Conservation / Tiaki - Care for New Zealand
Whale Watch is committed to providing a quality whale watching experience while carefully managing the use of a rare natural resource. We are visitors to the world of the whales and respect it as such at all times.
As a Māori-owned company, Whale Watch cherishes the twin values of hospitality (Manakitanga) to visitors and reverence (whakaute) for the natural world. It is a philosophy that embraces people, the land, the sea and all living things as one (Ki Uta Ki Tai) from the mountains to sea and everything in between). Perhaps this is why so many of our visitors tell us our tours provide them with a spiritual experience.
Ngāi Tahu have formed a sustainable relationship with Kaikōura's entire ecosystem including the marine ecosystem that maintains the whales in their natural environment. Nothing within that sustainable philosophy will allow Ngāi Tahu to harm this ecosystem that keeps the whales close to Kaikōura. For dozens of generations over many centuries this view of life has been fundamental to our ancestors. There must always be enough - more than enough - to sustain life in its entire spiritual and physical sense.
Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – ‘’for us and our children after us’’
Thus for Ngāi Tahu and Whale Watch, the word 'sustainable' has both a physical and spiritual meaning. It goes to the heart and soul of being Māori. It is a core principle of the whale watching experience we share with our visitors. Ngāi Tahu have lived with whales for over 1000 years. We intend to live with them for another 1000 years.
All Whale Watch vessels are specially designed for whale watching. Our modern catamarans are powered by inboard diesel engines and equipped with Hamilton propulsion units that minimise underwater noise. All on-board toilets are self-contained and never allowed to pollute the sea. Detailed records are kept for each trip, covering personalised identification of every whale seen, its location and any unusual whale behaviour. This information is part of the on-going contribution to scientific research by Whale Watch. Some Sperm Whales that visit Kaikōura regularly appear to recognise and trust the Whale Watch boats and do not mind being approached. New whales, though, prefer the boats to keep further away. Whale Watch skippers recognise individual whales and adjust operations to suit each whale.
Whale Watch is proud of their many awards that recognise their commitment to the preservation of the environment. Former Whale Watch Chairman Wally Stone says,
"Whale Watch isn't about to do anything which will adversely affect the whales that provide year-round income - or drive them from the coast. We have the most to lose, so we won't be doing anything to jeopardise the whales in our waters."
Whale Watch is a staunch ally of the marine conservation movement. Wally Stone points to the support Whale Watch gives to the ongoing international fight to protect whales from a renewal of commercial killing and the resumption of trade in whale products. Japan and Norway continue to vigorously lobby members of the International Whaling Commission to re-introduce commercial whaling. Both nations still take hundreds of whales each year for "scientific purposes" when in fact the whale meat ends up in fish markets. Wally Stone says the Whale Watch '"experience" sends a powerful message to those who wish to slaughter whales.
"We see our business as reinforcing the anti-industrial whaling message. This in turn reinforces whale preservation, the Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary and the whale protection stances adopted by many members of the International Whaling Commission."
It remains a sad fact that the very same whales seen aboard Whale Watch tours may be killed by commercial whalers once outside New Zealand waters.
“It can be heard in the song of the bird,
It can be felt in the breath of each new day,
It lives in the spirit of Mother Earth.
It lives in our hearts, and it will be witnessed.
Through the eyes of our children”
Tiaki - Care for New Zealand
Tiaki – Care for New Zealand was created through a collective desire to share a connection to the natural world, inspiring and helping visitors to travel safely and conscientiously.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, people have a strong connection to the place around them.
Tangata whenua (people of this land) see nature as something intrinsically intertwined with their own lives.
For Māori, every mountain, every river, every tree has a story. These stories form part of their own identities and help to shape their place in the world.
Tiaki invites us all to look at the world through this indigenous lens. To form a deeper connection with place, and to reflect this in our attitudes and behaviors.
To commit to travelling in this way is to take the Tiaki Promise.
The Tiaki tohu (symbol) represents four atua (Māori spiritual beings) who in turn represent four key elements that make this place so special. Its presence is a reminder for us all to travel in accordance with the principles of Tiaki and is often accompanied by information to help us do so.
- KO RANGINUI E TŪ IHO NEI - RANGINUI is our sky father.
- KO TĀNE MAHUTA NĀNA TE NGAHERE - TĀNE MAHUTA is our forest.
- KO PAPATŪĀNUKU E TAKOTO NEI - PAPATŪĀNUKU is our earth mother.
- KO TANGAROA NĀNA TE MOANA - TANGAROA is our ocean.
Tiaki is a Māori word that loosely means to care, conserve, and protect. It is a significant part of Māori culture and can be found in important cultural concepts such as kaitiakitanga
Whale Watch Kaikōura is proud to be a supporter of the Tiaki Promise.
Did you know that eventually much of the pollution we create on land makes its way into the ocean? Even if we live a long way from the ocean our actions, good and bad can have an effect on every living creature in the sea, including the whales!
TAKE THE CHALLENGE