The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary has gone from Silver to Gold Sustainable Tourism Business status, awarded recently by Qualmark, New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation.
“The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary is kaitiakitanga in action. The place embodies the word,” said Peter Clinton-Baker, QualMark NZ Tourism Business Advisor in his evaluation report following a recent audit of the Sanctuary’s operations.
“The BWST provides a safe haven for divergent species including its human visitors who may need the solace, peace and the mauri which is so present here within the predator free fence line.” The Sanctuary was awarded Silver status after its last assessment and Clinton-Baker congratulated the Sanctuary on achieving an outstanding gold pass, noting it was “a great result and very well deserved.”
For visitors to the Sanctuary, the Gold Award represents independent endorsement that the Sanctuary delivers an exceptional and sustainable visitor experience.
“In 2021 it’s now hard to imagine what the land that is now the Sanctuary was like in 2002 – what imagination, vision and what determination by a community of individuals working together to create the transformation that visitors can now immerse themselves in,” said Clinton-Baker.
Sanctuary chief executive, Ru Collin, said the Gold Award confirms the Sanctuary is on the right path, recognising the Trust’s effective guardianship of the area, covering both the natural environment and its people – volunteers, staff and visitors.
“This recognition doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels; we continue to develop and evolve. We reintroduced our first species – tīeke – in April and have just launched our night-time tours to showcase the Sanctuary glowworms, giving visitors a completely different way of experiencing the lower valley track; both activities are great examples of kaitiakitanga, restoring Papatūanuku (the land) and encouraging people to further connect with nature”.