Whangaroa Houseboat Holidays (Bushmansfriend Limited) is a locally owned family business located on the shores of the Whangaroa Harbour. Bushmansfriend was founded by Tony Foster and Judy McHardy in 2004. The operation started out by offering guided bush walks along the Wairakau Stream track and providing water transportion back through the beautiful harbour.  In 2008, Tony and Judy saw an opportunity to purchase the “Maple Leaf” and Whangaroa Houseboat Holidays, to provide people with an opportunity to explore the harbour at their own pace. The business expanded in 2014 to include Whangaroa Harbour Water Transport, which offers harbour tours and water taxis on the Harbour.

Tony's love of the outdoors and New Zealand's natural world led to a degree in biological sciences from Waikato University before teaching biology and science in rural New Zealand secondary schools including Ngata Memorial College Ruatoria, Whangaroa College and most recently as Deputy Principal Taipa Area School. He has also tutored environmental sciences and horticulture at North Tech in Kerikeri.  In 1989 he moved with his family to Totara North, Whangaroa. The abundant native bush and unspoilt harbour of Whangaroa eventually became the inspiration for Bushmansfriend.

Sadly, Tony passed away in 2016 after a short ilness. His legacy lives on as Judy continues the small business.


Bushmansfriend prides itself on a philosophy of Responsible Tourism. We actively strive to improve our energy efficiency, waste management, water conservation, caring for our flora and fauna and being actively involved in growing the Whangaroa Community. 


Tony was a keen botanist, who wrote about and photographed New Zealand native plants. Tony (the Bushmanfriend) had a particular interest in the diversity seen within the Whangaroa bush, which saw him write Plant Heritage New Zealand and an Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Please follow the links to learn more or to purchase a book.