Our commitment is simple. We wanted to set a benchmark for sustainable tourism with the goal of becoming the first carbon-positive company in Rotorua and the first Tourism operator in NZ by 2021. Come March 2021, we have hit our goal and are now a EKOS Carbon positive, meaning that we offset our carbon emissions by 120%.
On the Kaituna River (Ōkere awa), we are proud to be actively showing manaaki (to support) Predator Free Ōkere Falls in trapping rats, mice, and possums looking after two trap lines in the Ōkere Falls reserve.
We have also cleared 12’000 square metres of surrounding farmland of blackberry and gorse and have replanted 5000 native trees. Our goal is to plant 10’000 native manuka trees on the river edge, which will also enable us to rid a bit of gorse from the area too.
On our roto (lake), we are working with the Te Arawa Lakes Trust and the ‘Catfish Killas’ in the eradication of catfish in Lake Rotoiti, by checking, clearing and monitoring the nets, to keep these pesky fish out of our waterways.
Our staff initiative is our Monday ‘clean up Ōkere Falls mornings’, where our staff donate an hour every Monday to pick up rubbish around the Kaituna River area. At the base, we have taken this one step further, minimising our waste by recycling, composting and have reduced our waste to landfill from three bins a week to one. We use environmentally friendly cleaning products, keeping our waterways clean.
Educating our tamariki (children) about the importance of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection of the environment) and the work we do as a community to conserve & care for our surroundings is hugely important. Together, with our school rafting trips post-trip, we plant native tree seedlings that will be nurtured in our Rotorua Rafting nursery to be replanted into the reserve. That learning and engagement have been so overwhelmingly popular that we have now extended this out to all of our rafters, to take a moment post-trip to share our manaakitanga and plant a native tree seed/s to give back to the awa (river) that we have just rafted.
This investment into sustaining our backyard will later bring restoration to our surrounding native forest and in time we hope that we can create a bird sanctuary to bring the native kiwi back up to Ōkere Falls.
We are stoked to have this opportunity to invest and involve as many people in our vision of enhancing our backyard of Ōkere Falls and protecting our Papatūānuku (Mother Earth).
What can you do? Easy! When you book from our website, you can donate $2.50 which goes straight into our Ōkere Falls and Rotorua Rafting project.