Rene Vaz - Managing Director
The Big Boss Rene, since the age of 19 has been highly involved (obsessed!?) in the NZ fly fishing and tackle industry. Rene is a past New Zealand Fly Fishing Champion and NZ team member, he is an FFF and STANIC Fly Casting Instructor, holds an Masters Degree with Honours in Fisheries Biology and Management and has worked for and advised a number of tackle companies throughout the globe. Basically Rene lives and breathes fly fishing.
Along with his wife Susan, Rene started Manic Tackle Project in 2008 from their garage at home and after a few years of hard work, late nights, large glasses of wine and some great customers they have successfully grown the company into Australasias largest and most respected fly fishing distributor.
On working in this industry " Who would have thought a misspent youth of playing with fishing gear in your room as a kid could turn into a career....."
BEVVY OF CHOICE: The way to this man's heart is via a nice Barossa Shiraz. Honourable mentions also go to a nice Pinot Noir or a classy scotch. Basically anything above 10% ABV and it's mission accomplished.
Ben Munro - Operations Manager
Ben is our Operations Manager which basically means he’s the guy that gets all of the good gear into the country and out to the stores, and without him Manic wouldn’t exist. He’s also famous for pioneering a new fish fighting technique for dealing with big kingfish in small vessels, ask him to show you if you ever catch up with him. Ben loves to spend time behind the vice and even more time behind the wheel day tripping to the central north island to get his fly fishing fix. He wins the award for “Manic’s Nicest Guy” and is a great human to have leading the warehouse team.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: His calm demeanour belies the fact that this man loves himself a Woody or two, but without the associated brawling and grevious bodily harm charges.
Drew Thompson - Marketing Manager
Drew's our marketing manager, overseeing how our great stuff gets to your eyeballs and on to your bank statement. Don't blame him, blame our awesome product range. Drew is one of two people in Auckland that regularly fishes a secret river and hopes that anyone reading this doesn't become the third.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: Don't tell anyone but Drew drinks Mojitos. It's a marketing thing, you wouldn't get it.
Kyle Adams - NZ Account Manager
Without a doubt Kyle is the second best looking person in the fly fishing industry, worldwide. And when he’s rocking his Movember stashe he really gives that number one spot a good nudge. Kyle is based in the hub of Naki Hardcore and is our roaming account manager that spends a heap of time in the stores both getting the Manic product out there but also upskilling the staff into better fisherpeople. Kyle is a singlehand spey wizz having recently taken over the mantle of “The Tongariro Roll Cast Guy” for NZ, so if you bump into him on the river make sure to get a quick demonstration, it’ll blow your mind. Or just simply just stand there and stare at him. Gorgeous.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: A cheeky crafty tickles this mans fancy.
Bryce Helms - Account Manager
Bryce currently handles all our South Island accounts. He speaks their language and also tends to catch their biggest fish. Fish in the South Island canals run and hide when Bryce is on a sales trip in the area. A terrible cricket tragic, Bryce regularly fronts up for his club's premier cricket team and enjoys rolling his arm over in the car park at Manic whenever the boss is away.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: Speights...but only to blend in down south, otherwise it's a nice buttery chards.
James Gibbons - Australian Account Manager
Struth mate, James has a solid background in operations, previously working for another well-known tackle distributor. He then spent two years in our warehouse before getting the bump to the big time of Straya Account Manager. Taking care of our Australian cuzzies is what he does and he does it bloody bonza mate.
While he is well versed in fly fishing, Gibbo's abilities with conventional tackle are a sight to behold.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: No salty sea dog would be worth his, well, salt without developing a taste for the real fisherman's friend, rum. But there's no Do-Da Coruba or Black Heart bogan antics here, James' taste in rum is more 50ft yacht than 12ft tinny.
Chris Sharland – Content Manager
Coming from a background in the magazine publishing world and having worked in sales and marketing in the outdoor industry, Chris joined us mid 2013 as marketing manager through until 2019. Seeing nothing but blue skies ahead for 2020 he decided it was time to strike out on his own and start his own content marketing company for the outdoors industry, so perhaps timing isn't his strong suit. We've retained Chris' services for all things content and nerdy that we can't be bothered with so it's safe to say he's part of the furniture now.
