The Award Winning Black Cat Group is internationally recognised as one of the success stories of the New Zealand tourism industry and an eco-tourism pioneer. We were the first to offer cruises in Akaroa and we are recognised as New Zealand’s first Eco-tourism operator.

From humble beginnings carrying a few hundred people per year in small canoes and dinghies, Black Cat has grown to be one of the largest cruise companies in the South Island. More than 120,000 people will experience a Black Cat Group cruise or dolphin swimming adventure this year in a fleet of modern catamarans. Black Cat’s home territory on Bank’s Peninsula, just a short drive from the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch, is one of the most spectacularly beautiful parts of the Island, and home to an inspiring collection of marine wildlife and birdlife, including several endangered species.

Handy man

Chris has lived on the peninsula for most of his life and has a fantastic knowledge of the area. He has been with us for several years now as swim boat skipper. Chris is also our handyman and can fix almost anything, boats, shelves, stairs. A “handy man” to have around!

paul bingham
Chairman of the board

I am lucky enough to be one of the shareholders and Chairman of the Board for Black Cat Cruises. I have been on board since 1999.

When I’m not working I’m either playing golf or spending time with my young family.

Julian Yates
Customer Support

Julian has a fantastic knowledge of Akaroa and the harbour and always gives an entertaining commentary.

In his spare time, you can quite often find Julian playing his saxophone in one of Akaroa’s local bands.

Customer Service / photographer

Sonya is the head of the photography department and has been with Blackcat in Akaroa more years than she can count. Sonya also helps out with customer service and always has a joke or two to make people smile. A local resident for most of her life, she is more than happy to answer questions about the town and its history.

Customer Support

Sheemal has joined our team in Akaroa.
Sheemal is from Fiji and brings lots of energy to our front line team!

General Manager

Pip is our General Manager here in Akaroa and has her finger on the pulse of everything on the wharf and the water. Pip has a long history with Blackcat and Akaroa.


Libby has joined the Blackcat team this year as a guide. She always has a lovely smile on her face even when she is washing wet suits!

swim skipper

Danza hails from a small west coast town and grew up in the deep south. Danza has always had a love of the water and has been working on boats for the past six years. Danza is working at Blackcat as a swim skipper and aspires to be an offshore skipper when she grows up.

All rounder

Krystal is a multi talented worker. She can be seen behind front line or out crewing on Blackcat.

Swim Guide

Emma has joined us for the 201617 season working as a swim guide and on front line. Emma is a qualified vet nurse and loves all animals. You might see her on the AMP show circut in the horse riding events.

Camera man

Dan Dan the photo man is our Jonnie on the spot with the camera on board the Blackcat. Give him a smile and he will make a memory of your trip for you.

Customer Service

Moses is a young local lad who is working his first season at Blackcat in customer service and also helping with the suiting and booting and clean down in the swimming with dolphins area. Welcome on board Moses!!

marketing manager

Natasha joined our team as Sales and Marketing Manager in May 2013. I can’t think of anywhere more beautiful in the world to work than Akaroa. The team, cruises and environment are second to none!’.



A long time employee at Black Cat Cruises, the thing I love about my job is that no 2 days are the same, you never know what sort of day you are going to get and variety is the spice of life!!


Hamish worked for Blackcat for eight years before he joined the New Zealand Fire Service. He missed us so much that he comes back to skipper the Blackcat and swim boats every now and then.


Jan is our Assistant Manager here in Akaroa. Jan is always flat out answering emails and making sure everything is running smoothly. She always has a smile and is ready to help in any situation.


Hugh is back for his second season with Blackcat. This year he is guiding.

frontline / photography

Hugh is back for his second season with Blackcat. This year he is guiding.


Fiona is a Diamond Harbour Local who loved using the ferry service so much, she has joined us in Lyttelton this summer!


Drew has returned to Blackcat after a five year OE working on super yachts. Drew is passionate about the peninsular and considers it to be a privilege to show our beautiful harbour and wild life to travellers and locals alike.


Dan moved from the deep south to join us in 2012. His smiling face can be seen on the Diamond Harbour Ferry most afternoons. He loves driving the Fiordlander 1 as it reminds him of his time on Lake Manapouri.


Ross has filled many roles over the years. This year he will be skippering for Charters in Lyttelton in December before taking a sabatical to skipper Swim with Dolphins trips in Akaroa in January.


As an ex-fisherman, John loves early mornings. So much so, he has been getting up at 5am 5 mornings a week since 2005 to operate the Diamond Harbour Ferry!

He even got to meet Princess Anne to receive a Local Hero award after saving a fisherman who fell overboard in Lyttelton a few years ago – Go John!!


A key part of the team is our dolphin mascot seen on special occasions like the odd cruise ship welcome or santa parade!


I love Lyttelton Harbour and have built up a huge knowledge of the area and its wildlife over the years. I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.

Deck Hand

Helen has been with us working on Blackcat for several years now. Helen makes a mean cup of coffee and is always ready to answer any questions on the boat. She is pretty handy with the ropes and a boat hook.


As the Chief Executive my life at Black Cat is a very busy one. I started out as a skipper for the Diamond Harbour Ferry and worked my way up the ranks. 10 year’s on and I’m now steering the company, along with the occasional boat.