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Albatross Kaikoura South New Zealand @ Hervé Bré EnezGreen
Sea Lions Kaikoura South New Zealand @ Laetitia Scuiller EnezGreen
Fur Seal Kaikoura South New Zealand @ Hervé Bré EnezGreen
Hector's dolphin Catlins South New Zealand @ Laetitia Scuiller EnezGreen
Whales watching with Sperm whales in Kaikoura New Zealnd @ Herve  Bre

Situated between the Sea of Tasman and the Pacific, New Zealand offers some of the world’s most spectacular scenery due to its isolation from continental land. Beyond its verdant hills populated by sheep, North Island distinguishes itself by its volcanoes, geysers and tropical beaches.

South Island is even more amazing and enchants visitors with its pristine forests, its coastlines indented with fjords, its mountain range as well as seals and sea lions stranded on long wild beaches. Situated 2,000km south-east of Australia and in the Roaring Forties, the land of the Lord of the Rings has much to fire the imagination of lovers of the great outdoors and of wilderness activities.

One can hardly remain unmoved by the wild appeal of this unique archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, which strikes visitors by its amazing landscapes, its extremely rich biodiversity and its dual British and Maori culture. However, while the ecotourism sector attracts nearly two-thirds of the 2.5 million tourists visiting New Zealand, the country is confronted with major environmental issues and its image of a “100% nature” destination tends to tarnish.
Welcome to a paradise with amazing contrasts where nature rules, but for how much longer...


Activities and leisures

the Te Rere reserve has helped save dozens of endangered yellow-eyed penguins
Snorkeling with Hector's Dolphins in Akaroa with Black Cat Cruise !
Luxury cabanas perched in trees between Mountains and Ocean. 
Dolphin Encounter organizes out standing boat tours for snorkeling with dolphins.
The guest rooms are located in the heart of a private reserve listed as a Ramsar wetland.
Ecological cruises to discover the pristine beauty of the Marlborough Sounds and connect to Maori culture. 
Organic fresh & local food in Kaikoura
Must visit of the South Island, Doubtful Sound captivates visitors with its vertiginous reliefs, his dreamlike atmosphere and wildlife preserve.
Remarkable interactions with fur seals in a magic spot 
Fascinating discovery of Fiordland 's marine world 
Charming and comfortable guest rooms are available in the lavender farm.
Fourteen albatrosses'species can be watched off Kaikoura, which is recognized as a major ecotourism destination.
Geographic strenghts
 Fiordland NZ @ Laetitia Scuiller EnezGreen


A paradise for outdoor activities

New Zealand boasts a unique location in the Pacific Ocean, amazing landscapes and great wild spaces frequented by a rich variety of fauna and avifauna as well as a population that shares a common passion for outdoor leisure. It is considered as THE outdoor tourist destination. Contemplative vacationers and naturalists at heart will be as delighted as those tourists in search of thrills. Whatever the region visited, tourists can confront the forces of nature – surfing the waves of the Roaring Forties, diving in the depths of the fjords, venturing in the primary forests, climbing the cliff faces of the rugged coastline, kayak outings to enjoy encounters with Hector’s dolphins and swimming with seals and sea lions. 


Environmental background
Albatros fishing at sunrise offshore Kaikoura in New Zealand

Visitors to New Zealand come to experience a genuine encounter with the country’s nature, whose purity is often extolled. A vivid and omnipresent nature radiates in its paramount beauty in all corners of the country with geysers, glaciers, fiords, primary forests, waterfalls and untamed coastline. From the moment you arrive at the airport, you will come across large visuals paying tribute to the gorgeous scenery and the spiritual influence of the Maori people, who have strong links with nature, before opening your bags for inspection by custom officers, on the lookout for the slightest hint of soil or plants that could cause damage to the country’s unique biodiversity – which, by the way, has suffered significant degradation.

A model of biodiversity conservation?

