Waiheke adventure tourism operator EcoZip Adventures is dedicated to rebalancing the ecology of their forest site and is successfully encouraging visitors and corporate clients to get on board.
Their location, which has been marked by Auckland Council as a Site of Environmental Significance, is now a rainforest full of podocarp trees, kauri and kahikatea as well as being a home to native wildlife.
Led by a dedication to kaitaiakitanga, the Māori concept of being a guardian and protector of the environment for future generations, EcoZip Adventures contributes part of their profits to programs that aid in weed eradication, pest control, and forest rehabilitation.
Managing Director Gavin Oliver is encouraging visitors to support sustainable tourism.
Recently EcoZip partnered with Waiheke Resources Trust to give visitors the chance to become kaitiaki of their forest. Donations can be made in $4 increments that go towards eco-sourced native trees such as kowhai, pohutukawa, and kahikatea. Donations can be made when booking online and through on site donation boxes. The business offers discounts on tours to visitors who make donations.
The trees are planted by WRT volunteers at sites across Waiheke Isaland.
Oliver says the initiative is intended to grow interest in ecological restoration, “if you make it easy for people to leave an environmental legacy we think they’ll do so in droves.”
Corporate group customers also want to contribute to conservation initiatives and Oliver has seen an increase in companies wanting to have ‘social purpose’ in their events.
"They want to have fun and see their teams coalesce, but they also want to know they’re doing some good."
EcoZip is aiming to leave an environmental legacy that will be seen far into the future.
EcoZip's conservation and ecological work aligns with Business Commitment 11 - Businesses contribute to ecological restoration initiatives, and 14 – Businesses actively engage with their visitors and communities on the importance of restoring, protecting, and enhancing New Zealand’s natural environment.