Our team leaders have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of continued learning, personal development and sustained growth.


Individually they have devoted nearly two decades to their own self-education and between them have invested in excess of $500K into their personal training and development.  


Being well travelled, they have experienced a multitude of diverse ethnicities and life situations, which has allowed them to accumulate a vast array of knowledge with which to draw on.


Independently they have achieved success and notoriety in a wide range of fields. They are all extremely motivated, high achievers and have experienced success in life, both professionally and personally.


Together they bring their inspiration, motivation, enthusiasm and experience to the Adventure Leadership Expeditions programme.


Mike Catton

Mike Catton


Mike, originally from the UK, is passionate about the practical application of the latest research into human performance and it all began when serving 11 years in the British Army.

During that time he became a Chartered Aircraft Engineer and led teams of 120+ men and women. He managed aircraft fleets of 30+ helicopters, was responsible for the investigation of a fatal air crash, and led teams on operational tours of duty. As a direct result he developed practical hands on leadership and management skills and experience.


Whilst serving in the military Mike had a great interest in the outdoors and qualified as a Mountain Leader and Ski Instructor. He also led or was involved in expeditions to countries including Thailand, Canada, Italy, Germany, Norway and France, covering activities such as whitewater kayaking, rafting, climbing, trekking, alpine skiing and cross country skiing.

In the decade since leaving the military, Mike has dedicated his focus and passion on people and how they can perform to their highest human potential, either as individuals or within teams.

He has studied a wide range of fields and gained qualifications in nutrition, personal training, personality profiling (TMS and MBTI), neuro linguistic programming (NLP), to instructor level, fire walking, wilderness first aid and coaching (Internationally accredited).

Additionally Mike has attended many none qualifying courses including topics such as sales and marketing, business development, leadership, philosophy, psychology, leadership charisma, presenter skills etc.

Mike immigrated to New Zealand in 2006 and since then his work has won international awards in 2008 and 2011.

He has been a contract corporate trainer for the New Zealand Institute of Management and the Chamber of Commerce. Most of his time however is spent doing what he loves most; sharing and applying knowledge, and delivering ‘in house’ programs to corporate clients around New Zealand, such as Airways, Meridian Energy, Ngai Tahu, Arrow International, MG Marketing, Thrifty Car Rental, Environment Canterbury and Jade Software.

In demand topics include leadership, strategy, planning, innovation, collaboration, team building, coaching skills for managers, time management and peak performance skills.

Mike is continually pushing his own personal limits. He has competed in the Coast to Coast multi-sport endurance race, and is currently training for the the Gold Rush.

He is married to Kathy and they have 2 young boys, Ben and Sam, which Mike is keen to set a fine example to. This means balancing ‘work’ (actually it’s his hobby) and home life so that the boys get their fair share of adventures too.




Ellis Emmett

Ellis Emmett


A proud and patriotic New Zealander, Ellis has travelled all over the globe in search of knowledge, exploration and adventure. His many and varied adventures have taken him from the peaks of inaccessible mountain tops, deep into remote jungle, to over 1,000 feet beneath the ocean – and literally hundreds of places in between. 

But it’s not just about pushing his limits and overcoming challenges. It is about living his dream, sharing it, and in turn motivating others to live their own dreams. 


Ellis’ whole reason for being is to explore, learn, educate and inspire! 

Ellis’ gift for storytelling, his passion for the outdoors and his numerous worldwide adventures have led him to becoming an international television personality, author and inspirational speaker. 

His role as television presenter has landed him on the world stage, featuring on networks such as National Geographic, The Outdoor Life Network, Halogen and The Travel Channel, reaching millions of people in over 130 countries worldwide. 

As host of the groundbreaking new 13-part, adventure travel dive documentary ‘Descending’, Ellis, along with a small team of filmmakers, travelled the world for 18-months, covering 16 countries, on a quest to discover our aquatic planet like never before. On their journey they were privileged to explore and experience the underwater world that few of us will ever get to see. 

Ellis has travelled extensively with his filming career, but also as an adventure traveller, travelling through 40 countries. He has had many wild and exhilarating experiences that have landed him in more than the occasional spot of bother. From falling and being trapped at the bottom of a crevasse while ice climbing, being swept down perilously wild rapids, being jailed and interrogated at gunpoint, to an emergency ascent from the bottom of volcanic caldera in Iceland. 

To most these ‘holiday travel’ experiences might seem more like travel-nightmares, but to Ellis there is nothing better than living life on the WILD SIDE! 

However it is not all about action and adrenalin pumping adventures, Ellis is also a business entrepreneur, leader and coach, inspiring all those around him to live life to the fullest. 



As well as our experienced team leaders, you will be accompanied and looked after by our team of qualified on-river guides. Their passion for the river, the environment and their extensive knowledge of the area and its geology will make your trip an unforgettable experience.

In the remote location of this expedition, with ever changing climatic and river conditions, safety is a number 1 priority. Our on-river guides are all highly trained and qualified with loads of experience. They are not only employed for their guiding skills, but also for their great personalities, enthusiasm for life and their shared adventurous spirit.

However, they won’t just look after you on the river. At the end of the day, when setting up camp in glorious settings along the river, our guides will cook you delicious snacks, entrées, meals and deserts that you will not believe possible in such a location.

Our guides take pride in making sure that you have the adventure of a lifetime that is unforgettable!


 “It is the lives that we encounter that make life worth living”