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What It Takes to Be a Haka Tour Manager

We’re lucky to not only live in such a spectacular country, but have a job that
allows us to show it off to the world.
Even us here in the office feel fortunate to be in such a position, but we have
nothing on our colleagues on the roads.
Our tour managers are quite literally in the thick of it most days, and they
wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a cliche saying often used when a
vacancy calls for bus driver or guide applications: “a corner office with a
However lame it is, it also has some merit. The views to be seen on the job
are truly magnificent. Also, we don’t call for drivers to do the same boring
1-hour city route every day. This route changes constantly, and takes you
through some of the most pristine landscapes in the world.
As if that weren’t enough, there is no other role in the world that’ll provide
the same opportunities for making new friends – from all over the world. If
you’re a personable person, this is how to meet the people.
If you think you’d like to take a jab at the ‘best job in the world,’ read on to
see what it takes to be a Haka Tours guide!

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Technical Requirements

Before we get to the fun stuff, there are some admin-y criteria we take into
consideration when recruiting a new guide.
Firstly, and most obviously, you need to be eligible to work in NZ. Check out
this link to see your options and if you qualify.
License-wise, you need your Class 2 Full License (allowing you to drive larger
vehicles like the Haka bus), and a P Endorsement (allowing you to drive
passengers professionally, – i.e. for money).
We also need a valid first aid certificate.
Guiding experience is not essential, but it is preferred.
If you’re interested, here is the application process:
Step 1: Send us a quick video chatting about yourself, or tell us about your
favourite travel experience. We’d love to get to know you better!
Step 2: If you’re successful in step 1, we’ll invite to an initial interview, either via
Skype, or in-person. Proceeding this, will be the second interview. This will have
to be in-person.

Step 3: You’ll be offered a place on our Training Trip commencing end August
2017 (approximately 4 weeks).
Please note first work sequences start in October.
So if this sounds like you, hit record and tell us all about why you want to be a
Haka Tour Manager! Send your applications to,
and we’ll get back to you with further details.

Personality & Attitudinal Traits

It’s not enough just knowing how to drive a bus. Of course that’s a
requirement, but it’s not enough on its own. 90% of being a great guide
comes down to your personality.
We’re proud of our current guides, and they consistently earn praise from
the guests in their tour groups, thanks to their attitude and competence.
Haka Tours just wouldn’t be who it is without them; they’re the reason
we’ve found the successes we have. Obviously, a tour company with rubbish
guides wouldn’t last long, so we make sure to only hire the best of the best!
Some testimonials on our guides:
“Andy was my tour guide and he was so positive, fun, and adventurous. He
made sure that every person on tour had an amazing experience that was in
line with their individual goals for their tour.”
“My guide Willow was one of a kind- brilliant at her job and a joy to be
around. She is so knowledgeable about her country, able to provide us with
fantastic alternatives when weather made activities or locations unavailable,
and giving us a glimpse into authentic NZ wherever we went.”

“Probably the best part of the tour was our guide Burto. He went above and
beyond to ensure that everyone was happy and could do the activities they
to. His enthusiasm and relaxed attitude was awesome.”
While the job seems fun – and it certainly is – there’s also a lot we expect of
our guides. First, you have to be able to take charge.
This one’s obvious. You’re responsible for a group of new people every time a
tour kicks off, and you have to engage with them from start to finish. This
will mean confidence in solving problems, confidence in giving things a go
(tour guides participate the same as guests), but really, it’s just about being a
consistently friendly and welcoming face for the length of the tour. Guests can
be wary of one another when the tour kicks off. An outgoing guide is all it
takes to ease the tension.
Other companies might take upwards of 50 people, and the guide could
likely get away with being the quiet type. Here at Haka, we like to think we’re
forming a bunch of new whānau, and the guide is the glue to get the job done.

Keep It Real

We’re a grass roots company, and we like our attitude to reflect that.
Part of the charm, and part of our appeal is owed to our down-to-earth
personality. There’s no room for an over-sized ego on the Haka bus, so don’t
pack it in your bags.
At the same time, we know our product works, and we want you to have
confidence in the Haka whanau. Speaking of…

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Whanau Comes First

Haka Tours is a whanau (family), and while we extend this welcome to our
guests, it’s vital that you can foster this relationship with your colleagues first.
At Haka we trust each other, and it’s important that we can be team players.
This way we can be there for each other (when needed), and share our
knowledge and ideas to other members of the whanau.


When you start your first tour, you’ll learn very quickly that no two work
days are the same. In the more literal sense, you’re in a different place most
days – which presents its own challenges.
But what we really mean is that any number of things can happen unexpectedly
on tour, so you must be flexible to a changing situation. It might be that a
particular road is closed, so it’s up to you to pick a new route. Or a guest may
become injured, and must be tended to immediately. Maybe an activity
supplier has decided to close last minute.
You get the idea. It could be just about anything; the point is, you need a cool
head to deal with it – whatever it may be. At the end of the day, how a tour is
received comes down the guide, so we expect our tour managers to be able to go
above and beyond to make the customers happy. That way Haka can be the
one-in-a-million tour provider!


Another thing you’ll learn – perhaps by the end of your first tour – that guiding
can be a draining job. If you’ve ever spent an entire day driving, you know what
this can feel like. Try multiplying that by 20.
It’s not just the driving itself either, you have to maintain a level of energy that
enthuses the guests, gets all the little side jobs done and gets you out of bed
first thing. Make sure you pack your box of Up & Go.
You need to be like the Energizer Bunny, so if you need a long time to recharge,
this role might not be for you.


Similar to being flexible, you absolutely must be able to multi-task.
The position may ask you to do a handful of things at one time, particularly
because of the product we offer. Customers are given the ability to customise
their tour, and make it suit their own preferences. While this is a great
competitive advantage for our business, it also presents some challenges for
the guides.
On a given day, Jane might want to go skydiving, while Joe would rather sip
wine at a vineyard. Jack might not fancy either of those options. If we want
Jane, Joe and Jack all happy, you need to be able to cater to each of their
needs. Organise your time accordingly and do your best to make it work. Of
course, it might be that it’s impossible to please everyone, but make sure you
give it a shot!
On top of this, there’s a decent of admin work to be done during the tour, like
processing payments, health and safety checks, bus checks etc. So make sure
you can comfortably juggle a few balls at once.


Above all, you must have a genuine passion in NZ. Ideally, you’ll be pretty
knowledgeable on the subject too.
We stress the adjective genuine – it’s easy to see when a guide is indifferent
about the place they’re showcasing. If you have no interest, why should our
guests? Alternatively if you’re enthused about our home, and proud of what
we’ve got – this feeling can be incredibly infectious.
All our current guides know New Zealand like the back of their hand, and
are eager to show it off to our visitors – and feedback has shown this passion
leaves with our guests too.


As we’ve said, any number of hiccups can arise on tour, so you must be
equipped to deal with it. The moment you let your frustration get the better
of you, molehills become mountains and things can fall apart.
Instead, let these problems become challenges, and face them head on. It
might be that the bus breaks down, or a customer has one too many questions
to ask.
If you can take a breath and deal with these hiccups, no matter how taxing they
may be – you’ll have what it takes.

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