• About Us

  • Peter And Takutai Beech Are Owners Of Maori Eco Cruises In Marlborough Sounds NZ

    The owners / operators of Maori Eco-Cruises are Peter and Takutai Beech.

    Pete's family have lived in the Marlborough Sounds for seven generations. His ancestors were Marlborough Sounds farmers and boat builders. There is even a bay named after them: "Beeches Bay".

    Takutai is Maori, from the Ngaiterangi Iwi. Her name means, "One who has an affinity with the sea".

    They have three sons, a daughter and six grandchildren. All of their children have lovely natures and are extremely competent boat handlers.

    As a result of their long family association with the Marlborough Sounds, they have developed a strong sense of responsibility for the area. Following the devastation caused by the introduction of fast ferries, Pete founded a very successful environmental watchdog group called the "Guardians of the Sounds". He is well qualified and happy to discuss environmental issues.

    Pete and Takutai have an amazing knowledge of the Marlborough Sounds and speak with a passion that is infectious.

  • Our families have lived the history. We have a strong sense of responsibility for the Sounds. When we speak of it, we speak from the heart. Our business is an extension of our ethos. Ours is a personalised cruise where tourists can interact with Maori people and feel free to ask questions about our life style, our heritage, culture and environment.


  • Our cruises are very personalized. Our guests often say that they travel the whole country and see Maori people, but until they meet Takutai they never had a chance to talk with them, ask questions and learn first hand about our culture and history.

    Our kaupapa (ideals) are to foster kaitiakitanga (guardianship of the environment), encouraging people to take ownership and responsibility for it, not just here but wherever you live and to regard yourselves as true "Citizens of the World."

    Noho Ora Mai,
    Pete, Takutai and Tane.

  • The Beeches are absolutely awesome people!!! We learned so much from them – they truly are wonderful people!!! The Sound experience has been a highlight!!!

    Debbie (USA)

  • Desray and I really enjoyed our day with you out on the sounds. It is truly awesome to be able to go half way round the world and to feel at home so quickly with special people like yourselves. I felt we were given an insight into the Maori people and the sacred way of life. Pete, your stories while we were sailing were great, such a depth of knowledge and a firm love of your land is such a pleasure to watch.

    John & Desray (South Africa)

  • Tutanekai
  • About Tutanekai

  • Tutanekai is a beautiful old two-masted classic launch, full of warmth and character. Named after one of the most famous love stories in Maori folklore (ask Pete to tell you the story).

    It has large walk-around decks for looking at the wild life, a big boarding platform for swimming and diving, a dingy for rowing, and cabin tops ideal for sunbathing on big soft pillows. Relax on soft lounge chairs and if it's cold we wrap you up in duvets.

    He ( not she ) is nearly 90 yrs old and was built by E.R. Lane in Picton in 1930 out of full-length Kauri plank. He measures 42’ x 10’ x 3’6” and is powered by a 471 GM diesel engine rated at 115 hp at 1800rpm. Cruising speed is at a comfortable 9 knots.

    Built for use as a passenger vessel over summer and as a mothership towing harpooned whales back into the Whaling Station during the winter season.

    After working as a backup mothership towing whales, he was sold as a Sounds Mail Boat for 40 years. Later, he worked as a Fishing boat, a farm boat, pushing a barge carrying sheep, wool bales, timber and supplies, then in the Mussel industry.

    When they had worked him to death, the old owner gifted Tutanekai to Pete who restored him to his former glory. Instead of a fly bridge, Pete built a sliding hatch - you stand on a stool, poke your head up and steer with your feet. The Auto Pilot is a length of rope you lash to the wheel!

    We look forward to share the experience of being on the water in Tutanekai with you!


    The beautiful Tutanekai
    In the Marlborough Sounds
    where the sun smiles down,

    And the trees roll into the sea,
    plies a handsome ship at a stately clip,
    Tutanekai roving free.

    Spent a lifetime at the hand of the working man,
    and proved steady to every load,
    Till in ripe old age a question was made,
    Where now would Tutanekai go?

    Now the man who rode him loved him,
    and knew of one other who could,
    so as a labour of love he gave as a gift,
    this fine little Kauri ship.

    The task was gladly taken,
    with pride in such fine lines,
    to rebuild what years had shaken,
    and undo the wears of time.

    Kind friend step lightly on here,
    and thank Pete that Tutanekai is free,
    in the Marlborough Sounds
    where the sun smiles down,

    and the trees roll down to the sea.

    Anonymous Poem

  • Accommodation
  • Places to Stay in Picton & Sounds

  • Eateries
  • Places to Dine in Picton

  • Activities
  • Things to Do in Marlborough

  • Getting to Us
  • Ways to Get to Us

  • By LAND

    If you need a rental car, you can check out Ace Rentals by clicking on their logo below. For taxi or shuttle service, check out the Marlborough Airport's list of Taxis and Shuttles.

    Nelson to Picton by road: about 2 hrs  |  Christchurch to Picton by road: about 4 hrs  |  Kaikoura to Picton by road: about 2 hrs


  • By SEA

    Interisland ferries travel daily between Wellington to Picton. Click on the Bluebridge or Interislander logos below for more details.

    Wellington to Picton by ferry: approx. 3½ hours.


  • By AIR

    Arrive at the Marlborough Airport in Blenheim (BHE) then head to our location in Picton. Click on the Air2There, Air New Zealand and Sounds Air logos below for air travel information.

    Wellington to Picton by plane: about 1 hour including bus service from Blenheim airport to Picton.