle Pete. They learned about whaling in Queen Charlotte Sound, Captain Cook’s voyages to the area, early Maori life in the area and several Maori legends about places in the Sounds. Uncle Pete also showed and talked about the impact of mankind on the sounds and demonstrated ecological changes that have happened in the area because of man.

    Auntie took the children on two awe-inspiring walks; one over Arapawa Island and a second over part of the Queen Charlotte Great Walk. On each walk she talked about the plant and animal life with the children, encouraging them to learn to identify the birds and vegetation native to the area. Of special joy was the visit to the beautiful bird sanctuary, with Auntie leading the children on a"silent walk” to listen to the birdsong without remembering that unique visit.

    Thanks to Uncle Pete and Auntie Takutai, the children had the opportunity to “drive a boat”, laugh at seals sunning themselves on rocks, wonder at the ecological impact of marine farming and the ferry and learn the horrors of early whaling.

    The warmth and kindness of Pete and Takutai was reflected in their care of the children; lifejackets for everyone, great wholesome meals and an overall atmosphere of genuine caring from guides who love what they do and enjoy sharing it with children.

    Truly, it was the best camp I have ever been on and I have been teaching for over 30 years. So much fun and so much learning. Tied to the curriculum in so many areas too; social studies, science and Te Reo of course. I can only hope we get to go back in the future so that our younger children can experience this rare treat!

    Sherry, Senior Class Teacher, Whataroa School

  • Kia ora Pete and Takutai

    Well here I am in my office on a Friday afternoon and our camp kids have just returned all buzzing and smiling and falling over themselves to tell me all about their fantastic trip. It warms my heart to see their big grins and I know that once again you two (plus the magic of the moana and Tutanekai) have given our tamariki memories they will treasure for a lifetime. Maurice has called in too and also spoke very highly of you both and the experience as a whole - he loved it.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. It was very hard to wave you all goodbye on Wednesday, knowing that I wasn't going too, but I know my time will come again.

    On that note, please do send me some info about the celebrations next year. I am super keen to get involved.

    I hope you both have a restful weekend planned.
    Ngā mihi nui

    Sarah Peacock, Deputy Principal, Murchison Area School