Our Team

A bunch of legends, basically

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Zach Johnston

Director - Programs
I’m passionate about travel, exploration and adventure. It’s the most exhilarating feeling available, brings us alive and inspires us to connect with ourselves, others, work, family and friends. Travel and Adventure open and strengthen the mind, expanding our perspective to make informed decisions that positively affect opportunities that come our way. I love turning fear of the unknown into curiosity and wonderment.

Zach is a former military officer, Senior Instructor Leadership Development, General Manager in the Tourism Industry; Field Based Outdoor Educator, International Expedition Leader and Operational Ambulance Officer with extensive travel experience in 3rd world, developing and developed countries.
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Kerie Stewart

Senior Program Advisor
Kerie has worked in the Outdoor Education and Adventure Travel industry for the last 8 years, assisting young men and women from all over the world in chasing their dreams and working towards constructive train, work and travel programs. Over the course of the previous 10 years Kerie worked in corporate client and account management.

NZ born and bred, Kerie has spent her time living between Queenstown and Auckland along with a few stints in the French alps. A skier and snowboarder at heart! Her passion is giving the best advice and assistance possible to help those looking to venture out for the next step in their lives!
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Claire Murray

Program Advisor
Claire is from the northern countryside of Ireland where she grew up in a family of 5 kids and 9 animals. Before University, Claire took an amazing gap year where she participated in a program in Thailand for a month and then completed the other 11 months in a self-directed travel across Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia, immersing herself in Asian Politics and Culture.

After her travels she returned to Ireland to double major in Economics and Political Science at the University College of Dublin. After graduating, she continued her political journey, jumping straight into politics through an internship with the Irish Green Party as well an internship with Ambi, an environmental consulting company. Honing her skills in environmental work she spent two years as a program executive at the Climate Innovation Center of Ireland where she facilitated the roll-out of multiple strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation, within Ireland and Africa.

Passionate about the outdoors, Claire has rock-climbed, surfed and traveled her way to New Zealand and fell in love with the country. Claire spends all her available time hiking, rock climbing, snow boarding and doing pottery.
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Rosey Joyce

Program Instructor
Rosey's life has always revolved around the outdoors, so she combined her passions for sustainability and the outdoors and completed a bachelors degree in Sustainable and Outdoor education. After graduating, and equipped with sustainable outdoor pedagogical practices she dived into the life of work as a hiking guide, sea kayaking guide and outdoor educator throughout Australia and NZ.

A kiwi born and bred, her travel and outdoorsy lifestyle have led her to Pure Exploration. She gets to fulfil her passion by helping us experience both a sustainable active lifestyle and potential; while satisfying her cravings for adventure travel.

In her free time, you will find her biking or tramping her way through the epic trails of NZ or working her way up a gnarly climbing crag.
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Keri Wingate

Program Instructor
Keri has been exploring and working the outdoors since she left home at 18. Since completing a Diploma in Outdoor Education, Keri has mainly worked with youth groups, including leading 20 expeditions to developing countries over the past 8 years.Keri has worked all over the globe, with New Zealand and the Himalayas as her favourite place to visit.

After working with Pure Exploration in 2018 she fell back in love with NZ and has moved back from Australia to work full time. Her biggest passions are the mountains, surfing, protecting the environment, art and music.

Keri brings a wealth of experience to the Instructor team as well as an injection of positivity!
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Ben Thomson

Program Instructor
Benji hails from Ōtautahi, located in the big open plains of Canterbury. Benji studied Adventure Leadership ('yes, it’s a thing' - his words not ours!) after high school, way back when.

Somehow that lead him to Hong Kong, to work as a surf and outdoor instructor for 6 months, which actually turned out to be 3 years. This was followed by more study, smashing out a Level 5 Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Management at Aoraki Polytechnic, specializing in bush, kayaking and mountaineering.

A brief stint kayak guiding was followed by an erratic, un planned and spontaneous move to little cousin Australia.

In 2015 Benji was diagnosed with Travelus Feverino Itchitus Feeting (Travel Fever with itchy feet). This was a blessing, as he can now never stay in one spot for more than 3 months and is constantly on the prowl around Aussie and the world. He got into expedition leading, taking students to Asia and Africa on month long journeys into the unknown. During this time he has managed to knock off 51 countries through work and travel. In between all this, he frolics around Aussie working as an abseil guide, kayak guide, outdoor instructor, facilitator and barista. We managed to lock down Benji as part of our team in 2019 and he is busy leading our Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, NZ!

Ben's life mottos are – “Nothing beats local knowledge”, “pain is temporary pride is forever ever”, and the good all fashion “why not”.
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Richard Castle

Program & Operations Manager
Richard (Chard) grew up on a farm in England on the south coast of Kent, before travelling south to fulfill a dream to work in skifield operations at Mt Hutt. New Zealand quickly became home as he discovered his love for the outdoors was even stronger over this side of the world.

Chard was a key player in managing the famous AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown, and spent six years helping nervous people jump and hang off bridges around the countryside, before deciding to join the youth travel industry and help more people push and challenge themselves and gain amazing experiences.

Chard has a strong understanding of the importance of safety requirements and detailed planning to allow for smooth operations, and on tour he would be a key operational manager for the planning and executing all elements of the program.
Poppy Profile

Poppy Kupreichik

Logistics & Administration Coordinator
Originally from the South West of England, Poppy moved to Queenstown 7 years ago and never left. Having travelled through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali and lastly Australia, Poppy found that immersing herself in new cultures and unknown countries ignited her passion for adventure and experience.

Since settling in Queenstown, Poppy has taken up numerous activities and continued her journey of self development. Now an avid hiker and explorer, Poppy enjoys everything this beautiful region has to offer right on her doorstep, the beautiful summers and the fluffy winters. She loves being active, spending mornings and/or evenings as a Les Mills Instructor and her weekends hiking around the area. On lazier days you can find her with her cats and partner with a good book, relaxing in their home.
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Nicky Sygrove

Marketing Manager
After working in marketing roles for the last 8 years, Nicky is loving working for Pure Ex and helping people get into an industry she wishes she trained in.

When not working in her spare time she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, drinking red wine and hanging out with her family.
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Logan Laws

Program Instructor
Logan joined the Pure Exploration team in 2019 and is currently leading one of our Adventure Guide Programs and doing an epic job of leading his team on their rock and hiking journey. Ask Logan what he does for a job and he refers to himself as a "Dreams and Experience Facilitator", which we totally love and couldn't have said it better ourselves! Logan grew up in the "land of jam", known as Geraldine, which according to him has made him a bit of a jam connoisseur (any form of berry flavour is his fave in case you were wondering).

Logan studied outdoor education for three years at Aoaraki polytechnic and has been working in the outdoor industry for 4 years in a bunch of different locations in New Zealand. Logan most recently worked for Hillary Outdoors Education Centre on Great Barrier Island, facilitating youth learning through adventure, primarily by sea kayaking and other water based activities! When he's not instructing hiking and climbing with his team you'll find him exploring Queenstown in his kayak!