Waimangu Volcanic Valley Recognised for Kaitiakitanga Environmental Sustainability

Waimangu Volcanic Valley were delighted to receive the Kaitiakitanga Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Award at the Rotorua Business Awards this year.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley were delighted to receive the Kaitiakitanga Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Award at the Rotorua Business Awards this year.

The Tompkins Wake Rotorua Business Awards looked a little different in 2021. With Covid restrictions making an in-person event impossible, the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce ploughed on with a virtual event to ensure the success of Rotorua businesses would not go unrecognised.

Teams from local Rotorua businesses gathered separately and tuned in to the online event, and were surprised with party hampers with snacks and wine, and winners were delivered flowers and awards during the event.

The Kaitiakitanga Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Award is sponsored by Rotorua Economic Development. Judges were looking for a business embracing kaitiakitanga and protection of our natural, built and cultural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley achieved Toitū Carbon Zero certification in 2020, following a two year journey of measuring our impact and making improvements across all areas of the business, reducing  emissions, reducing waste and working to protect and enhance the natural environment through trapping and pest control.

Solar Panels on Waimangu Visitor Centre

Waimangu is proudly owned by tangata whenua, in a unique partnership between Ngati Rangitihi and Tuhourangi.  As Kaitiaki, our commitment to this place runs deep. We have always been dedicated to protecting the land and caring for the environment. Since the original guides of the Pink and White Terraces on Lake Rotomahana, looking after this special place has been an integral part of welcoming visitors to the area.

Waimangu has long been known for leadership in sustainable tourism. We were founding members of the Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter, with long term plans in place for sustainable development and environmental audits, providing a solid foundation to work from.

Through the Toitū Envirocare programme, we can now measure the success of our sustainability efforts throughout the business, gaining a more accurate idea around where we can continue to improve our sustainability practices.

Initiatives include installing solar panels on the visitor centre providing much of the power required for the café, investment in newer fuel-efficient vehicles and reducing staff transport impacts. We have reduced waste by changing packaging, introducing guest recycle stations, and reviewing all suppliers, and food waste is either composted, used in our worm farm, or donated to local pig farmers. We also protect the native species throughout the valley with a programme of predator and weed control, working in collaboration with the Department of Conservation.

Having measurable, audited results demonstrates our leadership in, and our commitment to continual improvement in sustainability.

This was achieved through an extremely challenging time for the business. Before the pandemic, 85% of visitors to Waimangu were international, so closed borders and restrictions have had a huge impact. We had to make tough decisions about where to focus our energies, and firmly believe that continuing to develop our sustainable practices is fundamental to our long-term success. 

Our mission is sharing our kōrero, our history whilst delivering exceptional experiences to our manuhiri in a sustainable way.

We share our sustainability initiatives with our visitors, and through their appreciation of our special environment and our efforts to protect and enhance it, they are motivated to travel responsibly and reduce their own impact on the environment.

We believe that this is vital for the future of tourism in New Zealand, and our continuous improvement will continue to have positive impacts as we prepare to welcome back international travellers.

Waimangu was also named finalist in the Manaakitanga Tourism Award, and picked up a special commendation in that category, with Rotorua Canopy Tours taking out the award.

Tourism operators across the region were well represented across the categories, with Redwoods Treewalk taking out the Creative Arts & Design Award, and the overall Supreme Award. This suggests a positive future for tourism in Rotorua and we’re delighted to be among those using this time to make improvements to our business.

Posted by Nicki Dent on February 21, 2022