Air New Zealand has signed a new three-year commercial partnership with New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC).
The deal, which was penned last week between New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, and the airline’s CEO, Rob Fyfe, is aimed at offering travel and marketing support for new conservation programmes around New Zealand’s National Parks Great Walks network, including species translocations.
The announcement was made at an event at Air New Zealand’s Auckland head office also attended by Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson, and DOC Director-General, Al Morrison.
“The establishment of the Great Walks Biodiversity Partnership and the Air New Zealand Translocation Programme will see our two organisations come together to enhance and promote the sorts of things that make New Zealand unique,” said Fyfe.
“It will enable important conservation biodiversity projects to take place in the vicinity of the Great Walks and also help promote these gems in New Zealand’s natural tourism crown to domestic and international tourists like never before,” he added.
Air New Zealand becomes the sole major sponsorship of the Great Walks network, which incorporates nine of New Zealand’s trails; Rakiura, Kepler, Milford, Routeburn, Heaphy, Abel Tasman Coast, Whanganui River Journey, Tongariro and Lake Waikaremoana.
The agreement will also see Air New Zealand transport threatened birds, reptiles and invertebrates to safe new breeding sites around the country as part of DOC’s active recovery programmes.
“There are approximately 200 transfers each year of threatened wildlife and just this past week Air New Zealand helped fly eight flightless kakapo from Invercargill through Christchurch to Auckland en route to their new sanctuary on Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf,” said the DOC’s Morrison.
“This is a natural partnership with a forward thinking company that sees the real value of conservation. Air New Zealand understands that looking after the things that make New Zealand unique is good for their business.
“Whether it is help transporting threatened species or getting more people out experiencing the value of our National Parks, Air New Zealand will be investing in its own future as well as New Zealand’s,” Morrison added.
Fyfe said the partnership represents an important expansion of the airline’s environment strategy.