A Year in New Zealand with Ellen and Jelmer of Ellen Projects

Ellen and Jelmer enjoying the view of Mount Cook

A little over a year ago I was introduced to this awesome Dutch couple Ellen Grondijs and Jelmer Meijer who had just arrived here for their one year in New Zealand basing themselves in Wanaka and Te Anau. A professional couple whom travel the world making videos and photos and share their adventures along the way in their own creative styles. They started off with exploring beautiful New Zealand!

When they arrived in here they started traveling around the South Island making promotional videos for companies who provide activities or accommodation. As well as that

Jelmer has started really creating his own style with his travel time lapse work and also assists and films with Ellen on her brand. Ellen has been doing different projects such as social media management, website building, photography and other marketing projects.

Recently they worked with me on my Travel Showcase Event and filmed some pretty cool content for us, which we will be sharing with you all soon, and I was very impressed with their professionalism and maturity for a young couple.  

Jump of joy in front of Mitre peak, Milford Sound

I caught up with them recently to chat about their kiwi adventures and what country is next on their dream list.  

With a background in journalism and photography Ellen was working as a TV reporter for a regional station in the Netherlands, she loved it and was doing great but decided that she really wanted to see the world, and now while she was young it was the best time to travel, so together with partner Jelmer they flew to New Zealand. “It was the best decision of my life!” says Ellen. “I have met so many amazing people, been able to practice more of my English and the scenery here is so beautiful. We had heard so many stories before we came here from our friends so decided to just come.”

While studying she became passionate about photography and fascinated by journalism. ‘’I realised that maybe I could use the skills that I learnt, to make people aware about the problems in the world. My dream is to make a eye opening documentary. In that way I can contribute and actually make a difference on earth’’.

Ellen started Ellen projects at a very young age and now it’s turning into a project she sees as growing and transforming into her life’s work.  

Photo credit Akhil Suhas

On arrival in New Zealand she decided to set up an Instagram account and got really inspired by many other kiwi photographers and creatives “I was really inspired firstly by Kyle from Bare Kiwi” says Ellen and then started learning more about social media. Recently being featured on the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook Page has been an exciting achievement for Ellen.

As a professional couple as well as partners in life both Ellen and Jelmer love working together.  “We have been working together since the day we met!” says Ellen “through a school project, our skills are so complementary and it just feels natural.”

‘’Jelmer is my tech guy, he does a lot of filming and video editing whilst I direct. I write the story and he puts it all together in Premiere’’. ‘’We are a great team by both using our best skills’’.


Jelmer is now doing more work of his ownunder his brand Time to Film, “I am so inspired by the people around me he says, I have become friends with people like Allan Dixon and Talman Madsen, they do the kinds of things I want to do so it helps me with my own enthusiasm. I love to film and travel and feel passionate about building my company even bigger.

His next goal is to ride a motorbike around Australia and make a documentary or film along the way.

One of the things that I love about this young couple is their synergy, not only just sitting down with them but it comes through in their work, their energy, their smiles, and the excitement they have about what they are doing.   

I asked Ellen what  her philosophy is in life and she said:

‘’Life is all about getting out of your comfort zone!’’. Whether it is doing a scary hike or pitching your idea to a company, it’s always a bit scary. But it feels great after you did it. New Zealand has taught me that you just have to do it! It’s such a great place to start our global journey.

“I followed my heart to travel to New Zealand , and it opened up a whole new world which I didn’t really expect.”

Next on their list of countries is Australia, the couple heads to Aus in January 2017 to Melbourne where they will settle for a while and look for some freelance work before exploring further afield.  

Paddleboarding between Ice Bergs Sunrise on MT Luxmore, Kepler track Hiking near Lake Hawea The Aurora and Milkyway

Ellen has just launched her website so go over and check it out and find out more about what she is up to next.  



Story By Editor Rachel Gillespie from our December Magazine hosted on Issuu.com, if you are interested in featuring in our online magazine contact us

Rachel Gillespie

Rachel Gillespie