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Our Staff

Ashley Patea


Aio ki te Nuku
Aio ki te Rangi
Ko te kawa ora, ko te kawa ora
Tihei Mauri Ora

I was born and raised along the beautiful banks of the Whanganui River, immersed in the teachings and traditions of our people, grounded in the heritage of our culture that continues to make us, the people of the land unique. I’m very privileged to be be blessed with great family and whānau support that are a backbone to our journey forwards. I’m a well experienced river guide both in a proffessional capacity and a leisurely capacity, working for numerous operators on the Whanganui River and being a part of the ‘Tira Hoe Waka’ for the last 15 years. I’ve worked for Waka Tours, Whanganui River Guides, One River, Yucan Canoes and Wades Landing and now focus on creating and providing experiences for people through our very own ‘Ki Tai’ services. I’m deeply passionate about our Whanganui River and the magic it reveals to each and every person that experiences its magnificence. I believe we offer the most vibrant, safe, and fully informed service allowing all people to enjoy this life changing experience with no worries.
Release the worry, release the fear and let the Whanganui River and its magnificence caress you in to a world of beauty, a world of wonder. A world of spiritual healing and true bliss.

Rawiri Mcleod


Kia ora

I was born and raised in Auckland, in a family well grounded in strong Christian values. It is these values that have helped mould me in to the person I am today. It is only within the last 10 years that I’ve made connections back to my homelands identifying my genealogical links (Whakapapa) that derive from Taranaki through my mother and Whanganui through my father, the place that I reside in at present. And it is within these last 10 years that my passion for the river has flourished, a passion for our Maori culture, for the revival of our heritage through river journeys and extending experiences out to the wider world to have a sneak peek at the wonders of our World.

It was only 7 years ago that I first stepped foot into a waka on our Whanganui River, where the seed for my passion was planted. It was then that the idea of pursuing forwards in the footsteps of my ancestors began to excite me. An awakening that lead me down the path of establishing Ki Tai Ltd with others that shared the same passion as me. The establishment of a business intended to invigorate people’s mental capacity for the vibrant cultural history that resides in our region.

I have experienced guiding on many different journeys down the Whanganui River including our annual Whanganui Iwi Voyage, the  “Tira hoe waka.” Others include university groups such as Earlham College and Principia College from the United States that have participated in Journeys on the awa for the last 5 years.

Everyone experiences each journey differently. I take it unto myself as a Director of Ki Tai Ltd to ensure those experiences are enjoyed authentically throughout.

Hemi Gray


Whaia e au Manganui-o-te-ao,
Kia tau au ki runga o Ruapehu,
Ki Nga Turi o Murimotu,
Ko te Ahi-ka o-Paerangi-I te Whare-Toka,
I puta mai ai a Rangituhia, Rangiteauria me Uenuku-Manawa-Wiri.

I Whakapapa back to the Whanganui River on my Father’s side. I grew up in Taihape on our family farm and then moved away to boarding school where 5 years of my secondary education was at Hato Paora College. From college I joined the workforce before heading to England for my OE. It was at College and in London Maori performing arts became a passion of mine, a passion that took me around the United Kingdom and all of Europe. I’ve recently spent 5 months in the last two years showcasing Whanganui Maori culture to the people of Slovakia.  With an underlying passion for maori performing arts, adding to the mix is my passion for the Whanganui River. Since my first time involvement in the annual Tira Hoe Waka in 2008, our Whanganui iwi pilgrimage my passion grew and has lead me to this journey I am on today.

My personal interests include traveling around Aotearoa and the World showcasing Maori culture and sharing our culture in many forms including taking people down the Whanganui River. I also enjoy spending time with my family and loved one’s. I hope one day to be a commercial Jet boat operator.

My vision is to welcome Manuhiri and the different cultures to our special place in Aotearoa and empower our people of River.

Dianah Ngarongo


Tena kautau

Greetings my name is Dianah Ngarongo and I reside in Taumaurunui, Aotearoa beside the upper reaches of the Whanganui River and the three  Mountains, Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe.

I have been involved with many aspects of our majestic river, being tangata whenua (people of the land) we have a duty to share and look after our visitors as the river to us is more than rocks and rapids. It’s a life force to our people, something that connects us together from the Mountain to the Sea.

I have been guiding commercially for the last 16 years, but been on the river since I was an infant and am experienced in canoe navigation and crew management skills pertaining to 2 persons and 6 person canoe and canadian style fibreglass waka.

I have been involved in the process of building and maintaining six person fibre glass canoe with kevlar and fibre glass.
Our team will always demonstrate safety skills for people that come to share our culture and our beautiful river.
I hold a current first aid for the great outdoors and a full driver’s license.

I have completed kiwihost and am able to provide supreme customer service satisfaction to all of our guests.
I enjoy hunting, eeling, and 4 wheel quads, horse riding, my family, swimming and our Marae and sharing other cultures from afar with local and overseas visitors.
Our team is diverse in a range of skills that will ensure a real cultural river experience.


Te Riaki Te Oreore Ruru Hawira


Ko Ruapehu, ko Taranaki nga maunga
Ko Whanganui, ko Waitotara nga awa
Ko Ngati Uenuku, Ngati Rangi, Nga Rauru nga iwi

I have spent the last 13 years of my life dedicated to my passion for my river. At the age of 9, I experienced my first river trip and since then my passion and dedication to anything about the Whanganui River has grown. It was here that I established an initial bond with my river, our river.

I have been employed in multiple jobs involving river guiding and supervision of youth. These currently include jobs with the YMCA such as Court Assisted Camp, ‘Youth Development Supervisor and Oscar supervisor.
My personal interests include Muay Thai Kick boxing, Canoeing, Camping and Socialising

Toiora Hawira


I am a descendant of Whanganui Iwi. From an early age I grew up on my ancestral river and since have been privileged enough to sit around many fires to hear the rich history from our kaumātua (elders). My dream is to be a full-time Kai Hoe (Riverguide) on our awa. The awa teaches us in so many different ways and forms, that every journey and each voyage is unique. It gives us the opportunity to share with people of all ages and cultures our unique place on earth, an experience from the people of the land.