Storytellers

A Conversation With… Meghan Maloney

Paul Rowsthorn, Airguides

30 September 2020

Meghan Maloney, Airguides Storyteller and Sony Advocate

The breathtaking scenery of New Zealand’s North Island may seem like a distant dream for some, but for landscape and travel photographer, Meghan Maloney it’s home. Based in Waikato, the home of Middle-earth, Meghan spends her time exploring New Zealand, capturing its rich beauty through the trusted lens of her camera. She has cultivated a community of dedicated followers who are eager to learn more of her adventures and how she managed a stunning sunset shot amidst the trialling conditions of winter.

When we first began our Airguides journey and set out to find some of the world’s best storytellers, it was Meghan’s incredible feel for community, the landscape and devotion to travel that made her the perfect candidate. When she responded to our message sharing our passion to connect the world with her favourite parts of New Zealand, we couldn’t have been more inspired.

Since that moment, we’ve given travellers from near and far their dream New Zealand holiday with the help of Meghan’s expert knowledge, gifting them the experience of discovering the majestic beauty of New Zealand.

“I’m forever inspired by the amazing people I meet through sharing my images”

Q: Let’s start with my favourite question, why did you get into photography? And when did you realise it was more than just a hobby?

A: Initially I started photography to take photos of my family, but as I began to explore the potential of my camera in the New Zealand environment- I quickly found myself in love with landscape photography. The moment photography became more than a hobby was when I realised that people were connecting with my images from all over the world.

Q. New Zealand is pretty much paradise for a landscape photographer, but whereabouts in New Zealand do you call home?

A: I’m lucky enough to call Waikato home, which is in the North Island. It’s probably not the most well-known location for photography, but that’s why I love it. It’s central to everything, so I can easily access my favourite destinations, plus I have some of my favourite waterfalls and locations like the Blue Springs right around the corner.

Q: You’re one of the hardest working photographers we know- you run photography workshops, create trips with Airguides, work as a brand ambassador for Sony and Kase Filters and still find time to grow an amazing online community. Tell us your secret!?!

A: A very supporting husband! He is seriously incredible. When we go on long shoots to the different corners of New Zealand, he probably works harder than me, giving me the freedom to concentrate on my passion for photography. Loving what you do also helps a lot! I’m forever inspired by the amazing people I meet and communicate with through sharing my images.

Q. I’ve got to admit, I love hearing the stories behind your photos- they’re pretty fantastic.  Tell us one of your favourites. 

A: Cathedral Cove- This image is still incredibly special to me. Cathedral cove is easily one of my favourite sunrise locations in all of NZ. I have been there multiple times with varying photographic success. On this particular morning, we were in the cove on the beach at 5 am when my friend yelled out to look at the sky. It was almost on fire! I raced out and was able to capture one of my favourite moments of the cove, with the sun rising like a fireball directly between two offshore islands, shooting rays heavenwards.

Cathedral Cove Sunrise

Photograph by Meghan Maloney

Q: Here comes a controversial question: I’m a traveller from overseas planning my first trip to New Zealand, which island should I pick?

A: Well, that really depends on what you like! I think both are equally amazing! You have the South Island, which has some of the most incredible mountains, pristine alpine lakes, and of course stunning hikes. In the North Island, the landscape is quite different but just as marvellous. You’ll find stunning beach destinations, rolling green hills and my favourite waterfalls. So, it’s entirely up to you.

Q: Great answer. What’s your favourite lesser-known destination in New Zealand?

A: Tough one! The Catlins is a destination that I think is not as well known, especially internationally. I love waterfalls and The Catlins has some of the best in NZ, plus the petrified forests, four different lighthouses and some of the best astrophotography locations. I’m actually planning a photography workshop there next year just for this reason.

Q: What’s your favourite part of showing off New Zealand to people around the world?

A: It’s the best little country in the world! It has deserts in the North, cascading waterfalls, stunning beaches, and some of the most dramatic mountain landscapes of any country in the world. It’s a photographer’s paradise and I love showing it to the world. This one time, I was contacted on Instagram from someone looking to come to NZ for their honeymoon after seeing my photos. Ashley and her fiancé Michael (now husband) are from the USA and ended up booking their dream honeymoon through Airguides. They both had an amazing time in NZ and I am so happy I was able to be part of the journey. It’s crazy to think about the power of images- I guess that’s part of why I do it!

Owharoa Falls

Photograph by Meghan Maloney

Q: Are you seeing more of a focus on responsible tourism in New Zealand? You talk about this being important to you, why is that?

A: I think New Zealand has shifted its focus towards responsible tourism recently. After having a huge wave of tourism in the last few years, it’s highlighted how important it is to protect our communities and the environment. It’s nice to see that there have been some positive changes happening in this area. The photographer within me does get a little frustrated seeing the “No Drones” signs, but I definitely can understand why. We need to protect the environment so the future generations can experience it the same way we have been lucky enough to.

Q: Ok, you’ve got a golden airplane ticket that can take you to anywhere in the world and your flight leaves in the morning. Where are you going?

A: Sorry, but I have two places I need that ticket to take me. The first is Iceland. I’m a massive, massive fan of waterfalls and Iceland is the daddy of all waterfall locations around the world. There are literally hundreds to visit. The second would have to be the Dolomites in Italy, those jagged mountain peaks with beautiful valleys in between are a landscape photographer’s dream. Sorry, I can’t pick between the two!

Q: Last question. Who’s a storyteller that you’d love to book a trip from?

A: Tomas Havel. I love his mountain top images particularly around the Dolomites area, they are super inspiring and make me want to visit that area even more. His use of light and clouds is awesome, and I’m sure I could learn some great editing tips from him. One look at his Instagram and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. He is an inspiration.

Discover New Zealand with one of Meghan’s trips where the adventures are endless and the opportunities are limitless.