New Zealand has 13 national parks, and about one-third of its land area is protected in parks and reserves. Kiwi conservation workers are at the forefront of species management, bringing endangered birds and animals back from the brink of extinction. One world-renowned example is that of the Chatham Island Black Robin. In 1980 there were just five birds remaining but the population has now been restored to 250 (and growing!). Tourism and conservation come together at special breeding facilities like Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch, as well as predator-free areas such as ZEALANDIA: The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Experience and Kapiti Island, where visitors can enjoy a unique glimpse of conservation efforts in action.

But it’s not only in conservation that New Zealand demonstrates a commitment to sustainability. Producing just 0.2% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, New Zealand was one of the first countries to pledge a carbon-neutral future. A number of companies have already achieved carboNZero certification, and many other companies are working toward the goal.

Sustainable Travel

Help your clients make their visit to New Zealand a sustainable one by passing on the following advice.

Go Green

Help keep NZ beautiful by choosing green options such as car sharing facilities, or swap the car for hiking and cycling which offer the benefit of a closer encounter with landscape and wildlife as well. Just make sure you stick to designated tracks to protect wildlife! Look for eco-friendly activities and eateries and accommodation providers – keep an eye out for the Enviro Qualmark. Always clear up any rubbish at camping spots. Remember the maxim; take only photographs, leave only footprints!

Giving Back

Your clients can make their New Zealand holiday extra special by staying and helping out on a Kiwi farm. Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) provides visitors with the opportunity to learn sustainable skills and practices. Participants live with a Kiwi family who have made the leap into green-dom and learn all about companion planting, worm farming, composting, preserving and more.

For more information on how your clients can take part, visit www.wwoof.nz.

Qualmark Enviro

Qualmark makes it easy to find operators that practice environmental responsibility. Businesses carrying a Qualmark are assessed on their environmental performance in the areas of energy efficiency, waste management, community activities, water conservation and other initiatives. Top performers receive an Enviro Award of Bronze, Silver or Gold.

Find Out More

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has a wealth of information about the protection and enjoyment of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage. Go online and find out more at www.doc.govt.nz. To help your clients learn more about kaitiakitanga and other Maori perspectives, combine outdoor adventures with a Maori cultural experience. From forest walks and rafting to horse trekking, you’ll find options that are led by Maori guides. www.maoritourism.co.nz