Prince Harry has launched an eco-travel campaign in New Zealand, inspired by Maori values of sustainability, kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection) and manaakitanga (love and compassion).

The pilot initiative sees vacationers being encouraged to consider sustainable options while planning their next trip, through the use of a rating tool on the non-profit Travalyst.

The Duke of Sussex leads this organization, which strives to make sustainable travel mainstream and in doing so, aims to create systemic change.

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Prince Harry launched the campaign on the television channel Maori TV, appearing on the programme, Te Ao with Moana. He used the traditional Maori greeting and farewell, and described how this culture inherently understands sustainable practices and how to take better care of life-giving land.

Harry urged visitors to support local communities, contribute to local conservation efforts and create time to “form an authentic connection to nature, people and culture.”

The duke also took part in a launch video for the campaign, alongside New Zealand actors, Rhys Darby, Dave Fane and Rena Owen. They play “ratings agents” who are trialing a system in which holiday destinations rate their visitors.

The skit sees the British prince being rated on his use of hotel towels, buying local honey, leaving water running while brushing his teeth and dropping litter during a previous trip to New Zealand with his wife Meghan - obviously all in jest.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex greet Maori elders while attending a traditional welcome ceremony on the lawns of Goverment House on October 28, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex greet Maori elders while attending a traditional welcome ceremony in New Zealand © Samir Hussein / WireImage

Harry has endorsed the Tiaki Promise, an initiative spearheaded by Tourism New Zealand. Now that the country has reopened its borders, it is encouraging travelers to support local communities, look after nature and wildlife, and act as a guardian of New Zealand by protecting and preserving it.

Travelers are urged to make a promise to care for land, sea and nature, while treading lightly through New Zealand and leaving no trace, i.e., disposing of trash. They should also travel safely, showing care and consideration for all, and respect the country’s culture, traveling with an open heart and mind.

“Every year, more and more of us want better options,” Harry said. “And for the first time, travelers are striving to make that a reality for everybody who wants to support local communities, travelling with kaitiaki values and looking after nature and wildlife.”

How to take part in the scheme

Visit the Travalyst site to answer five questions about your holiday practices. It will rate you in terms of sustainability and offer tips on how to make better choices. The site also features a more extensive research survey on travel habits and showcases stories from kiwi travel operators leading the way with sustainable travel options.

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