About Us

Wanaka River Journeys

Brent and Sue Pihama are our names. We created, own and operate Wanaka River Journeys (as well as breathe, eat and sleep our business like most small business owners).

We moved to Wanaka in 1985, and with our three children have skied, flown, hunted, boated and explored in the Matukituki Valley so know it pretty well. In November 2005 we began our jet boating business dream and are now lucky enough to make a living sharing our passion for this amazing area. Oh, and we also like biking....

Our Whanau who are the River Journeys Team:

  • Brent River Operations / Jet Boat Driver
  • Leah Manager
  • Sue Sales
  • Ben Jet Boat Driver
  • James Jet Boat Driver 
  • Greg Shuttle Driver
  • Courtney Packraft Guide
  • Alice Packraft Guide

The Team


Ops Manager/ Jet Boat Driver

Brent knows more about the Matukituki River than any living person and has jet boated it more than all of our drivers combined. 



Jet Boat Driver

Ben grew up in Rohan at his family farm Bonspiel Station; Peter Jackson's favourite Lord of the Rings film location. Ben is our number 8 wire Guy !



Behind the scenes Sue keeps the wheels rolling and the Jet Boat Drivers from having too much fun...


Shuttle driver

Gregs welcoming personality & knowledge of the area make him our number one shuttle driver



Ms Kea is in charge of marketing and promotions....she's a pretty cool chick


Jet Boat Driver

James has been driving Jet Boats and Guiding for us for several years, he is our Flora and fauna guy



Our Dynamic multitasking manager Leah always has her finger on the pulse.


Packraft Guide

Courtney is a world freestyle kayaking champ, we are really stoked to have her on our team


Packraft Guide

Basically a fish. Alice likes all things water related, whens she's not showing you around the Matukituki you can find her in a canyon playing in the waterfalls.


Wanaka River Journey's Environmental stance is represented in our company name, presentation of our product, branding and the passion of our staff. We wear our Qualmark Enviro Silver award with pride on our craft and in our marketing.

Ours is a Journey and it is on this Journey that our clients are introduced to the Mount Aspiring National Park and Maori beliefs about the mountains and the waterways that flow from them.

Our clients learn of all of these aspects while enjoying our totally unique wilderness experience which incorporates Mount Aspiring, hanging glaciers, cultural and environmental information, and the exhilaration of a jet boat ride and the peace of a wilderness Walk.

We are guardians of the Matukituki Valley. We see daily changes in the environment; we monitor river, bird and human activity in the valley and will take action when needed.

We work closely with the other guardians; D.O.C, the Valley’s farmers, other tourism operators and climbers. It is our expertise and depth of knowledge of the Valley’s environment that is called upon in many instances from river safety to river rescue, from fish, eel, birdlife and flood information to stoat trapping programs.

The most important part of our Journey and one we pride ourselves on is sharing our knowledge of this impressive and yet fragile environment with our visitors so they can return home with an awareness of the importance of balance between the land and its people.


Mõ te Tangata mõ te whenua

It’s about the people, it’s about the place


Qualmark is New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality which licenses professional and trustworthy New Zealand tourism businesses

Wanaka River Journeys is Qualmark endorsed and is endorsed Qualmark- Enviro Silver. Our company also complies with the New Zealand Maritime Safety Authority Industry standard for jet boating operations.

So what all this means is that our company has comprehensive policies and procedures in place that govern our daily operations including safe operating procedures and environmental policies, as well as this our staff, boats and vehicles comply to a high standard of efficiency, safety, presentation and training. 

The Koru

The Koru or unfurling fern frond is special to all New Zealanders and we chose this for our logo to represent our Journey.

The koru symbolizes the unfolding of new life, encouraging new and positive beginnings and of striving for perfection. The koru shape is often used in Maori art and is a dominant part of Maori carving and tattooing.

The shoot of the fern has a scroll shape which unfolds and becomes the Fern Leaf which is New Zealand's national symbol.