Meet our Tour Managers

John and Rosanne Matheson

John is as an active traveller who enjoys walking as a rewarding way to discover what countries have to offer.  Every year since 2005 John, accompanied by his wife, Rosanne, has taken groups of people on walking tours through the picturesque countryside in Europe, staying in small villages and sampling local food and wine. The benefit of his experience and history in these regions is that he knows where to go, what hidden gems to point out along the way, and how to tailor elements of the tour to the particular interests of the participants whenever possible.

With John and Rosanne tour participants are treated to a skill set that goes beyond the standard knowledge of a destination.  John has been in the travel industry for 38 years, 25 years as an Owner/Director at Calder & Lawson House of Travel. Rosanne spent her career in tertiary education.

Together Rosanne and John form a great team.  Rosanne is adept at monitoring the group dynamics, making sure the pace of the tour is just right, picking up on any issues, solving problems if necessary, and generally looking after the well-being of the individuals and the group as a whole.

John specialises in the logistics.  He works closely with the local guides, ensures that the tour goes accordingly to schedule, keeps an eye on the operational details, and sorts out any changes, cancelations, or unforeseen difficulties.  Rosanne and John especially enjoy the fact that many of their participants have come on a walking tour to every destination they have taken and so have become friends as well as travelling companions.

Leen and Diane van Duin

Leen is a travel industry expert as well as a seasoned travel enthusiast.   After 13 years with Air New Zealand, Leen joined Calder & Lawson House of Travel as an Owner/Director where he spent 25 years contributing to the growth of this first-class Hamilton-based business.  Leen is now a Director for Calder & Lawson Tours.

Leen and his wife, Diane, could not be better suited for their role as tour managers.  They bring a wealth of experience to every tour from their own travel adventures and the many tours they have organised over the years.  Most recently they have enjoyed sharing their enjoyment of cycling in interesting places.

Relaxed, caring, and friendly with a quick sense of humour, they aim to make their fellow travellers comfortable and at ease.  From the moment Leen and Diane meet their group at the airport it is clear that every aspect of the trip has been taken care of.  Throughout the tour they make sure everything runs according to plan, creating a seamless journey for everyone.

Together they provide tour participants with personal insights on cultural rules and expectations, the best places to go for shopping and eating, information on how to handle money, general advice on how things work, and total support in case of any issues or difficulties.

Alastair Calder

Founding director of Calder & Lawson Travel, Alastair has been travelling the world for the last forty years and is an active walker and cyclist. He has developed and led many of our walking tours including Italy, Central Europe, Greece, China and the iconic Coast to Coast Walk across the United Kingdom. Most recently he walked ‘The Way’ to Santiago de Compostela.

Alastair enjoys meeting people, sharing experiences and finding out and how ‘to be a tourist without being a tourist’.

Andrew Matheson

Andrew is a keen and adventurous traveller who enjoys exploring off the beaten track.  Many of his holidays are overseas, and his careers as a diplomat and an international development consultant mean he has lived in other countries, travelled widely, and worked in remote places on pretty much every continent in the world.

Andrew now works as a public policy adviser in Wellington, but travel remains a passion.  As tour manager he applies his keen organisational skills to make sure the trip runs to plan and delivers the best for all tour members.

Pat Mandeno

Every time Pat gets near an airport she feels a familiar sense of excitement. This comes from many years of travel, that has included an adventure from Egypt to South Africa and walking and cycling vacations in many different countries.

Pat became a tour manager with Calder & Lawson in 2010. Pat enjoys her role in clients travel experiences , bringing people together, and making sure the whole journey goes smoothly so that her group can relax. Pat treats every day on her tours as an adventure, She makes sure everyone feels included, especially solo travellers, and does her best to take the worry out of travel.

Pat also likes to find out if her group has any special interests, such as art, cuisine, or gardening, and makes a special effort to incorporate these interests into the tour where possible. Pat’s enthusiasm is infectious and you can’t help but have fun on her tours.

Peter Gibbs

Peter describes himself as a ‘restless’ soul and this probably explains his life in travel, having visited over 60 countries.

Peter was originally drawn to travel in the 80’s when he worked as an overland tour guide on the route from London to Kathmandu. He describes these as exciting journeys going through places like Afghanistan during the Russian invasion, even being in Iran during the rescue of the American hostages.

He eventually settled down when he met his wife Liz on his last overland trip, had three children and then had a career in the travel industry. He was originally an owner of the company Venturetreks and then eventually an owner/manager of The Adventure Travel Company in Parnell.  He sold his travel company some years ago and is now semi-retired.

Peter has a close association with the Hillary family and in fact has taken two tours to Nepal for Calder & Lawson Tours. The last one was for the 50th anniversary of Khumjung School. Peter describes this as an amazing experience and a highlight of his travelling career. Another special place for him is Antarctica, where he has visited twice.

In 2009 Peter took his first tour for Calder & Lawson Tours to Turkey. He has great experience as a tour leader and loves sharing his passion for travel with Calder & Lawson Tours clients.

