A motto of "doing more good" is central to Wild Fiordland's ethos.
The company, which set sail in 2020 in the experienced hands of Fiona Lee and Brian Humphrey, operates bespoke charter boat adventures on their gorgeous sailboat, the Breaksea Girl.
The couple has a shared love of water and adventure, and they see voyages into the misty and magical Fiordland Sounds as an opportunity to disconnect from the stresses and pressures of modern life — and to reconnect with what's truly important.
"We really want our people to be engaged in choosing us because we're going to do some good along the way."
It could be helping foster an increased awareness around sustainable practices — something that comes naturally when enchanted by Fiordland's mesmerising beauty.
"We're proud to call this unrivalled world-class destination home, and with that comes a responsibility to operate with environmental integrity, respecting the ecological uniqueness and fragility of the area," Fiona says.
Building Wild Fiordland's brand awareness is important, and the opportunity to take part in Great South's Murihiku Southland Sustainable Tourism pilot programme was good for their business as they can sit in the sustainable tourism space.
"We have made a start and know we have a lot to learn," Fiona says.
From this point, she says they can grow and evolve with the technology and opportunities available.
Wild Fiordland is committed to the Tiaki Promise - to care for and protect New Zealand's taonga, including the land, sea and cultural identity now and for future generations.
They operate their business out of a home office to keep overheads and energy consumption down and are committed to supporting local businesses when purchasing supplies.
"Where we can, we source local produce from like-minded sustainable businesses and purchase traceable New Zealand products and services."
They are on a journey to become carbon neutral, so the management of their greenhouse gas emissions is crucial.
"We work on the Fiordland coast, sometimes in extreme weather — our business is directly impacted by climate change," Fiona says.
Their carbon accounting and emissions baseline work covers diesel, petrol, refrigerants, electricity, waste and landfill, and passenger transport, including helicopters for transporting clients. Fiona says Breaksea Girl is a very fuel-efficient vessel - and is powered under sail whenever possible.
The baseline information helps them tell a story about who they are and to be transparent about their operation.
To work out their carbon offsets, Wild Fiordland have used the Tane's Trees Trust calculator to estimate the number of trees they need to plant to mitigate their impact.
"I'm a massive fan of getting native trees in the ground," Fiona says.
It can be difficult for small businesses to find opportunities to mitigate their carbon footprint, but Wild Fiordland now has some land for planting.
Helping re-establish seabirds on Coal Island — inspired by the image of an albatross on the bow of Breaksea Girl — predator trapping missions, and helping install solar panel acoustic speakers to attract Titi/Sooty Shearwaters and Korure/Mottled Petrels by broadcasting calls of birds recorded at breeding colonies, are among their conservation contributions.
Fiona says living on the flanks of Fiordland requires a great deal of resilience, and with that comes a need to maintain a strong, resourceful, healthy and diverse community.
"We continue to challenge ourselves, share ideas, inspire and encourage others to do the same. We are not alone, not perfect, and have a long way to go, but we've made a line in the sand and set the foundations for 'doing more good'."
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