However, over the course of our stay, New Zealand appears to be far from an absolute model for biodiversity conservation. The vast expanses of grazing land and the omnipresence of sheep are somewhat surprising, especially when one thinks about the thousands of acres of primary forests that have been cleared to give way to grazing land and all those extinct species of endemic fauna. Especially as, if ever one feel like tasting the local sheep, one will realise that it has become a rare and expensive commodity given that the entire production is exported! Moreover, if the population density of New Zealand is lower than in most OECD countries, pollution is indeed present in certain urban centres, impacting the air quality. The cars there rarely comply with environmental standards and there is no proper control of exhaust smoke emissions. Similarly, most of the houses do not meet insulation standards. The national parks are another source of disappointment. Milford Sound, for example, which is presented as a real park for tourists, barely sparks any sense of adventure between the bus trips, waiting lines and boat cruises with timed photo.

In the surroundings of Kaikoura, a world renowned site for its amazing concentration of sea mammals, the government is planning to develop an offshore oil extraction project, thus issuing calls for international tender for 25 exploration sites off the coasts of New Zealand!! This project is considered unacceptable by most of the locals who make a living with tourism, especially as there are projects to create a marine reserve and a sanctuary for sea mammals in Kaikoura and that the site has all the conditions required to be a World Heritage Site.

Pollution of rivers is also very worrying since more than half of New Zealand rivers are unsafe for swimming. The results of the study by the Ministry of Environment of the country, conducted on 210 freshwater beaches and 248 coastal beaches, show that the water quality is poor or very poor for 52% of the rivers analyzed. Only 20% of the sites were considered good to very good quality. Environmentalists are calling for the adoption of strict rules on the quality of water to clean the rivers and prevent pollution mainly due to agricultural intensification.


Early environmental awareness

With the benefit of hindsight, we are surprised to have thought that New Zealand could have been spared from man’s quest for development, which have led him to alter the course of nature, with an inevitable impact on the preservation and the evolution of biodiversity. Nonetheless, once you get over the disillusionment, it becomes apparent that New Zealand stands out for its early environmental awareness. You then realise that the Kiwis place high value and provide significant support to the protection of the natural heritage, hence the active involvement of local authorities with environmental issues and tourism in protected areas. You will appreciate the exemplary waste management – sorting and recycling are usually efficient – and the sensible management of tourism, which is not only a source of revenue but also a means to raise environmental awareness.

Since the early 1990s, New Zealand has concretely included environment protection, energy efficiency and the internalisation of environmental costs in its energy policy objectives. The Labourite, Helen Clark, who was the country’s Prime Minister between 1999 and 2008, showed her environmental commitment by giving priority to protecting the biodiversity. She has indeed been appointed since then to head the United Nations Development Programme.

Better utilisation of renewable energies

The government has, amongst others, set up the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and has provided significant funding to encourage energy savings among individuals, whose insulation costs, for example, can be subsidised between 30% and 60%. The country has been significantly tapping renewable energy sources for some time now. Over half of the electricity produced in New Zealand comes from hydropower and the remainder mainly comes from natural gas, geothermal and wind energies. The country has only one coal power station, which contributes a little over 10% of the total electricity production.



The major role played by the DOC in biodiversity conservation

The species in New Zealand are among the most threatened in the world and the government is involved in protecting what remains of the country’s biological heritage by relying on the Department of Conservation (DOC). This organisation created in 1987 manages most of the Crown Lands in New Zealand, which amount to about one-third of the surface area of the country! The protected zones include 14 national parks, marine reserves, nearly 4,000 reserves, rivers, forests, certain parts of the coastline, hundreds of wetlands and a number of islands. These protected areas now account for 32% of the surface area of the land territory and 7.5% of the maritime territory. According to OECD Environmental Performance Reviews 2010, these are among the highest protection rates among member countries. The prominent role of the country in the management of parks and protected areas is acknowledged at international level. The DOC is indeed a pioneer in the ecological rehabilitation of islands which consists in eradicating alien species (cats, rats, goats, ferrets...) and reintroducing native species. With an estimated population of 70 million individuals, possums are the most devastating invasive species and are heavily combated by the government, which uses aerial spraying of 1080 poison or places it in forest traps. This poison is potent but it is not harmful to humans as well as most plants and birds, but presents risks for certain mammals such as dogs. The use of this poison is dividing the country but it is especially criticised by radical environmentalists and by all those who benefit from the sale of possum fur, which is considered a luxury product. A biological control programme is being considered and its launch is eagerly awaited!


