Our Team

A bunch of legends, basically

IMG 2637

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.
1625513 10153763933730475 127831295 n

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!
Screen Shot 2019 01 31 at 3.03.17 pm

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.
Nicky pic

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.
16251889 10154069596200653 6578235616825185456 o 1

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.
Ivor

Ivor Levin

Program Manager / Senior Instructor
Ivor spends his time trying to live sustainably in the small town of Luggate, near Lake Wanaka. He has completed 14 expeditions to Nepal, and further expeditions into Africa, Mongolia, and South America.

After spending close to a decade teaching Outdoor Education at a Polytechnic, he can be found hanging off the sides of oil rigs at sea, or at a local climbing crag.

With plenty of experience and a masters degree, Ivor is a program manager and senior guide for Pure Exploration.
john.powell

John Powell

Program Instructor & Operations Coordinator
John grew up enjoying the outdoors of Florida and the surrounding southern states. Having joined the military when he turned 18, he soon began traveling and seeing the world, thus instilling in him a passion for travel. In the military as a JTAC, he was responsible for directing the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from a forward position. He received training not only in his core job skills but also, navigation, survival, and bushcraft.

After the military, he moved to Bend, Oregon to pursue his helicopter pilots license. While enrolled in school he worked at their local climbing gym as front desk staff and climbing instructor. Climbing in the countless places available to him in Central Oregon, he soon developed a passion for the sport as well as a deeper appreciation for the outdoors. John joined us here in New Zealand Winter of 2018 for our Adventure Guide Program. Upon completion of his program, he started working as our Operations Coordinator as well as a Program Instructor.
wombat and I

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.
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.