Lonely Planet Writer

How travellers can make a pledge to look after New Zealand before they arrive

When you fly to New Zealand on the national carrier Air New Zealand, you’ll now be invited to take the pledge to look after the country’s unique land and environment while visiting.

Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. Image by ©Ratnakorn Piyasirisorost/Getty Images

The New Zealand tourism industry has come together to launch the Tiaki Promise which actively encourages all visitors to experience New Zealand in a way that keeps them safe; protects the natural environment; respects all cultures; and preserves the country for future generations. Tiaki means to care for people and place in New Zealand’s native language Te Reo Māori and the Tiaki Promise is an invitation to visitors to care for New Zealand alongside Kiwis. Visitors to New Zealand will learn about the Tiaki Promise before arriving and while travelling around the country.

Lake in village of Hobbitville on Lord of the Rings film set. Image by ©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

With this deep connection that New Zealanders have with their land comes respect and reciprocity and the belief that if you look after the land, the land will look after you. While founded in Māori tradition, this concept has become part of New Zealand’s collective consciousness as a nation – and is referred to as kaitiakitangaAs well as taking taking the pledge you can show your support on social media using #tiakipromise. 

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall says everyone has a responsibility to care for New Zealand. “New Zealand is known for its warm welcome to guests and the Tiaki Promise builds on that by inviting the world to stand alongside us, so our home can be enjoyed for future generations of Kiwis and visitors. “It reminds people to travel responsibly as they enjoy what our country has to offer, making it clear what behaviours are expected from putting rubbish in the bin to driving safely and showing care and consideration for all,” he says. 

Primeval forest on the kepler track, Fiordland in New Zealand. Image by ©Peter Wey/Shutterstock

The Tiaki Promise has a strong and meaningful foundation in Māori culture and tradition. Māori believe all things are interconnected; people and land are one. As children of Papatuanuku (the earth mother), Māori believe they have a duty of care to look after her, Ranginui (the sky father) and all their children. The Tiaki Promise will be promoted widely initially in English, Te Reo Māori, German and Chinese, with more languages to follow. Learn more here www.tiakinewzealand.co.nz.