Anti-nuclear policy

In 1987, New Zealand became the first totally denuclearised Western state. The country prohibits all nuclear ships, including ships and submarines carrying nuclear weapons and / or being powered by a nuclear reactor - entering territorial waters. Civil society has been very active to achieve this result. This position has now become an integral part of the national identity of the country, including international disarmament action is very important.

International environmental policy

New Zealand has encouraged total protection of the Antarctic as well as the conservation of whales and other sea mammals in the south of the Pacific Ocean. It advocated for the ban of drift nets and supported sustainable management of straddling stocks. The country has taken several measures at national level to protect endemic species, native forests and sites of international importance. In the area of protection of the sea, New Zealand has supported the ban of radioactive waste dumpsites as well as the development of regional cooperation regarding land-based marine pollution. In order to enforce international safety rules, all vessels concerned are now inspected. The importation of ozone depleting substances has been banned in compliance with the country’s international commitments.

Forest and Bird: The country’s leading environmental NGO

Forest and Bird was created in 1923 and is the country’s leading environmental NGO with nearly 70,000 members. Its mission consists in preserving and protecting native plant and animal species as well as the natural specificities of New Zealand. The NGO is active on a wide range of conservation and environmental issues, including the protection of national forests, coastal and marine ecosystems, energy and natural resources preservation as well as sustainable fisheries and land management. Forest and Bird is internationally recognised for its strong commitment. It has, amongst others, contributed to the setting up of parks and reserves that now protect one-third of the land in New Zealand, to putting an end to the exploitation of native forests as well as to the survival of species on the verge of extinction such as kakapos and kokakos.

Maritime economic background

Fisheries management

New Zealand has tremendous marine resources: its economic zone is the seventh largest in the world and covers 4 million km², i.e. more than 15 times its land surface area! Fisheries management programmes provide a framework for satisfactory management of fish stocks, but problems persist regarding certain fish stocks whose level is lower than those necessary for maximum sustainable yield. In order to reduce fishing pressure, the government of New Zealand has announced in June 2012 its decision to ban foreign-flagged fishing vessels from its waters.

Nautical events
Auckland @Laetitia Scuiller

New Zealand is known as one of the most successful sailing nations and indeed has the highest number of boats per head of population. New Zealanders excel in round-the-world races and in the America’s Cup. Team New Zealand has won the prestigious Cup in 1995 and 2000; for the first time since its creation, the trophy has been held for two consecutive years by others than the American.

Sir Peter Blake is a true national hero. The New Zealand navigator took part, between 1974 and 1990, in the first five aux 5 premières editions de la Whitbread, a round-the-world race in stages, then won the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994. He was knighted by the Queen of England after leading his team to victory twice in the America’s Cup, first as skipper, then as team manager. The killing of Peter Blake by pirates in the Amazon caused a considerable stir in New Zealand, which lost both a great sailor and a fervent environmentalist. The navigator created the Blake Expeditions with the support of the United Nations to pursue the oceanographic missions of Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Auckland is popularly known as the City of Sails and its famous Hauraki Gulf has staged various international nautical events, including two America’s Cups and eight Volvo Ocean Races. The ports of Auckland and its surroundings harbour more than 130,000 boats and 40% of licence holders in New Zealand are members of sailing clubs in the region!

Over the last decades, the Maori people have sparked renewed enthusiasm for waka (pirogue canoe) and waka ama (outrigger canoe) racing and regularly compete against each other in races at national level and between Pacific countries.

Other feature

A rich maritime history

The Polynesian navigator, Kupe, is credited with the discovery of New Zealand in 950, which he named Aotearoa, meaning the “Land of the Long White Cloud”. Migrants from Hawaiki arrived in about 1350; the Maori people settled in New Zealand and developed a hierarchical and often brutal culture.

