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

We are deeply committed to providing our customers with a quality experience.  At the same time, we do everything possible to ensure our business operations have the minimum impact on the environment and our community.  In fact, our aim is to enhance and influence positive changes in our local community and this wonderful natural environment that we call home.  The long-term sustainability of our business is directly connected to the sustainability of our community and environment.

Our key sustainability initiatives are:

1 We are constantly striving to minimise fuel consumption. We continue to invest heavily in the most fuel-efficient boat motors and other fuel-saving technologies. All of our boats have been fitted with electronic fuel gauges to help each boat skipper ensure they are running their boats as efficiently as possible at all times. In 2017 our parent company invested in the establishment of a full workshop at our Marahau base to service and maintain our boats. This has lead to massive improvements to the lifespan and efficiency of our equipment.

2 We are always trying to reduce waste by reusing and recycling. We also offer our customers recycling facilities and encourage our customers to reuse containers and bottles whenever possible.
3 We do everything we can to minimise our water usage by turning off taps when we are not directly using water and by using water saving technologies. We also have a rainwater harvesting system at our main water taxi storage sheds.
4 We support various charitable organisations in their efforts to protect and restore our local environment. For example, we donate 10c from each passenger fare to the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust. As well as paying a share of each passenger fare to the Department of Conservation as part of our concessions to operate in the Abel Tasman National Park, we also transport DOC staff free of charge. We also provide various forms of sponsorship and donations to local sports clubs, schools and other community groups throughout each year.
5 We will activity encourage our customers to act responsibly when they are using the National Park.
There is additional information on conserving the Abel Tasman here and a bunch of stuff about the flora and fauna in the Park here.