Our Story

Our Story

Will Parsons

Hi my name is Will Parsons and I’m a 4th generation New Zealander. My great grandparents came from England and Scotland in the mid 1870’s. My great grandfather was Freeborn by name and certainly in spirit as he eloped with the local vicar’s daughter. They married at the nearest registry office and jumped on a ship arriving 81 days later. He was resourceful and adroit managing to secure a hill country farm by 1905 and which is still in the hands of family.

Successive generations farmed, auctioned flowers and vegetables. Sadly my father died the year I was born and when I was 9 sent off to a boarding school where I learnt to play cricket, rugby and boxing. I had my first camera, a box brownie at the age of 12 and loved taking pictures of water, animals and fires! I loved climbing, exploring our farm’s steep hills and admiring the views, bush and river gorges. 

In the mid 90’s I purchased some land overlooking the Wairau lagoons and my fascination of the wildlife and potential to explore the area grew.  In 1999 I purchased a property on the Opawa river with its own wetland. The birdlife was significant and it is now a very important part of our environmental policy.

In 2004 Rose and I started Driftwood Ecotours offering bespoke trips to special places in Marlborough.

Today my interests are photography, history, wetlands, wildlife, geology, guiding, cooking and meeting people.

My quote is “life is an adventure - live it.”

Rose Parsons

My name is Rose Parsons and this is my story. My great grandparents were English, German, Dutch and Scottish. They all chose to live in a beautiful and remote part of the Marlborough Sounds called French Pass. My grandmothers particularly had a strong influence on me. My mother's parents lived at Te Towaka (translates as place of the waka or canoe) this was second home to me. My fathers parents lived at Waikawa Bay (translated as bitter water) they took over the farm from my great grandparents. This property overlooked the southern end of d'Urville Island, Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga .

I went to a 20 pupil school at French Pass until my teenage years when I was literally sent to boarding school.

I have had a variety of work including mustering on our family farm, graphic design, tending wasabi on the West Coast and in the role as a personal assistant for a past parliamentary member. I met Will when working at an olive tree nursery and olive oil press.

I love working in our business because it is always refreshing to meet new people. The mix of office and wilderness is a perfect blend. I always hated leaving home to go to the office and now I do not have too.

My passion is making woodcut prints of wildlife, cooking using the produce that we grow & spending time with Will bird watching.

My quote is: Don't give up before the miracle happens!