Scenic Hotel Group’s Te Waonui Forest Retreat is doing its best to save one of New Zealand’s most endangered native animals. Around 450 Okarito brown kiwi roam South Westland, and aside from two more birds in the Malborough sounds, that’s the species' entire population. The five-star, Te Waonui Retreat also sits in the same spot of South Island land and is making it their responsibility to protect the bird.
“When your business and everyday life is immersed in this environment there is a huge sense of responsibility to do your part for the conservation of one of the country's most pristine places, so in effect, we all share in the role as guardians of this special place,” said the site’s General Manager Richard Bungeroth.
Five years ago, Scenic launched a program raising money for the endangered animal. Now guests the collective efforts of the resort's guests have raised $15,000 to protect the bird. The 'Kiwis for Kiwi' programme works by asking guests to not change replace their bed linen during their stay at the hotel. For every guest that chooses to do so $5 is raised.
"Education is key to conservation, and once guests are aware, then they are usually only too happy to participate and find that the gift of giving back during their stay enhances their sense of satisfaction and connection to the area.”