The legend that is Bare Kiwi took time out of his busy schedule for the team at Queenstown Insider to interview him. Photographer, blogger, video artist and GoPro family member, Kyle has taken exploring to a whole new level. His fun, natural and witty approach to photography and video is what makes his work stand out from the crowd. We sat down and asked him some important questions you guys will want to hear the answers to.
Kyle Te Kiwi
Hi, I’m Kyle AKA Bare Kiwi, a Small town kiwi boy, playing in a big beautiful world, showing off New Zealand to the world and the world to New Zealand.
I’ve been a tour guide for the past 16 years, guiding in Canada and Japan as well as working as a White Water Rafting guide on the Buller River and spending the last 14 summers as a sea kayak guide in the Abel Tasman with Abel Tasman Kayaks, which I still do to this day. I’ll never give it up, I love the people and the beautiful places, it’s the best thing in the world.
You can find Kyle on Instagram at Barekiwi.
How many times have you been to Queenstown? What is it that makes you return?
I first came to Queenstown in 2001 when I was hitchhiking the country with my best friend from America and $50 in my pocket. I was blown away by the beauty of the place and that on a Monday night the pubs were still full. Ever since then I try to get back there at least once a year.
In 2011 during the rugby world cup I worked in Queenstown the season by day at Zip Trek and by night on the Big Night Out Bar Crawl.
I’ve also made tourism videos for Zip Trek, AJ Hackett, Big night out, Southern Laughter Backpackers and worked as the media guy at NZ Ski, having never shot a winter before, it was absolutely amazing.
What keeps me coming back to Queenstown? The adventure for sure.
Describe your perfect day in Queenstown?
Brunch at Provisions in Arrowtown, going for a tiki- tour in my truck out to Skippers Canyon, Moke Lake and Glenorchy. I love finding something new, taking photos and shooting around the place.
Catching up with mates, grabbing a few beers at the “kiwi embassy” (Red Rock) for a casual hang out with mates or to watch the rugby.
ands, Machu Picchu or Antarctica.
Honestly, I would just throw a dart at a board and go – everywhere’s just a prize!
Last year I went to Norfolk Islands which was a massive highlight and really surprised me.
Who is your biggest inspiration & why?
When I was younger I saw a photo poster outside a bookstore, it was the first photo I ever saw that made me go WOW, okay that’s what photographer is.
It was a photo of Kahurangi National Park by Craig Potton.
I bought that poster and hung it up in my student flat, that was what inspired me to pick up a camera and start shooting when I first started shooting it was with film.
Are you a trained photographer and writer or is it something you have picked up along the way?
I’m self-taught, it’s something I’ve picked up along the way. When I first started doing all of this YouTube didn’t even exist. I had to learn the old school way by reading the camera manual. I once wanted to do a long exposure in Canada, with a film camera I couldn't figure it out, so I kept reading and kept practising
When did you realise your hobby & passion had actually turned into a career?
Only about 2 months ago, I realised I was too busy and couldn’t keep Sea kayaking and editing photos in the evenings. In February I made the decision to go full time with Bare Kiwi. It took me 6 years to get to that point, however, I still guide at the weekends, because to me that’s a day off and I enjoy it.
What is the best campaign you have had the chance to work on?
I really enjoyed Norfolk Island and was lucky enough to visit with Norfolk tourism. It was incredible unfortunately, it rained the whole time I was there. The people and the whole atmosphere is amazing. Wherever I go for me it is all about the people.
I also visited Dubai with tourism Dubai, it was absolutely crazy. I was accompanied by 9 other social media influencers from around the world and I was the token kiwi. Dubai is a real eye opener.
Do you have any tips for people who want to start an online business?
Work bloody hard then work harder. It’s not going to be an overnight success, like the romantic notion people think it’s going to be.
Don’t quit your job until you can’t work anymore because it's hard work, especially if you’re in the creative industry, people won’t value your work so you’ve got to work for it.
Can you give us your best photography tip?
Don’t waste your money on the gear waste it on the adventure. Enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it, it won't shine through in your work.
Always Look for bright colours and that WOW factor, Also download Adobe Lightroom to edit your photographs.