The Dutch exploratory, Abel Tasman, tried to land on the west coast in 1642, but some of his crew members were massacred. The name Nova Zeelandia was used for the first time in 1645 and is said to have been chosen by Dutch cartographers in honour of the Dutch province of Zeeland. Captain James Cook sailed round the two islands in 1769 anglicised the name to New Zealand. His first contacts with the Maori were violent, but he however annexed the islands to the British Crown.

The year 1840 was marked by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is considered as the founding act of the country. The Maori thus accepted British sovereignty and the authority of the governor representing the Queen of England. In exchange, they obtained English citizenship and the promise that their rights and lands would be respected. This promise was often broken, leading to many confrontations, and remains the subject of fierce debate, even if the government has started recognising its faults and rehabilitating the Treaty of Waitangi since the 1970.

In 1907, New Zealand was among the first British colonies to gain Dominion status, which allowed it to acquire autonomy regarding home affairs while remaining a member of the Empire. The country was considered the smallest but most loyal Dominion of the British Empire and its political institutions were inspired by the Westminster model. Its economy was based on the principle of imperial preference, with 80% of its exportations directed to the UK! New Zealand has benefited from its special relationships with the UK and the latter’s expansionary policy ensured stable economic exchanges. The country was exporting primary products, including wool, meat and dairy products. It society had an entirely British culture, which is still present in the architecture of the towns and the daily lifestyle.

It took until 1948 for the creation of New Zealand nationality! Nowadays, the country is a monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its queen, while being a fully sovereign independent state.


Cetaceans culture and complex behaviors

Cultures and Advanced Behaviors of Dolphins and Whales

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A $ 2.5 billions mining project refused by the Chilean gouvernment because not enough environment

First 100% alternative energy during the last Vendée Globe with Conrad Colman

Conrad Colman, a young American native of New Zealand and living in Brittany.

New Caledonia: inventory of unknown biodiversity

An inventory of Caledonian biodiversity is being conducted by the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) and the NGO International Pro-Natura within The Revisited Planet's program. If the archipelago is known for having the highest levels of endemism in the world, small animals remains unknown. During two years scientists will crisscross forests, rivers, mountains and seabed to discover new species.

Ouessant put on agricultural recovery in the fight against wasteland

Ouessant and Armorique Regional Park are launching a call for candidates within the development of innovative and eco-friendly agricultural projects. Farming will help to revitalize and highlight the island while generating employment opportunities and mixing tourism local products development.

Atlantic: draft of whale sanctuary scuddled

At the 66th meeting of the International Whaling Commission held currently in Slovenia, pro-whaling countries have again scuttled a whale sanctuary's proposal in South Atlantic. A disappointing sign of the continued political influence of Japan that pursues commercial whaling under the guise of so called scientific research.

Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Park : whale watching strengthened rules

The many users of the Saguenay St. Laurent Marine Park will have to respect new rules from January 2017. The new measures include the prohibition of jet skis and other motorized pleasure craft and the strengthening of behaviour in the presence of endangered species, such as beluga whales in the St. Laurent.

TripAdvisor boycotts attractions with wild animals

Tourist activities where tourists come in physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species are becoming "has been" thanks to Tripadvisor. Highly influential, the world's largest travel site announced it stops selling tickets for these activities and intends to launch an educational website dedicated to tourism with animals.

Moorea: the biophonie, a persuasive tool for underwater monitoring

Following four months of records, scientists from Island Research Centre and Environment Observatory (Criobe) in Moorea demonstrated that underwater acoustics is very efficient to identify healthy environment and that marine protected areas are effective. A monitoring has been conducted in four MPAs of the island and four non-protected areas, and has clearly helped to differentiate the two.

Scotland: the largest protection area for porpoises in Europe

The Scottish Government has confirmed the creation of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) of 13,540 km2 in the Hebrides for the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) which is a protected species. If porpoises are still the most common cetaceans in European waters and around the UK, their numbers tend to decline because of marine pollution and drowning related incidental catches.