As Singaporean tourists, we too can observe the Tiaki Promise, New Zealanders’ commitment to protect and conserve their environment, and care for their country and its future generations. | Photo: Unsplash/@splashabout
Kia Ora! Now that you got your passport renewed, how about a visit to one of the most picturesque and photogenic places on earth? We’re talking about New Zealand, of course 🇳🇿
(Btw, “Kia ora!” is Māori for “hello”, but it literally means you are wishing the essence of life to others.)
New Zealand is a great destination for the 'gram, especially as two-thirds of its plants and animals are indigenous to the country. The Kiwis truly cherish their diverse ecosystem, and observe Kaitiakitanga, an idealogy based on ways of protecting the environment and the country’s collective culture of respect and reciprocity with the land.
Which is why when we visit the country, we are also encouraged to fulfil the Tiaki Promise, a commitment to care for New Zealand now and for its future generations.
So before you step onto the plane, read on to find out how we as Singaporean tourists can play our part to protect and conserve New Zealand’s environment during our trip.
The Kākāpō (“KAHK-ah-po”) are critically endangered with only 197 of these nocturnal, flightless parrots alive today. Check out Kākāpō Recovery to find out more about kākāpō conservation efforts. | Photo: Chris Birmingham
Wildlife social distancing of 20m
Like how we used to social distance, you also need to observe wildlife at a distance of 20m (that's about the length of two SBS buses). Any closer, and the animals might kancheong and start a stampede. Nesting sites, especially those of endangered animals, are clearly marked, so keep a lookout for them.
Did you know kiwis are hard to spot in the wild? You can find New Zealand’s most famous and endemic bird at several kiwi houses and sanctuaries, like the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua. | Photo: Tourism Bay Of Plenty
Don't feed the birds
Kiwi birds very cute, but don’t feed them! The native birds of New Zealand aren’t adapted to human food, and if they do makan your snacks it will make them sick or be fatal.
Take note that the cheeky kea bird will beg for food or steal it from your bag. Say no! The country’s Department of Conservation reports that the regular feeding of kea has led to the birds having more accidents with man-made objects such as cars (yikes).
The world’s rarest dolphin, Hector’s dolphin, can only be found in New Zealand. It has a distinctive rounded fin that looks like Mickey Mouse’s ears. Head to Akaroa on your next trip to find the largest pods of these beautiful creatures. | Photo: Will Rayment
Keep your shoes clean
Here’s another reason to keep your kicks fresh. The Kauri dieback disease is a massive threat to New Zealand's stunning native kauri trees, but you can help stop its spread by cleaning your shoes before entering the walking tracks. Also, stick to the trails, they are there for a reason and veering off the track can possibly further spread the disease.
The Motutapu Island, (Māori for “sacred island”), is just off Auckland’s coast. It is an incubator for breeding endangered native birds, including kiwi and takahe, and home to native flora and endemic, protected species. Must visit for nature fans! | Photo: Motutapu Restoration Trust
Help pest-free sanctuaries stay pest-free
It goes without saying lah, but do check (and double-check) yourself - and your bags! - for pests like rodents or insects before visiting predator-free islands, or islands that are becoming pest-free.
The oldest national park here, Tongariro National Park, was awarded dual UNESCO World Heritage status, and it has three volcanoes that make up the Pacific Ocean’s ‘Ring of Fire’ 🔥 | Photo: Jimmy Johnson
Support sustainable wildlife operators
Help support conservation efforts! Book a tour with these five Māori tourism operators that have keeping their businesses at the forefront of sustainability and ecotourism:
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari – a world class conservation project that aims to protect and preserve endangered species through re-introduction and breeding programmes.
Whanganui River Adventures – enjoy personalised scenic tours such as jet boating, canoeing, hiking or mountain biking.
Rua Awa Lodge – a unique and historic accommodation that offers yoga and wellness workshops.
Waka Abel Tasman – a waka (Māori canoe) paddling experience that emphasises care for the ocean, as well as the tikanga (etiquette) associated with waka.
Footprints Waipoua – provides tours through the Waipoua forest, weaving storytelling, Māori song and interpretation into an immersive experience.
Can't Travel? Live Vicariously Lor: New Zealand Edition
PHOTOS: (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) UNSPLASH/THATPHOTOGUYNL, PHOTOHOLGIC AND TIM MARSHALL
Still saving up for your trip? Or perhaps you are planning your New Zealand trip schedule? For more tips about what to see and do there, give this article a read – but thankfully we don’t have to live vicariously anymore lah 😅