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Whale Watch Kaikoura welcomes conservation measures

Whale Watch Kaikoura welcomes Government’s conservation measures

March 16, 2014

Whale Watch Kaikoura today welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will create a new marine reserve, whale and fur seal sanctuary, five customary fishing areas and amateur fishing regulations to improve the management of Kaikoura’s coast and ocean.

Whale Watch Kaikoura chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora said the Government’s decision demonstrated a commitment to protecting an environment that had re-invigorated the Kaikoura community.

“We are passionate about protecting and nurturing what is an essential cultural, spiritual and economic taonga for the people of Kaikoura and New Zealand,” Mr Ngapora said.

“The Government, through this announcement, has shown it is committed to protecting this national treasure also.”

Mr Ngapora said the introduction of the new conservation measures was a victory for many in the local community who had worked together under Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura to develop strategies to protect the coastline and marine life of the Kaikoura coast.

Whale Watch Kaikoura is one of a number of passionate local stakeholders and community members who formed Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura. In 2012 Te Korowai released the Kaikoura Marine Strategy, which incorporated more than seven years of research and discussion by the Kaikoura community and people from all over New Zealand.

“Te Korowai brought together a range of stakeholders to develop viable solutions that put sustainability and the well-being of this cherished region, and our coastline and ocean, at the heart of decision-making,” Mr Ngapora said.
“I applaud the Government for taking the initiative and adopting key recommendations from the Kaikoura Marine Strategy. In doing so the Government has implemented processes which will preserve the benefits that the community and many tens of thousands of visitors each year, to this region and the country enjoy as a result of our environment.”

Mr Ngapora said he and Whale Watch Kaikoura had remained strong critics of deep sea oil exploration and seismic testing off the Kaikoura shoreline.

“We are committed to providing a high-quality whale-watching experience, while carefully managing the use of a rare natural resource. We are visitors to the world of the whales and respect it at all times and, as such, are tasked with doing all we can to protect an environment that is important to so many.”
Mr Ngapora applauded the Government for listening to the many objections against deep sea oil exploration and seismic testing and taking a long-term sustainable approach.

He said the new conservation measures would further enhance the reputation the Kaikoura community and Whale Watch Kaikoura and had earned on the international stage for environmental best practice and performance.

Last month the environmental practices of the Kaikoura community were recognised by EarthCheck, which awarded Kaikoura the Platinum Certification for Environmental Performance. Kaikoura is the first community in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve platinum certification from EarthCheck who has been collecting environmental information since 1999.

Formed in 1987, Whale Watch Kaikoura has grown to be a premier award-winning eco-tourism operator, hosting up to 100,000 visitors annually with its fleet of four large vessels. The company has won significant awards as a result of a focus on sustainability and best practice. Whale Watch Kaikoura has invested in operating sustainably, which has resulted in the awarding of an Envirogold mark from Qualmark, New Zealand’s official tourism quality agency.

Whale Watch Kaikoura has won acclaim from the international tourism industry, securing awards including the prestigious Tourism for Tomorrow Community Benefit Award, Pacific Asia Travel Association Gold Award in Environment & Eco-Tourism Category, and the Supreme Winner - Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards, beating thousands of operators from around the world.

Ends

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