Born in the beautiful wine country of the Hawke’s Bay, Paula grew up exploring the rugged coastline, the Art Deco city of Napier, and many of the unique and scenic highlights this region has to offer.
Her ancestors migrated to Te Ika-a-Maui, New Zealand's North Island, on the Te Arawa waka (canoe), settling in the surrounds of the Rotorua region in the Bay Of Plenty. Mokoia Island of Lake Rotorua would be the final settlement place of the Ngati Whakaue people, her direct ancestors. It is famously known for the union of Tutanekai (of the Ngati Whakaue people) and Hinemoa (of the Tuhourangi people), a forbidden love that brought about peace in the region. The story recounts of the heroic night swim of Hinemoa to her lover on Mokoia Island, guided by the sound of his flute. Mokoia Island was also the birthplace of Paula’s own grandmother, and the island holds special significance in her family’s extended heritage (whakapapa). Many of her family still live in Rotorua today, and she has visited the area frequently over the years.
With a strong family presence in the Royal New Zealand Navy (Te Taua Moana O Aotearoa), Paula followed in their footsteps and joined in 1999 at the age of 19. She travelled extensively over the years on various ships, around New Zealand and as far down as Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean, Australia, various parts of South East Asia, and served on peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands. She resigned in 2011 as a Lieutenant with specialist skills and experience in leadership, logistics, administration, people management, and customer service.
Paula was introduced to Queenstown in 2007 and instantly fell in love with its amazing scenery. Learning and exploring the Central Otago region over the coming years, Paula has gained an intimate level of knowledge about the area.
Paula’s passion working with people, a love for her culture and New Zealand’s history and attractions, allows her to enrich her client’s experiences. With the aim to set herself apart from the rest, Paula, along with her husband Phil, are learning to speak Spanish and plan to cater to the Spanish speaking tourism market in the not too distant future. Paula is also First Aid and CPR qualified, and is currently undertaking bookkeeping studies to assist with the management of the business.
Paula has lived in Perth, Australia for 5 years with Phil, and their son, Jackson, and returned to New Zealand to pursue a career as a Private Guide with EP Tours, the family owned and operated business of Judy McKenzie, her mother-in-law.