Chris loves all things outdoors including fly fishing (obviously), hunting, skateboarding, landbased saltwater fishing, snowboarding, mounting biking, surfing and golf as well as undergoing further acquisitions of additional hobbies, hence why he is broke but the perfect guy to focus his passion and energy into telling the stories of our products.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: The man cannot say no to a whisky sour or ten and reads a wine list like it's the latest Stephen King novel.
Lucas Allen - Community & Account Manager
Lucas, Lucas, Lucas, what can we tell you about him? There's no better salt water fly fisherman than him in the Bay of Plenty. Check out his work for yourself or book a charter. Lucas keeps an eye on all our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram & YouTube) and its more than likely he's the chap having a yarn with you or thanking you for the "man with fish" shot you sent us. Get on our socials and tell us what you think about him. He takes care of some of our dealers too ensuring you get to see our top product in person. TLDR; He's yet another stand up chap here at Manic Tackle Project
BEVVY OF CHOICE: Lucas wasn't here when we were writing this as he was out on the road doing what he does best. But given what we know of him, his B.O.C would be some form of local craft beer with a snooty 'locals only' feel to it.
Wayne Barnes - Operations Specialist
Wayne is a long time Manic Mate, having fly fished up and down the country for number of years. When presented with the opportunity to work at Manic, he jumped at it - although working in the fly fishers equivalent of a candy store has him a little worried! Mostly though, Wayne is stoked to be on board and we’re stoked to have him.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: Speights, the official beverage of the couch burning future politicians of New Zealand. Why Wayne? Why? I guess it's not as bad as Waikato or VB, just putting that one out there to throw the cat amongst the pigeons.
Ben Goldfinch - Operations Specialist
Ben's been a growing star here in the warehouse, picking product, stacking product and resisting the temptation to buy too much product for himself. Before we nabbed him for our team he spent a good deal of time working for Team New Zealand making and fixing their boats.
He tells us that he is also into boxing, we know that, that's why we have him in the warehouse. Or how about "Ben likes boxing so much he even does it in the weekends"? Either way, he's a good chap to have on your side in the warehouse or ring.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: The former private school boy in him cant go past a dash of Penfold's Grange, but in reality he wouldn't turn down a slab of VB given half a chance.
Flicky - Operations Specialist
He has a name, but everyone calls him Flicky, so why break with tradition? Like most folk around here fishing is a high priority for him. His intricate knowledge of rods, reels and everything else sure helps when scaling the giddy heights of the warehouse for product. His penchant for skiing interferes with his fishing fanaticism, as does his love of soccerfootball.
BEVVY OF CHOICE: Weiss beer...that's some kind of fancy German beer. Hoegaarden will most likely be in front of him at Friday drinks.
Chris Dore - South Island Legend & Technical King
Chris Dore is our man in the South Island and a human fly fishing encyclopaedia, or to put it in modern terms, he's basically google. You'll see Chris' fingerprints on a huge amount of Manic content, especially the instructional stuff and has been with us since day dot. In his other life he's pretty much NZ's best fly fishing guide and if you want to catch some fish and learn a thing or ten then a day or two with Chris is money very well spent, www.chrisdore.com
On working for Manic, Chris says "I work for Manic? Ah ok, sounds good! I need to keep better track of the amount of jobs I have."
BEVVY OF CHOICE: Central Otago Pinot all the way, anything from Marlborough or the Wairarapa would just offend him.
Sherry Zhang – Financial Accounts Executive
Sherry is all things finance here at Manic and is our Financial Accounts Executive. Originally from China, Sherry immigrated to NZ and studied to achieve her Bachelor of Business and has worked in various accounting positions. As per above Sherry is all things finance and loves numbers, reconciliations and basically everything that we all cant get our heads around. Hence she is perfect for the job.
Sherry enjoys travel, sci-fi movies and karaoke and loves spending time with her family. She enjoys working for Manic as “ I feel valued and the flexible working environment allows me to have enough time to take care of my family”
BEVVY OF CHOICE: We assume it's water but most likely it's straight vodka. There's no way she can tolerate this bunch of idiots everyday without having a little something something to soften the edges.