2017/18 was our best season ever with wonderful people enjoying the best of New Zealand nature with us! Hard to believe we were swimming in the ocean from October all the way through to Easter. This certainly made up for a wet winter. We know winter is on its way when the godwits (above) head back to the northern hemisphere to breed. On the plus side the Wrybills and South Island Pied oyster catchers come and visit us in the sunny Bay of Plenty to avoid the cold winters of the South Island
New Product – Nature meets Culture
Foris eco-tours has created a day tour for the discerning client who wants an intimate nature experience and wants to experience a genuine cultural exchange.
Our nature and culture experience starts with a short walk in Otanewainuku forest (between Rotorua and Tauranga). This is a stunning forest, home to giant trees and fantastic birdlife.
We lunch at Mount Maunganui and check out Mount Drury and of course New Zealand’s favorite beach at the Mount.
After this we have a private studio visit with Todd Couper. Todd is a Contemporary Māori artist who specializes in wood carving and sculpture, and has forged his own style and direction in carving, with commissioned pieces residing in collections both locally and internationally. Todd shares his story of how his culture inspires his art practice. Check out his work here http://www.toddcouper.com/images.
What is Eco-tourism?
Internationally ecotourism is well understood. Essentially it needs to be five things to be a genuine ecotourism experience.
1. Small scale, locally owned and operated
2. Nature Based
3. Low impact on the environment
5. Financially contributing to conservation
We have used these guidelines since our inception to shape our business. 1 and 2 are easy as we are a small family owned business and we take people to stunning off the beaten track places.
We follow “leave no trace” principles in the areas we work so they would be no sign of us ever visiting the areas we operate. We are lucky to have great tracks in New Zealand that make visiting our special places easy.
We are educators in the truest sense. The “foris” brand invokes the amateur naturalist of the 19th century. We share our passion for New Zealand’s natural history everywhere we operate. In addition we teach around 4000 New Zealand students about New Zealand’s conservation challenges via our education program at Sanctuary Mountain. We also represent the recreation / environmental community on the Rangitaiki River forum (a community input into the planning process for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council).
As a small company we don’t take too many people into the forest but everyone who comes with us pays concession fees and gst included their trip price. Some of this money goes into conservation. But our biggest financial contributions to conservation come via our fundraising efforts with a range of projects. Over the last 5 years this has included:
$100k for our education program via the Ministry of Education
$25k for Takahe related activities
$25k for interpretation projects for Maungatautari
$380K from Trust Waikato and D V Bryant for the education centre and biodiversity lab
$10k for fence materials from WWF
$10k for self resetting traps from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Not bad for a small business but we have lots more to contribute!
Spot the odd one out. The wee bird is a Marsh Sandpiper, seen at Little Waihi on the opening weekend of the Duck Shooting season. It is always good to keep your eyes peeled and you never know what you may find.