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 Australasia's 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 vise and even more time behind the wheel day tripping to the central north island to get his fly fishing fix.

He won “Manic’s Nicest Guy” 2018-2021, and as a self defense mechanism can be a ropey fellah when he needs to be...but is still a great human to have managing logistics.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: His calm demeanour belies the fact that this man loves himself a Woody or two, but without the associated brawling and grievous 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 Auckland 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.


Bryce Helms - Sales 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.


Kyle Adams - Account Manager

Without a doubt, Kyle, is now officially the best looking person in the fly fishing industry, worldwide. Based in the hub of the Naki Hardcore, he's 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 fisho's. Kyle is a singlehand spey whiz 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.


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.


Josh Power - Australian Account Manager

As our Australian market is continuing to grow, increasing the power to that market was a natural progression. The man behind half of the big sunburnt island is also the man behind the leading Fly Fishing Podcast; the Australian Fly Fishing Podcast 

Josh has over 20 years fly tackle retail experience and covers off all the barra, bream and flathead talk that we need to round out our complete fly fishing knowledge.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: Maaaate, four x of course. Actually, Josh prefers a nice Irish whiskey as he is QLD based so he's a touch more refined than that. 


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.


Andrea Mattioli - Operations Specialist

When it comes to euro-nymphing, we all ask Andrea. Not just because he is Italian, but also because he's the natural choice for how to do it properly. Fishing has been in his blood forever, his wife fishes and his new born bambino will probably start fishing before he is out of nappies. Oh, make sure you pronounce his name with an Italian accent, not your accent.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: We didn't ask, but feel a nice Chianti, sans the fava beans, probably with some form of pasta wouldn't be too wrong.


Chris Hon - Graphic Design

Chris is the other Chris here at Manic. He's easy to spot as he is not the elite fisherman that Chris Dore is. What he is though is the man behind all those pretty pictures on our website, our catalogues and everywhere else we let his creative genius reign.

Considered to be one of the best graphic designers in the country.. by his mother, his tools of choice are coloured pencils and crayons. But he is most famous for a smile that captures the heart of women both old and middle age alike

BEVVY OF CHOICE: Once in a while Chris may have a beer, but his hands usually are grabbing dice or the mouse.


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,

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. It's allows her to get through a full days fishing banter everyday without batting an eyelid.