Stewart Island Experience is closely involved with community conservation activities on Stewart Island, and actively supports Department of Conservation (DoC) efforts.
Conservation initiatives are an integral part of our overall strategic plan and day-to-day operations. Funding for these activities is taken into account when establishing budgets. Industry recognition of these efforts includes the Qualmark Enviro-Silver status.
Here are some of our conservation activities relating to Stewart Island:
Best environmental practice
Stewart Island Experience is constantly seeking new ways to minimise our environmental impact. In this regard, many of our new initiatives are initially proposed by staff.
- All vessels are maintained to the highest international standards via our Marine Transport Operator Plan (MTOP).
- We have increased fuel efficiency on our ferries by 5 – 6% by using a new non-toxic silicon-based anti-fouling product on vessel hulls. “Tiger” propellers have further increased fuel efficiency on the Foveaux Express ferry by 6 – 7%.
- Our island based operations recycle where possible
- Staff act as “guardians” of the terminal facilities and surrounding harbour environment at Stewart Island and Bluff, monitoring the activities of all users to ensure these areas remain protected
- The provision of improved drinking water on ferries has reduced the consumption of bottled water.
- Stewart Island Experience supplies and maintains a combination of tunnel and self-resetting Goodnature traps to help keep protect wild kiwi by keeping predators away from the Little Glory Cove area.
- SIRCET - $5 from each booking onto the Stewart Island guided walks is donated to SIRCET (Stewart Island / Rakiura Community & Environment Trust). The Trust is a non-profit organisation that largely focuses on ecological restoration through control of pests and weeds.
- Stewart Island Experience has also funded one of the pest control lines in the Ackers Point monitoring area.
Real Journeys provides sponsorship for:
- The Southland Community Environment Awards, held annually in Invercargill and now in its 22nd year. The awards showcase a range of valuable work being done by the Southland locals to help improve the local environment. Real Journeys provides sponsorship for the "Achievement Award".
The winners of the Real Journeys sponsored awards were:
- 2017 Environmental Achievement Award winner: Invercargill City Council Parks & Reserves
- 2016 Achievement Award winner: Winton Rotary Club
- 2015 Achiever Award winner: Fiordland Conservation Trust
The Department of Conservation’s Southland Conservancy Conservation Awards.
- Free transport of materials and workers is provided for SIRCET (Stewart Island / Rakiura Community & Environment Trust), and staff participate in work days.
- Heavily discounted ferry fares are made available to scientific and conservation groups (for example, Otago University Botany Department, Department of Conservation’s Conservation Corps).
Encouraging passenger participation and environmental awareness
- A multi-day Stewart Island Conservation Expedition takes part once a year, raising funds and awareness.
- Prior to disembarking at Stewart Island, ferry passengers are briefed on the importance of preserving the island’s natural heritage and the need to conserve water and electricity, and to recycle.
- Real Journeys provides logistical freight support and free travel for volunteers taking part in the large-scale Coastal-Cleanup of Stewart Island completed every few years. (The last cleanup in 2013 collected 20 tonnes of rubbish).
- Real Journeys is a member of the Predator Free Rakiura Group which is looking at long-term predator-free options for Stewart Island.