Sue Hayman

Sue grew up in Auckland, moving to Katikati in the Bay of Plenty with her family 35 years ago. She lives with her husband on an organic kiwifruit and avocado orchard and teaches New Entrants for half the year at the local primary school.

Sue grew up in a family of adventurers with both her father and step- father being mountaineers and explorers. This gave her the opportunity to travel extensively with her family to India, Nepal and the Antarctic.

For the last 15 years she has been taking groups trekking in Nepal, India and South America. She has had a number of people do four different trips with her and has enjoyed the opportunity to meet and travel with so many people, making good friends on the way.

Gerald and Jenny Bailey

Gerald is a semi-retired lawyer who was Chancellor of the University of Waikato for 6 years. He is also a long-term cricket administrator; twice appointed Manager of New Zealand representative teams travelling overseas. Jenny is a retired registered nurse, mostly in the Cardiac Care Unit at Waikato Hospital.

Together Gerald and his wife, Jenny, have been Tour Managers with Calder & Lawson Tours since 2011.  They bring extensive travelling experience and a passion for walking to the role.  Gerald and Jenny have walked some of the world’s most famous tracks including the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, the Inca Trail in Peru and the West Highland Way in Scotland.  They have done plenty of additional day hikes in the European Alps, Alaska, the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, plus the St. James Pilgrimage route through Spain and France.

Gerald and Jenny enjoy sharing their knowledge with the participants on their tours as much as they enjoy creating new adventures with the group.  They focus on looking after the welfare of their fellow travellers, supervising all the activities according to the interests of the group, and building lasting friendships.  Their goal is to make sure the tour lives up to the expectations of the participants and that the experience is a gratifying one for all.

Warwick and Jan Silvester

Warwick Silvester was a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato for 30 years and is now retired and active in a number of related areas. Warwick has led many student and adult trips throughout New Zealand. He has travelled extensively overseas, and been tour manager for a number of Calder & Lawson Tours  Travel & Learn and Journeys tours.

Warwick and his wife Jan share a keen interest in the biological sciences. Both have worked in education; Jan as a primary, secondary and tertiary teacher.

On any tour with Warwick and Jan, you can expect a wonderful combination of talents.  Warwick makes it his priority to ensure that his group is treated to the tour they imagine.  He does this by looking after all the logistics and arrangements, dealing with any issues that arise rapidly and positively, and looking for ways to exceed expectations and provide extra touches to make the tour special.

Jan enjoys setting a cheerful, energetic tone for the tour and her focus is on each participant. Jan’s caring personality adds a very comfortable element to the group dynamic.  Although she is a paying participant, you can be certain that Jan has your best interests in mind as she anticipates any wants, needs, or concerns.

Warwick and Jan believe that the hallmarks of a successful tour include comfort, efficiency (making the best use of the time at hand), and access to local knowledge and culture, beyond what individual travellers would find.  People who have travelled with them have said that they felt safe right through and appreciate being specially looked after.

Warwick and Jan are passionate about travel and they look forward to meeting new people, forming close relationships, and creating opportunities for shared experiences.

Peter Oettli

When he was 16 years old, his family moved from Switzerland to New Zealand, an exotic sounding place all the way on the other side of the world. This was the first of his many travel adventures and it is probably one of the things that sparked his keen interest in seeing as much of the world as possible.

Throughout his studies in humanities and languages he developed a profound appreciation of human encounters and became intrigued by the nature of how people interact within different cultures. He finds it fascinating to experience social rules that are different from our own and even more exciting to negotiate the differences when travelling.

He had plenty of opportunities to experience a variety of cultures through his career at the University of Waikato.  As Pro Vice-Chancellor International , he took on the role of developing links with universities abroad.  His travel experiences have ranged from being mugged to attending state dinners with state presidents and cabinet ministers.

He is an incorrigible, unrepentant and incurable TRAVELOHOLIC! He simply loves travelling – it stimulates and invigorates him and even though he has travelled extensively, every time he goes somewhere it’s as fresh and new as if it was the first time.

Kevin Palmer

Kevin has worked for the Calder & Lawson group for the past 7 years as the Chief Financial Officer and has also facilitated and lead large groups. At last count he has been to more than 80 countries.

Kevin caught the travel bug while a student at the University of Waikato and for the past twenty-five years has managed to incorporate his spirit of adventure and love of the new and different into a career that has enabled him to live and work in the UK, United States, Micronesia and now back in New Zealand.

His goal is to make your journey run smoothly, working with local guides to ensure your enjoyment and safety and getting the most out of what is sure to be an unforgettable trip to a special part of the world for you.

Jenny Newby-Fraser

Ever since Jenny could read an atlas she has been fascinated by continents and countries and where they are in the world. In her younger days she travelled, on a shoestring budget, and worked in different parts of the world. She continues to enjoy adventure travel and the outdoors. She has biked many of New Zealand’s well known bike trails and some of the not so popular trails. Her first introduction to spending many days on a bike was quite a few years ago when she was given, as a present, eight days biking in France’s Loire Valley.

Currently Jenny works in the adult literacy field. She has extensive Polytechnic experience and a strong background in adult education, communication, professional development, internationalisation, and in the use of technology in the teaching and learning process.