Our Environment

As locals, we recognise the unique and special nature of the Marlborough Sounds environment. It is vital that we work together with our community to preserve this special part of New Zealand so that future generations can enjoy it too.

Environment . Community

Our Sustainable Tourism Statement

Sounds Connection is committed to sustainable tourism and accepts an ongoing responsibility to reduce environmental impact and contribute positively to the community.

We see sustainability as a journey that will improve with time and experience.

In order to achieve this we pledge the following:

  • To think before we buy – informed buying decisions can help us reduce the amount of raw materials used in manufactured goods, eliminate air and land pollution, cut waste volumes, support local businesses and encourage good employment practices. We ensure that we support local business by buying products that are made locally, and by having all our vehicles serviced and maintained by local companies. We are working to ensure that all products we buy are environmentally friendly and that we only buy them when strictly necessary.
  • To think before we use – efficient use of energy, water, office products, fuel and other resources ensures our business reduces its environmental impact. We have invested in booking systems that allow us to do the entire booking through email, and have used this and other technology to reduce the use of paper in our office. Rather than using a hose continuously we wash our vehicle fleet by filling a bucket of water, and any water bottles left on our buses (you would be surprised at how many are left behind!) are added to the bucket. We ensure that all computers and electrical appliances are switched off/shut down at the end of the day to help save power. We ensure that our vehicles are running at peak performance and are well maintained.
  • To think before we discard – we recycle as much waste as possible to help reduce air and land pollution and reduce the amount going into landfills. We sort recyclable materials left on our vehicles, boats and from the office, and reuse where possible. Batteries and oil from our buses are reused in a safe and efficient manner.
  • To educate and grow – happy, well-informed staff are crucial to our business success and the tourist experience. Our business will train staff to make customers/guests aware of what we’re doing and inform them about how they can actively participate in aiding our environmental sustainability. We ensure drivers optimise travel routes to reduce mileage, fuel use and vehicle maintenance needs, and ensure that clients know to dispose of rubbish in an environmentally friendly way, or give it to the driver to put in our recyclables or to discard appropriately.
  • To commit to legal compliance & monitoring – our business ensures compliance with relevant environmental legislation and regulations, and other requirements to which we subscribe. For example, we are regularly audited by Qualmark. Qualmark provides evidence that a business has been independently validated as a quality tourism business. It provides instant recognition for customers that you will receive a quality experience.

The Tiaki Promise

We are also proud to support the recently launched Tiaki Promise to increase awareness of the need to care for our New Zealand environment. Tiaki in te reo Māori means to care and protect and to look after people and place. You can read more about what the Tiaki Promise stands for on our blog.

And while you are travelling in New Zealand, you can support the Tiaki Promise by:

  • Caring for land, sea and nature, treading lightly and leaving no trace
  • Travelling safely, showing care and consideration for all
  • Respecting culture, travelling with an open heart and mind

Our Community & Environmental Involvement

Sounds Connection is part of the wider community. We live and work in Marlborough and we care about the region and its locals. As such we are very supportive of local schools, sports groups, community groups, and events, providing fundraising opportunities and sponsorship wherever possible. We are also strong supporters of local environmental projects.

Our Harbours

Each year Sounds Connection supports the Picton and Waikawa Harbour Clean-up, supplying a boat for the divers and other volunteers heading out to clear the seabed of bottles and other rubbish. Keeping our local waters clean is crucial to our business but also to our community. You can read about the 2019 harbour clean-up on our website.

Our Waterways

We have also been proud to support the wonderful regeneration of the Para Wetlands near Picton. The 122-hectare wetland is the largest in the region, and particularly important given Marlborough has lost 97% of its wetlands over the past century. Since 2009 Fish & Game, winemakers Pernod Ricard plus other local businesses and volunteers have been removing the willows that were choking the wetlands and planting over 3500 kahikatea, cabbage trees, flax, coprosma and manuka. The area is already looking remarkably different to ten years ago and has seen an increase in waterfowl, fish, and birdlife as well as promoting native tree regrowth. We look forward to seeing this stunning wetland in another ten years.

You can read more about this project here.

Our Walkways

At Sounds Connection we’re delighted to have become Gold Sponsors of The Link Pathway in 2019. As a financial contributor, we can support the amazing team at The Link Pathway to complete the final stage of the walking/running/cycle track between Havelock, Anakiwa, and Picton. Three kilometres of this 42-kilometre free-to-use track remains unfinished with completion scheduled for early 2020.

The pathway winds through native bush, beech forests, punga and podocarp groves with spectacular views of the Marlborough Sounds. The Link Pathway has been a community initiative with over 40,000 volunteer hours to date and it has already proved to be a wonderful community asset, linking small communities while also providing visitors with access to a stunning slice of paradise.

link pathways nz

We are always looking for ways to make Sounds Connection more sustainable and to help preserve this special part of the world for future generations. Watch this space and please get in touch if you can help.