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In the 1990’s the Kaikōura District Council and the community realised that the growth in visitor numbers was beginning to have effects on the natural environment and the local infrastructure. Together they decided to adopt a sustainable approach to growth in the district. A programme now known as the Earthcheck Sustainable Destinations programme was adopted to help measure the community’s environmental impacts.


When you are out and about please use the public recycle bins located throughout the town. Visit our Resource Recovery Centre where you can recycle, dispose, and shop at their Op Shop.


Select environmental products and resellers

Support suppliers that use less packaging and offer biodegradable alternatives. Say no to plastic, refill your water bottle, shop locally and support our small businesses. Conserve resources e.g. use water sparingly and turn lights off when not required.


Support Trees for Travellers

Purchase a native tree which will be planted in Kaikōura as a lasting memento of your visit and will make a positive contribution to the environment and biodiversity.


Respect the ocean

Do not leave litter of any sort. Use the public toilets. Follow fish quotas and size limits. Keep your distance from marine mammals and remember they are wild animals.

Our Initiatives

Zero Waste
promotion of waste minimisation within the town. more info


Helping on Holiday
an initiative where locals and visitors can volunteer a little or a lot of their time and help protect and restore our environment.


Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Innovative Waste Kaikōura (IWK) - Our Resource Recovery Centre


Forest & Bird NZ
An independent conservation organisation that protects wildlife on land and in the sea. More info


Energy efficiency initiatives
Preventing energy from being wasted in the community.


Community for Climate Protection
To help reduce carbon emissions.


Kaikōura Ocean Research Institute (KORI)
KORI is a network of marine researchers and educators who are committed to protecting Kaikōura’s marine environment and the animals that live here. More info


Trees for Travellers
planting in Kaikōura to offset the greenhouse gas emissions produced. More info


Refill NZ
The Kaikōura i-SITE Visitor Centre is signed up as an official refill station as part of RefillNZ. We support reusable water bottle use and therefore reducing plastic pollution. 


Love the Lyell Creek Group
To protect and improve waterways around Kaikōura.


Kaikōura Wildlife Rescue
Operates a non-profit facility dedicated to the rescue and treatment of ill and injured New Zealand birds in the area. More info


Sustainable Living Programme
Kaikōura is part of the Sustainable Living programme. The Sustainable Living programme is a practical, fun way to learn and use actions to reduce environmental impacts at home.


Banded Dotterel Study South Bay
The Banded Dotterel study at South Bay is working with our community to record, research and raise awareness of the endangered Banded Dotterels in our district.


Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura
Standing for local leadership about the use and protection of our marine environment. more info


Kaikōura Marine & Coastal Protection Society
Working to reduce overfishing.


Biodiversity project with Water Zone Committee and ECan
Supporting the expansion of the indigenous biodiversity of the district.


Working with businesses
Kaikōura’s business community is committed to the concept of a sustainable future.


The Recycled Trash Fashion Show
Promoting the ideals of recycling and waste minimisation.


Hutton’s shearwater Charitable Trust
Gaining a greater ecological understanding of the Hutton’s shearwaters through research and protecting the two remaining mountain colonies in Kaikōura. More info

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A Sustainable Community

Kaikōura was the first community in New Zealand and second in the world to achieve Benchmark status in 2002 and certification status in 2004 through the EarthCheck program. EarthCheck, is the world’s only truly global tourism certification standard and arose from the principles of Agenda 21 (the United Nations action for climate change). It aspires to be a system that responds to the major environmental problems facing the planet as well as seeking to achieve -environmental, social and cultural improvements at a global, national and international level.

EarthCheck is the “umbrella” under which our environment initiatives take place, the following are examples of initiatives occurring in Kaikoura. In some cases these have been taking place for a number of years, EarthCheck providing a framework into which they can fit and facilitating independent auditing that identifies that Kaikōura’s community cares about its environment and is taking steps to protect it. See also Kaikoura District Council Environment.

There are a number of local environmental programmes that are aimed to help our community members increase and protect Kaikōura’s biodiversity.