Nature and science

We are committed to making a significant contribution to conservation and science in New Zealand.

Our partnership with the Department of Conservation is helping to bring back birdsong to our Great Walks, sees endangered species transported around New Zealand, and enables monitoring of New Zealand's marine reserves. Our partnership with Antarctica NZ enables us to make a contribution to climate science through investing in research undertaken by Kiwi scientists on the ice.

Department of Conservation (DOC) partnership

The natural environment is fundamental to New Zealand’s identity and at the heart of our nation’s tourism proposition. While New Zealand is one of the richest and most diverse areas of biodiversity on Earth, we also have one of the highest rates of threatened species. Since 2012 we have partnered with the Department of Conservation (DOC), working to protect and enhance New Zealand’s natural environment. Our focus has been on investing in biodiversity projects on New Zealand’s Great Walks network - an iconic part of our country’s tourism offering. We also enable species transfers for endangered species, support monitoring in New Zealand’s marine reserves, and assist DOC in promoting the Great Walks and Coastal Gems.

In the past year, we extended our Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai (DOC) partnership until 2020 and we are working with DOC and iwi partners Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tῡhoe and Manawhenua ki Mohua to support a series of biodiversity projects across the Great Walks. In 2016 we have supported DOC and Manawhenua ki Mohua to launch a new trapping network for predator control in and around the Totaranui headland in the northern part of the iconic Abel Tasman National Park. This project adjoins one of DOC's most utilised campsites, with over 17,000 people annually visiting the Totaranui campsite on the Abel Tasman Great Walk track. Our partnership work complements other pest control activity being undertaken in other parts of the park by DOC and other committed partners, and in time we hope to see native forest bird populations thriving here, as they once did. In the past year project work has also successfully enabled DOC and iwi to release native birdlife including pāteke on the Milford Track and whio on the Routeburn Track.

Utilising Air New Zealand’s marketing expertise and channels on the Great Walks promotion, overnight stays at Great Walks huts and campgrounds have increased significantly - by 48% since our partnership commenced. This growth means more international visitors and New Zealanders are experiencing and appreciating the value of nature in our National Parks.

Precious cargo

In partnership with DOC we have continued our support relocating endangered indigenous species to safer new breeding habitats throughout New Zealand. In the past year we have enabled the movement of close to 500 native creatures spanning 12 different species, including tuatara, kea, kiwi, kākāpo, takahē, pāteke, whio and native gecko on our network. Since the beginning of our partnership in 2012, more than 2000 animals have been relocated.

Nature awareness videos with DOC and Bear Grylls

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Marine research

Our marine environment is a precious part of New Zealand and is cherished by New Zealanders and tourists alike. It is also an integral component of our economy. We proudly fund marine monitoring and research within the marine reserves managed by DOC and have promoted 'Coastal Gems' marine reserve experiences through our marketing channels. With 80% of New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity estimated to be underwater in the marine environment, DOC's research will help gain a better understanding of the health of marine reserves, the habitats of our native species, and how land use and other pressures are affecting them. Rock lobsters, blue penguins, reef fish and fur seals are among some of the species that research and development has focussed on as part of the partnership.

Antarctic research

We have partnered with Antarctica New Zealand and New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) to make a significant contribution to climate research in Antarctica. While very few people will ever visit Antarctica, changes in this precious and fragile ecosystem have wide-reaching effects across the globe. That is why we believe it is crucial to both understand and connect what is happening in Antarctica with what is happening around the rest of the world. Our support has enabled the launch of a new three year ecosystems project - commencing October 2016 - that examines the impact of climate change on life in Antarctica. The aim of the project is to determine the adaptation or resistance potential of Antarctic species and ecosystems to environmental stressors, such as ocean warming, increased freshwater runoff in the ocean and ocean acidification, each of which are indicators of large-scale changes to the planet from increasing levels of carbon dioxide.

Air New Zealand Environment Trust

The Air New Zealand Environment Trust receives income from customer contributions. Over recent years the Trust has supported a range of projects - the most notable to date being planting of 85,000 native trees and creation of a conservation reserve on the Mangarara Station in the Hawke’s Bay. Investment in other biodiversity and conservation projects include the Motutapu Island native tree nursery, Okarito wetland restoration, and revegetation of Pilot’s Beach, a breeding ground for the little blue penguin. The Trust also contributes to the Fiordland Conservation Trust’s award-winning ‘Kids Restore the Kepler’ programme.

Environmental compliance

In addition to the ISO14001 environmental management system at our head office, we have waste and resource management programmes running across the business to ensure we comply with all hazardous substance approvals and resource consents. This year we also modified our Environmental Management System (EMS) to meet stage one of an IATA environmental assessment programme, enabling us to assess and improve our environmental management specifically as an airline. Over the next two years we will implement stage two of this programme, resulting in a certified EMS covering the breadth of our operations, representative of global best practice for airlines.