Catlins accommodation, New Zealand


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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Catlins accommodation, New Zealand


Our eco cottages provide tranquil holiday bases where visitors can be comfortable with making a small ecological footprint. Based on a philosophy of sustainability, the cottages are of an innovative solar design and are self-contained for water supply and sewage disposal. Of significant ecological value are the 10 hectares of protected native forest at the Park. This enterprise is a showpiece of sound environmental practice in the Catlins community.

We support the local community by being on the management committees of the following local organisations: Papatowai Forest Heristage Trust, Lenz Reserve management committee(NZ Forest and Bird Protection Soc.), Tourism Catlins, Catlins Promotions, Papatowai Rural Fire Force. We support local businesses by employing the local builder, electrician and plumber as well as making our regular purchases of fuel and food at local outlets.

We are sensitive to the rights of the people who have chosen to live in this area and the mana whenua. We restrict the number of people we take on our tours and vary our activities and timing to ensure that there is no disruption to the local people’s quality of life, their enjoyment of peace and tranquility. The significance of historic use of local sites by Maori is explained to our visitors and we are committed to keeping an open dialogue with present Maori owners about current issues.

We actively endeavour to minimize our impact on both the physical and cultural environment of the Catlins area in which we live and work and work in partnership with the Department of Conservation, providing them with reports and observations, and actively work to keep the environment free of litter. We are volunteer rangers for the Department and active campaigners on environmental issues, making submissions to local body organisations as well as at a national, political level. We believe that our own example is a most valuable asset in the environmental education process.

We are lifelong strong supporters of environmental and conservation organisations, we both have served on the Otago Conservation Board and Fergus has served on local and national committees of the Forest and Bird Protection Society. Fergus was honoured by the Queen in 2007, being awarded a MNZM (Member of New Zealand order of Merit) for services to conservation and tourism.

Unlike other tour operations we live and spend locally in The Catlins and employ our neighbour for cleaning duties. We employ local trades people and support local causes such as the Catlins Historical Society.


We help our community by being actively involved in conservation projects and arrange for the involvement of others through our conservation volunteer programmes with the Papatowai Forest Heritage Trust and care-taking work at the Forest and Bird Society's Te Rere penguin reserve. We also have and continue to serve as office bearers on our local promotions organisation.


With our long involvement with conservation and background in geographical studies (Fergus has a Masters degree in geography from Otago University), we have a rich base of experience to draw from. We love our special forest and marine landscape in The Catlins and seek to highlight and protect its values in as many ways as we can - through sharing its values on tours, through our art, our specially developed walkways and through our writing.

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