Sustainability is KEY to our operation.
As farmers, we have become very Eco-conscious
We have seen many changes, what with weather patterns, increased pollution, downturns in the economy; (not only within our own country), but also globally...............It can all appear rather daunting.
One has come to realise that by "doing our bit" for the Planet, [however small it may seem at the time], we are helping to cut down on the impact we place on our land.
We do already lead a fairly sustainable [...and self-sufficient...] lifestyle; (septic sewerage system, 100% rain-water supply, grey-water reticulation, wood burning fireplace for central heating and water heating, environmentally-friendly cleaning products & sprays, supporting local produce & businesses, regular vehicle servicing, own vegetable garden, recycling & re-using, and bokashi composting systems).
However, running a business poses an "extra" impact, and this has been something which we needed to address for our Tourism venture to maintain its sustainability. Firstly, we have only ever operated locally. We don't encroach into other regions, taking business away from other "local" tour operators! Today, 12 years down the track, we are very fortunate that our Auckland-based tour still focuses solely on Auckland...and we do thank anyone who is considering taking one of our tours, for supporting a locally-operated tour company!
Our most significant impact comes from the emissions from running our vehicle....
There are many Carbon Offset schemes around (-and a few tour companies simply pay a fee to private Carbon "offset" organisations to offset their emissions this way-). However, when it came time for our guests to offset their emissions from taking a tour with us, we wanted to provide more of an "experience" for them to do this (instead of just the unseen add-on in the price of their tour). We also wanted to keep track of this offsetting, and have the positive spin-offs stay within our own community, (since this is where the "impact' occurs anyway).
So, in 2008, we established our own Carbon Credit Native tree planting Reserve on parts of our farm. More than just digging a hole and sticking a shrub in the back garden, this scheme saw us taken all the way to the New Zealand Environment Court to get the covenants which we so wanted to acquire to fully protect the trees were were planting. It meant that in no way will any tree that is planted in these Reserve blocks (which are fenced-off from stock and any form of intruder), will ever be allowed to be cut down......
a result that is; "beneficial for future generations".
NO other Auckland tour does this type of carbon offset !
Each tree is tagged... (you choose your own number!)
and Certificates are issued...
Trees are planted on our farm protected by NZ Government Law, forever.
Our own farm's Carbon Sink Reserve is:
Motutara Farm Forestry Sink Covenant No. 9653972.1
and is Registered with the NZ Government