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The Innovative Travel Company Tour Hosts

The Innovative Travel Company prides itself on working with tour hosts who are experts in their fields and who each add very special 'insider' knowledge to enhance our clients experience and insight unique to their tour.  We are very privileged to work with some of New Zealand's most reputed and trusted personalities from all walks of life.

Previous tour hosts include Dame Malvina Major (Member of the Order of New Zealand); Jeremy Coney (former New Zealand cricket captain and commentator);  Bernice Mene (former New Zealand netball team captain); Lois Muir (former New Zealand netball coach); John Hawkesby (Radio and television personality); and Peta Methias (Chef and Author).

 Rene Wilson

Former New Zealand Ambassador to Egypt Rene Wilson recently concluded a diplomatic career during which he represented New Zealand in the Asia Pacific region, serving in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and in the Middle East, Africa and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. In 1999 Rene became High Commissioner to South Africa also covering Kenya, Mozambique and other African nations. In 2006 he was appointed New Zealand's first resident Ambassador in Cairo, a post he served in for nearly five years also covering Libya and travelling extensively in Egypt and the Middle East region.

For four years Rene represented New Zealand at the annual commemorations of the Battle of El Alamein and also visited and laid wreaths at remote and seldom visited sites.  Rene has recently hosted a tour to Monte Cassino in Italy for the 70th Commemorations.

Rene Wilson's next tour: May 2019 Monte Cassino 75th Anniversary (from Taranto to Trieste)

 Rev. Mike Hawke

In 2010, Reverend Mike Hawke  co-hosted a tour to Jordan, Israel and Oberammergau. The tour popularity has created further interest to visit the Holyland & Jordan again in 2012 & 2015.

Formerly the Vicar of St Christopher's Church in Avonhead from 1988- 2010, next Mike was based with the Anglican Mission Board as its Church Support officer, a role which involves travelling around both New Zealand and the Pacific, providing a wider view of the church & its communities.  Mike is now the Dean of Nelson Cathedral.

Patsy, Mikes wife - an ex teacher - will be accompanying him on his latest pilgrimage.

Rev. Mike Hawke's next tour: Aug 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play

 Colleen Doyle

Colleen is a very experienced tour host bringing over 25 years experience with groups to Asia, Australasia, the Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Canada.  Her unique style, sense of humour and genuine concern for passengers enhances the tours she hosts.   Comments from past clients  include words like: unflappable, loads of fun, innovative, organised and caring.

In recent years she has co-hosted tours with Dame Malvina Major and Rev. Mike Hawke. Colleen is an ordained minister, so teaming with Rev. Mike Hawke for Pilgrimage tours of Jordan and Israel has combined two hosts ideally fitted for this special type of tour. Colleen comes from a background of many years working in the travel industry, hospital administration, church work and as a carer for the elderly.  As a tour host she is well qualified in this role.

Colleen Doyle's next tour:  May 2019 Travel Companions Club Trans Siberian/Mongolia

 Mike Yardley

Mike Yardley is an award-winning broadcaster, mixing his twin passions for news and travel.  Based in his hometown of Christchurch, Mike is a current affairs commentator/writer, travel columnist and correspondent on radio and in print.  He is Newstalk ZB's travel correspondent, with a weekly slot on the Jack Tame Saturday Morning Show.

Travel has been an abiding life-long passion.  Mike has travelled to 77 countries, worked on-board a Greek cruise ship, and in addition to his travel media work has been an international tour group leader in recent years.  Mike has led two group tours to Gallipoli for the ANZAC day commemorations, and is looking forward to returning to Turkey for the ANZAC Centennial.


 Roy Ferguson

Roy Ferguson has been a career diplomat serving in a variety of posts over a 40 year career.  He was New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States from 2006 – 10 and prior to that Ambassador to Korea.  He has always had a passion for New Zealand's military history dating back to his student days studying history and enriched by the opportunity to see many of the places where New Zealanders have served abroad.  His grandfathers fought in the Boer War and the First World War.  His Dad served in the Pacific and in Italy in World War II and Roy accompanied him on a return to Italy in 1995. 

Roy has spoken at ANZAC Day Services in the Republic of Korea at the time of the Fiftieth anniversary of that conflict and also on several occasions in the United States at the National Cathedral in Washington, where he also established links with the Ataturk Society. He is an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Korean War Veterans Association and an Honorary Life Member of the United States Second Marine Division.

Roy Ferguson's next tour: Oct 2018 Liberation of Le Quesnoy Tour 2

 Dr Damien Fenton
Dr Damien Fenton is a military historian based in Wellington.  His interests include Australian and New Zealand military history and he has worked in this area as an academic and a public historian in both Australia and New Zealand.  Raided in Mt Maunganui and an alumni of Waikato University, Damien then moved to Australia to complete this PhD.

His first  book 'A False Sense of Security: the Force Structure of the NZ Army 1946-1978' was published in 1998.  He is the author of 'New Zealand and the First World War' (Penguin NZ,  2013), one of the first books to be published as part of the official Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War series.

His most recent publication is 'The Anzacs: An inside view of New Zealanders at Gallipoli' (Penguin, NZ 2015).


Dr Stephen Clarke


Stephen's in-depth interest in WW I history began with specialist degrees from NZ and Australian universities and later five years as Chief Executive of NZ RSA.  He has been closely involved with many major national commemorative projects, such as the return from the Somme of the Unknown New Zealand Warrior in 2004 and a major programme to raise the awareness in NZ for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in 2007.

Since 2011, Stephen has worked with government, museums and organisations in New Zealand & the UK including the Royal British Legion in London; with the key focus on the 1st World War Centenary. Projects included involvement with the momentous poppies installation at the Tower of London, the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and Remembrance Sunday in Whitehall.  In 2015 he co-hosted a large NZ focused tour to Gallipoli for the 100th anniversary on Anzac Day 2015.  Like many New Zealanders Stephen has personal family connections to the Western Front in The Somme and at Passchendaele.


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