WATER – Motorhomes help save New Zealand’s waterways

2 August 2016

Tourist spending in New Zealand increased by more than 10 per cent last year. It now brings in nearly $30 billion a year. Every dollar relies on having a nice place to visit. That’s why Wilderness Motorhomes is backing the Million Metres Streams Proj

New Zealand is one of the best road trip countries in the world. There’s nothing like parking up beside a glittering stream surrounded by breath-taking scenery. Nobody wants to do that and see a sign saying: Health Warning! Polluted Water!

High levels of E.coli contamination make nearly two thirds of New Zealand’s rivers unsafe to swim in. Studies of New Zealand’s lakes indicate 44% are so polluted they are now classed as ‘eutrophic’. This means toxic bacterial blooms and bacteria dangerous to human health. It means oxygen depleted ‘dead zones’ devoid of plant and animal life. Three quarters of native freshwater fish species are threatened with extinction. 

The Sustainable Business Network created Million Metres to help tackle this crisis. Via millionmetres.org.nz, SBN and its partner the Department of Conservation help local groups crowdfund the planting of their local waterway.

The plant roots help bind the bank together, preventing erosion and filtering out some of the pollutants entering the water. The additional vegetation and associated fencing prevent livestock from entering and polluting the stream. The selection of native plants helps promote the regrowth of native bush in New Zealand. They support local wildlife.

Together we aim to replant one million metres of New Zealand waterways with native plants and trees by 2026. Ultimately, we want it to be unusual to see a river or stream in New Zealand that has banks without native plants and trees. 

Wilderness Motorhomes is one of the SBN member organisations that have stepped up to assist further. 

Motorhome hirers are invited to donate to help fund the native plants and trees to be planted. Wilderness generously matches each donation dollar for dollar, giving a great boost to the work. 

Flavia Silva from Wilderness says: “We recognise our business has a direct impact on the environment. We have a corporate responsibility to do something about that. We are much better off supporting established environmental projects rather than starting our own. 

“Working with Million Metres has been an absolute breeze. They have been so helpful in answering any questions and keeping us involved and informed along the way. I couldn’t speak highly enough about them! We are looking at getting a company-wide target of metres planted in a year. That way we can show customers our commitment and get more people involved. We are working with all our staff to get them more involved. We want them to be proud of working for a company that is enviro conscious.” 

Project lead Georgina Hart says: “Wilderness is an outstanding company to work with. The firm is serious about preserving and restoring the landscapes our tourist trade relies on.

Wilderness has its own environmental care code and an Enviro Award Gold. Million Metres provides a ‘hands-on’ aspect that complements this. The chance to enhance the natural spaces you are enjoying is a great way to add value and meaning to the tourist experience.”  

So far Million Metres has helped crowdfund the planting of more than 10,000 metres of waterway around New Zealand. Projects have been completed in Southland, Christchurch, Wellington, Gisborne, Manawatu, Hawkes Bay, and Auckland,

Donate now to help restore Horseshoe Lake in Hawkes Bay or the Avon Ōtakaro River in Christchurch.

If you want to get your business involved get in touch with georgina@sustainable.org.nz