Jean-Michel Jefferson

Jean-Michel Jefferson is the founder of Ahipara Luxury Travel.  Educated at various schools in North Africa and the Middle East, then Rugby School, and the universities of Exeter and Sheffield, Jean-Michel spent 9 years with Price Waterhouse as a Management Consultant and Aviation Strategist.  His last position was Director of Corporate Finance and Head of the Aviation Group in Moscow.  He speaks English, French, Russian and has an understanding of Arabic and German.

Upon the birth of their first daughter nine years ago, Jean-Michel and Karen decided to move to Karen's native city of Auckland and start a lifestyle business unbounded by investors, business plans, strategies, or boards of directors!  This became Ahipara - a business free of much of the cynicism and constraints one sees around the world.  They now have four children and a successful luxury tourism business.

In addition to creating the experiences our clients enjoy in this country, Jean-Michel also guides certain clients - specialising in helicopter guiding (which requires deep knowledge and a fantastic contact database to do properly) and in Maori tourism where we are without any doubt pre-eminent.  He is a trained driver, diver, events organiser and jack of all trades, having supported clients in all sorts of situations over the last ten years.  Constant interaction with our suppliers means his finger is truly on the pulse.  There's no feedback quite like watching a client's face as they walk into a lodge or off a helicopter or boat.  

Jean-Michel's passion is to create extraordinary experiences - these can be a combination of low-key quality elements in a lovely balanced day, or a phenomenal awe-inspiring event such as a Maori ambush or a day by helicopter in the Southern Alps.  He enjoys taking the time to understand our clients and then crafting something wonderful just for them.  His extensive contact database and respect in the country mean that quite a number of closed doors are opened for our clients.