WORDS: Kim Newth PHOTOS: Kyle Mullinder

With GoPro in hand, Kyle ‘te Kiwi’ Mulinder travels the length and breadth of New Zealand and beyond capturing many unforgettable sights and unique stories.

Online and on social media he’s known as ‘Bare Kiwi’, a friendly guy with a big personality getting in front of the camera to showcase his country ‘uncovered’ and at its authentic best. As a recognised global influencer on the adventure travel scene, he’s also in demand internationally with one of his most recent away trips being to California.

Between projects, Motueka is home for Kyle and wife Lisa. Both share a passion for nature and outdoor adventure. One of the couple’s favourite Bare Kiwi posts shows the moment when Kyle proposed to her one morning at sunrise on a pristine golden sand beach in the Abel Tasman National Park – during a weekend of kayaking.

“It was a cool moment created for us personally and it came out beautifully,” Kyle says. “It was going to go on my personal pages but then we both decided to put it out there. It went crazy viral and ended up as the GoPro video of the day!”

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Kyle grew up on a small sheep farm in the lower North Island but, as a teenager began dreaming of life beyond the farm gate. His life changed forever after joining a trip on the Spirit of New Zealand. “It was an incredible 10-day experience. I came away with a new attitude and an awareness of the exciting opportunities open to me.”

It paved the way to an adventure tourism course in Nelson and his first full-time job as a white water rafting guide on the Buller River.

Every summer for the past 15 years, he’s worked as a sea kayak guide in the Abel Tasman.

The Bare Kiwi concept started to form more than 10 years ago and, at that time, the idea of launching his own website complemented by short online videos to help travellers get to know the real New Zealand was pretty ground-breaking.

“Of course, the website fell away as the social media side of it snowballed. I’ve had to learn to evolve with it and keep on evolving.”

Instead of being weighed down with a lot of camera gear, Kyle decided GoPro was the best way to capture the action without limiting his enjoyment of the moment. Bonuses of the lifestyle are the wonderful people and places he gets to encounter. From one week to the next, he may be in Akaroa swimming with dolphins or exploring ice caves on Mt Cook Glacier. It sounds like one long holiday but there is a lot of work involved behind the scenes, such as having to edit the footage and plan each travel campaign. Kyle is continually upskilling with new technology and says he’s had to learn to be assertive about the worth of his work. Yet, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Lisa and I flew to Milford Sound and back the other day. It was incredible, and you find yourself thinking ‘is this really happening?’”

Through his years exploring New Zealand, Kyle naturally has his favourite places including the Abel Tasman, Kaikōura, East Cape (Lake Waikaremoana), Milford Sound and Queenstown, Taupō, and Northland.

This month he’ll be in Taupō as a guest speaker at the Backpacker Youth Adventure Tourism Association (BYATA) conference, presenting on the evolution and influence of social media.