Aspirations and dreams
From our beginnings the idea of running a small business sustainably and ethically was part of our dream. In 2013 we purchased what became Whakaipo Lodge from Peter and Sarah Foreman. With the assistance of other locals and the Environmental Defence Society of New Zealand, they were instrumental in protecting our Mapara Valley and Whakaipo Bay from planned urban development, a fight that went all the way to the Environment Court in New Zealand. This protection, the significant plantings, the proximity to Lake Taupo and the Department of Conservation managed Whakaipo Bay Reserve and the seclusion and space offered by the property held real appeal to us.
Giving back has always been important so we wanted to look for ways to engage and deliver on this.
Evaluation of our emissions and capture has shown that Whakaipo Lodge is Carbon Negative*. We extract more than we emit. This evaluation also includes our companion business Adventure Shuttles and our agricultural emissions.
*New Zealand Ministry for the Environment. Measuring Emissions: A Guide for Organisations – 2019. GHG evaluation is a self audit and has not been independently verified.
Through our community partnerships we have raised many thousands of dollars for causes that are important to us.
Programs that we have undertaken to achieve this are many and are ongoing.
- We have adopted the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Sustainable Tourism Commitment.
- Lodge architecture utilises passive solar design principles with building orientation to the north. The building is constructed in a style that is classic New Zealand architecture, timber framing and cladding with a lightweight corrugated iron roof.
- Upgrading and additon of heatpump systems for heating. New Zealand produces 85% of it electricity from renewables and electricity use in New Zealand results in relatively low emmisions.
- Appliances are sourced based on energy and water efficiency.
- Water is sourced by bore from the local aquifer and captured from our roof. It is treated using micro filtration and UV to the high potable standard. Wastewater is treated using an inground septic system.
- Replacement of old technology lamps and lighting with LEDs. Installation of heavy weight curtains improves insulation of windows.
- We endeavour to use products with local provenance and most food preparation is from first principles. Much of our produce is grown at the lodge in the garden or on our trees.
- Waste is minimised by sorting, recycling & composting in addition to sourcing fresh unpackaged produce. Whakaipo Lodge has significantly reduced waste and now disposes of less than 10 kg weekly, or 500kg yearly to landfill.
- We have moved away from single use guest consumable products to locally manufactured products and refillable containers.
- Energy conservation practices are encouraged with tent cards.
- We are proud to support our community. Through our concert program fundraising and partnerships we give the equivalent of approximately 3% of our revenues, in cash or kind, to community initiatives or charities. Benficiaries have included Bike Taupo, Love Taupo, Greenlea Rescue Helicopter Service, HELP (Sexual Abuse Wellington).
- We have given our time to assist with Greening Whakaipo Bay, a native revegetation program.
- Mulch from our garden is used for soil improvement. Waste wood and prunings supplement fuel for our wood fire.
- We have joined The Tiaki Promise, a Tourism NZ program to educate our visitors in caring for New Zealand for now and future generations. Maori principles of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship of our whenua or land, a different concept to ownership), Manaakitanga (Hospitality) form the basis of the program. Guests at Whakaipo Lodge gain exposure to these principles.
- Our companion business Adventure Shuttles is partnered with the NZ Department of Conservation to enable access to our conservation estate for the purpose of biking and walking, both low impact activites that deliver high visitor satisfaction.
- Our small business engages the services of many locals in construction trades, garden and agricultural services, entertainment and hospitality contributing economically to our community.
- We undertake trapping and baiting of predator species, especially rats and stoats. We are further extending our trapline in 2022.
- Future plans include: further upgrade of insulation, planting, solar photo volataic installation to utilise daytime generated energy and other improvements with sustainability at their core.