OUR RESPONSIBLE TOURISM MISSION
We aim to deliver Manaakitanga and uphold the interests and reputation of New Zealand as a quality destination for visitors and travellers, offering friendly, hospitable service. Of all the principles of Maoritanga the one of Manaakitanga is the one Back to Nature Tours loves the most – caring for our staff and guests, inspiring them and making them always feel welcome is one of our dearest values.
At Back to Nature we are too aware that the beautiful ecosystem that inspires and sustains businesses like ours is a fragile one. We are committed to providing a high quality, sustainable wildlife tour that educates and inspires our customers about conservation.
We have always embraced Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection) of our local area Ōtepoti (Dunedin), its at the heart of everything we do – conservation matters.
We have been involved in several initiatives at the Sinclair Wetlands (Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau), including helping to build their native plant nursery and committing to planting 300-400 native trees every year in the new ‘Back to Nature Garden’ located in the reserve.
We also have a trap line in the Sandymount Reserve where we aim to protect and enhance the breeding of Sooty Shearwaters (tītī) that nest in burrows along the cliffs – our team will continue to bait these traps every two weeks during the breeding season.
We endeavour to ensure our activities have the least negative impact on the environment and the community possible, and to work with other ecotourism operators and government agencies to help build on conservation efforts that preserve the Dunedin area’s diverse environment and wildlife. We have made it our mission to regularly assess our effect on the environment and to maintain and update an environmental plan to ensure that we have as small a negative effect on the environment, and as large a positive effect as we can achieve.
We will keep wildlife disturbances to a minimum by educating clients on the needs of local wildlife, We will work with relevant government agencies, and other eco-tourism operators to protect our environment. We will ensure we hold and update all necessary licenses, permits and consents to practice eco-tourism.
We will follow all laws and processes to ensure we help preserve and celebrate our history and culture. We will consult with local authorities before undertaking any new building or earthmoving work, and we will consult with local iwi on Maori history, and how to respectfully and unobtrusively enjoy places of historical and cultural significance.
We will endeavour to limit our use of paper, plastic, and electronic equipment and ensure that any thing we can’t reuse, and can be recycled, is recycled. Every year we have a member of staff who is the ‘waste champion’, there job is to improve our previous years policy and inspire the rest of our staff and clients.
In the interests in lowering our carbon emissions, we will use only diesel vans, and will try to fill a van rather than use more than one. We will park and turn off when waiting for passengers rather than idling. We regularly tune our vehicles to make sure they are using fuel efficiently. We aim to have all of our vehicles fitted with GPS technology to maximise our fuel and driver efficiency and minimise any potential Health and Safety incidents.
We will use only non-toxic cleaning products in our vans, and clean on grass to prevent polluting drains. We have been monitoring our water usage since 2010 and know the average amount of water required to wash all the vehicles in our fleet. Using a water meter, we will not go over the recommended amount and will check for water leaks regularly, reduce operating water pressure and use positive shut off valves. We believe this commitment will save a significant amount of water.
We will show respect for the community by consulting with local iwi on interpretation of Maori history. We proudly promote Dunedin culture and business and we will encourage our clients to shop at local stores and enjoy locally made food, beer and wine at establishments in Dunedin and on the Otago Peninsula. We will drive courteously and pull over periodically when there is traffic on the roads to minimise disruption to locals.
We will regularly review our impact on the environment and the community and update our policies accordingly.
We love Dunedin and proudly promote its culture and business, and we encourage our clients to shop at local stores, and enjoy locally made food, beer and wine at establishments in Dunedin, and on the Otago Peninsula. Above all, we show respect for our community – human, animal, land. If you have any feedback we’d love to hear it.