Burkhart family buys half of Marlborough Tour Company

Two brothers who made their money through crayfish have bought into one of Marlborough’s leading tour companies.

Dennis and Trevor Burkhart have bought 50 per cent of the Marlborough Tour Company from Chris and Sue Godsiff, who established the business more than 20 years ago.

The two families share a background as pioneers in Marlborough’s seafood industry, with Marlborough Tour Company borne out of trips to the Godsiffs’ mussel farms out of Havelock.

The Burkharts, along with wives Barbara and Cathy, started Burkhart Fisheries four decades ago in Ward, south of Blenheim. They also owned a service station and motel in the rural township.

Trevor Burkhart said they bought into the Marlborough Tour Company to ensure its continual growth and “to enable it to offer more than ever before”.

Both families hoped the Marlborough Tour Company would help boost year-round tourism in Marlborough.

“We hope to achieve this by increasing investment in marketing, infrastructure and, most importantly, people,” Trevor Burkhart said.

“Growth in the shoulder seasons is the key first step to balancing out the peaks and troughs of Marlborough tourism.”

Former Marlborough Boys’ College board chairman Tony de Reeper and wife Nikki had also bought a small share in the company.

The Burkhart brothers were expected to become board directors while Tony de Reeper, an accountant, would become chief financial officer.

“We aspire to be the very best in the top of the south with our exceptional regional spread of tours and cruises,” Trevor Burkhart said.

“We have options available to domestic and international visitors, individual travellers, groups and private arrangements.”

Trevor Burkhart said both families looked forward to celebrating the purchase.

“We intend to celebrate the purchase on Marlborough Tour Company’s flag ship vessel, MV Tarquin, with some fine local Marlborough produce and may even enjoy a crayfish,” he said.

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