Wilsons Abel Tasman - A Climate Action Plan for an Ecotourism Company



  • Who you are and site of action. Wilsons Abel Tasman is an ecotourism company, based in Motueka and offering guided tours of Abel Tasman National Park on foot, by kayak and by boat. The company operates two lodges within the national park and employs 70 people.
  • Goals of your climate action plan The goals are conceived as aiming for sustainability, ecologically, socially, and culturally. Sustainability is understood as a process that can be continued forever without leaving less for future generations.
  • How you went about it. The company has been developing for about seventy years, steadily increasing its commitment to ecological values, and increasing the degree to which this bears on business decisions in a slow, incremental way. Much of the decision-making depends on Darryl Wilson, who leads the company. He is influenced by much international consultation on ‘best practice’ in this field. Darryl relates to other ecotourism operators in this park, to the local Department of Conservation officers, to Tasman District Council and to conservation NGOs working in Abel Tasman. 
  • What you’ve accomplished so far. How long did this take? 

Transport: Clients who move through the park on foot or kayak contribute very little to carbon emissions. Clients who use a boat create a significant amount. There has been a move to use one large boat, with a very fuel-efficient engine, thereby making fewer journeys, and lowering carbon emissions.

Buildings: The lodges are powered by photovoltaic arrays and diesel generators. The latter are electronically monitored to achieve fuel efficiency. Hot water is partly solar-heated. Food and drink is locally sourced when possible. All waste is taken out of the park and recycled. Guests receive instructions on energy-saving behaviour. Plastic waste is minimised; guests are given one plastic water bottle and asked to refill it along the route. Guides are highly aware of ecological values and transmit these to guests.

  • Lessons learned, obstacles overcome. Attention has been paid to the need for cooperation between stakeholders in making decisions to limit the impact of visitors on the natural environment, the human-built infrastructure and the small settlements with historic rights to park use. This has led to an agreed quota of daily visitors, a limit to boat access points and a limit to the number of boat landings. This agreement appears to be working well.
  • Aspirations A paperless office.
  • Contact details are available on the Wilsons Abel Tasman website.
  • Photo. Caption: Darryl Wilson leads his company in promoting ecological, social and business values.