Case study: Wairere Boulders Nature Park
case study has been authored as part of the Northland Sustainable Tourism
Project. It sets out Wairere Boulders Nature Park’s perspectives
of their experiences and the resources they dedicated to the process.
1. Business background
Eco-tourism boulder encounter
Number of staff
Number of sites you operate from
One — Horeke, Hokianga Harbour
How long has your company been in business?
What are your main markets?
Domestic and international visitors of all ages
What factors affect the success of your business?
The key factors that affect Wairere Boulders are:
- publicity and media coverage
- personal energy
- Internet speed.
2. Sustainable business practices
What does sustainability mean to your business?
Sustainability has been a life long commitment for the two owners
of Wairere Boulders, and has been focused on the environment. It also
now means that sustainability includes the business.
What sustainable business practices was your company using before
being involved in this project?
Due to the life long commitment to sustainability, Wairere Boulders
had a significant number of key actions and initiatives in place including:
- preservation of 80 ha of native bush, to help offset carbon use
for friends visitors and ourselves
- preservation and protection of the local environment evident from
current practices (eg, weed and pest control and planting programmes)
- proactive approach to community engagement, supporting local schools
- actively segregating waste streams
- integrating environmental considerations into purchasing decisions
(eg, cleaning products)
- excellent visitor information, through face-to-face contact, website,
and labelling of native trees.
What was involved for your company in the project?
Our business examined and monitored its activities from the Triple
Bottom Line perspective. The Northland Sustainable Tourism Charter provided
The process focused on issues like minimising waste, preserving nature,
good communication with employees and fair social treatment, while still
thinking about the financial bottom line.
This process requires personal honesty and some in-depth thinking
on how to implement good actions, such as above. This needs time and
Where did the motivation come from to become involved in this project?
Sustainability and protection of the environment has been the goal
of the owners since arriving from Switzerland in 1983. This background,
coupled with personal curiosity, the opportunity to gain exposure for
the business and to spur other businesses in the right direction, led
to Wairere Boulders becoming involved.
Who has been involved in the project to date and why?
Both owners were involved in all decisions and at all stages of the
How much time did your business spend on this initiative?
Over six hours were spent preparing for the High Level Assessment.
The on-site assessment needed one day.
Additional time has been spent preparing the Action Plan and talking
to other businesses about the project.
What steps has your company implemented since the start of the project?
Since the start of the project we have:
- completed a High Level Sustainability Assessment, which provided
a basis for identifying key sustainability issues and opportunities
for our business
- conducted a review of the detailed Sustainability Assessment prepared
for us, and developed an Action Plan, which reflects our immediate,
medium and longer term commitments to further enhance our sustainability
How do you see your company maintaining its commitment to the process
started by this project?
Wairere Boulders will maintain its commitment to sustainability as
it always has — through personal conviction, dedication, passion
3. Commitments to sustainability
The Action Plan included a Statement of Intent, which set out the
steps we have committed to take in support of the Northland Tourism
Charter over the immediate, medium and long term. In summary, these
Commitments to the environment
- Share the process and key outcomes of the sustainability project
with other small to medium enterprises
- Build on existing initiatives to incorporate environmental criteria
into purchasing and supply decisions
- Ensure existing facilities for wastewater management remain adequate
as visitor numbers increase
- Encourage visitors to offset their carbon dioxide travel footprint
through involvement in native forest restoration projects
- When making any future landscaping decisions, choose plants that
require minimal or no water, pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides
- Seek to ensure visitor numbers are maintained at a sustainable
Commitments to our community
- Ensure the community is kept informed of sustainability initiatives
and any planned future developments relating to Wairere Boulders
- Support the local community through ongoing communication, information
exchange and promotion
- Continue to implement initiatives to preserve local history
Commitments to the company
- Owner/Operator commitment to programme in personal holiday time
4. Advice to others
What advice would you give to other businesses interested in becoming
involved in a similar type of initiative?
- Be realistic
- Make sure you allow for enough time
- The process is ongoing and becomes a strategy for your business’
5. Benefits of being in the project
The benefits for Wairere Boulders were not so much in the areas of
specific tools but more in terms of the following:
- improved understanding
- new contacts.
6. Roadblocks to sustainability
There were a number of challenges in the project including:
- grasping the language of sustainability
- getting to terms with the difference between theory and practice
- travelling distances to project meetings.
Organisation: Wairere Boulders Nature Park
Contact persons: Felix or Rita Schaad
Address postal: RD 1 Okaihau 0455
Address physical: 70 McDonnell Road, Horeke, Hokianga
Phone: (09) 401 9935
Other case studies:
Dive! Tutukaka | Fullers
Bay of Islands | Matakohe
Top Ten Holiday Park | Waitangi
Last updated: 5 October 2005