We are a Maori-owned enterprise. It was started at a time when relationships between Maori and other townspeople were strained. With no prospect of new employment opportunities, the continuing process of economic decline in the town had resulted in Maori youth being the main social casualties.
The Ngai Tahu tribe knows education is the key to improving the social and economic status of its people. Whale Watch's dividends are dedicated to provision of education and training for both adults and young people.
Ngai Tahu's marae (traditional meeting place) at Kaikoura, Takahanga, has been transformed into an education centre in the widest sense.
We take people to visit whales in their natural environment - we are visitors to the whales' world and must respect it as such, at all times. Nothing will be done to jeopardize the ecosystem that maintains the whales in their natural environment and keeps them close to Kaikoura. Two internationally recognised and independent research projects have been completed by the Department of Conservation to measure the effect on the whales of our commercial Whale Watching operations. These studies were unable to identify any adverse effect.
We constantly monitor and patrol the Kaikoura coastline for any signs of environmental stress or danger to whales which may be caused or triggered by human interference. Detailed records are kept for each trip, covering personalised identification of the whales' location and any unusual behaviour. This information is part of the on-going contribution to scientific research by the company.
Some of the sperm whales that visit Kaikoura regularly appear to recognise and trust the Whale Watch boats and do not mind being approached. New whales however, prefer the boats to keep further away. Whale Watch skippers recognise individual whales and adjust operations to suit each whale.
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