About Us

Our history and environmental committments

Our History

Abel Tasman AquaTaxi is a family owned business servicing New Zealand’s most popular national park. Back in 1990 AquaTaxi pioneered the use of smaller, faster water taxis in the Abel Tasman National Park.

AquaTaxi was founded by Kelvin and Jane Goodman. The operation started out by offering charter services but quickly realised there was a gap in the market for water transport that provided customers with the opportunity to access sections of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track for one-day and overnight trips. In 2000 AquaTaxi opened the first all-weather, purpose-built water taxi base in Marahau. This base was built to match the unique aesthetic of the local Marahau village. The outdoor area is similar to a wharf, the external cladding is predominately natural wood and inside, the service counter is the same shape as a ship’s hull. The counter was built by a local sculptor.

In March 2004 AquaTaxi was purchased by Ngai Tahu Tourism. The business returned to private ownership in May 2012, when it was purchased by the Alborn family of Marahau. The Alborn family had owned and operated Marahau Water Taxis since 1997 as well as various other businesses servicing the Abel Tasman National Park.

Our Boats

AquaTaxi has been using Osprey boats since 1996. Our first Osprey water taxi, “Matakana” was the first built by what was then a small Nelson engineering firm. Many years and over twenty boats later we continue to improve each vessel’s comfort, safety and overall performance.

The Abel Tasman is a unique operating environment with New Zealand’s largest tidal range at over five metres and with its many tidal lagoons. This means the difference in water levels between high and low tides is dramatic with the water receding a long way out during low tides. Our smaller boats can be towed by tractor down to the low tide waterline where they can be launched directly from their trailers. This is not possible for the large, ferry-type vessels commonly found in other parts of New Zealand and around the world.

Our boats can operate in water depths as shallow as 400mm. They are also maneuverable so can access those secret, out-of-the-way spots along the coastline such as Shag Harbour and Falls River on many tide conditions. Our water taxis also use super-quiet four stroke outboards engines, the use of which allows passengers to hear the natural sounds of the Park.

Environmental Sustainability

Abel Tasman AquaTaxi is proud to be a certified Zero Carbon business.

We offset 100% of our emissions and make a contribution to local conservation projects on behalf of every customer. We believe that enjoying our stunning natural environment and protecting it go hand in hand. Your experience with us will help plant native trees, restore waterways, build climate resilience and restore our biodiversity.

To find out more about our commitment and journey towards sustainable tourism, please visit AbelTasman.com/sustainability

Our key sustainability initiatives are:

1 Carbon Footprint: Our business operations will have a net zero carbon footprint.
We started our journey towards becoming carbon neutral by identifying the largest contributors to the carbon footprint of our business operations: (1) The petrol and diesel required to power our water taxis, tractors, buses and other company vehicles; (2) The electricity and LPG required to run the energy using equipment in our buildings; and (3) The waste created by our daily business operations, particularly the waste generated by our guests at the Marahau Beach Camp.
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2 Ecological Restoration:
We will contribute to the ecological sustainability of our local environment.
Our contribution to this ecological restoration work is therefore through our financial and logistical support of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, Project Janszoon and the Department Of Conversation.
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3Waste Management: We will minimise the waste resulting from our daily business operations.
We have taken every practical step to reduce the amount of waste that results from our daily business operations.  We have recycling stations at all of our operating bases for our own waste and the waste generated by our customers.
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4 Community Support:
We will actively support the wellbeing of our local community. We sponsor a number of local community and sports groups and support local schools, clubs and community groups by providing travel vouchers and merchandise for their fundraising efforts.
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5 Education and Engagement:
We will actively engage visitors and our local community on the importance of resorting, protecting and enhancing our natural environment
We love sharing our knowledge of the Abel Tasman’s flora and fauna and incredible success story of the restoration of the Park’s biodiversity and ecology.
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There is additional information on conserving the Abel Tasman here and a bunch of stuff about the flora and fauna in the Park here.

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