Ian Cooper owns and operates Okarito Kiwi Tours. Ian originally comes from Hertfordshire in England. He came to New Zealand in 1998 as a backpacker.
During his tour of New Zealand he got dropped of in the tiny village of Okarito. He loved the village so much he stayed. During his stay in Okarito he became fascinated by the local Kiwi that inhabits the bush around the local area.
Ian spent plenty of nights out in the bush and found an un-canny knack of being able to read the behaviour patterns of kiwi.
He had a long term dream. His dream was to share his nighttime experiences and start a lifestyle business guiding in kiwi environment. In 2006 he approached the Department of Conservation with his idea – he was hoping not to be laughed at and told to go away.
The Department were very positive and encouraged Ian to apply for the only Concession in the South Island to guide people looking for kiwi.
Within 4 months Ian was operating Okarito Kiwi Tours. Since then, Ian has been honing his technique to minimize any possible disturbance on any kiwi he encounters.
He leads the trips with a passion and enthusiasm that rubs off and develops in others. The major goal of a trip is to see a kiwi behaving naturally in its own environment with no idea it is being watched by fascinated humans.