By DOC’s Cher Knights, Queenstown Office.
Tourism operator Real Journeys diverted from the ordinary Christmas gift-giving this year to support Kākāpō Recovery by ‘adopting’ a few of the the critically endangered parrots.
Based in the South Island, Real Journeys is one of New Zealand’s largest tourism operators. Earlier this year DOC and Real Journeys signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together where there are opportunities to use the tourism and fundraising power of Real Journeys to benefit conservation, which has sparked a number of recent projects.
Bestowing kākāpō adoptions as Christmas gifts to key agents and suppliers was about giving something meaningful in line with the company’s conservation ethos, and supporting a cause close to their hearts.
Altogether, Real Journeys purchased $4,800 worth of kākāpō adoptions for agents and suppliers in New Zealand and key international markets.
Geraldine McMillan, Sales Manager for Australia and NZ said, “We think adoption of a kākāpō as a Christmas gift is a brilliant way to recognise the efforts of our key agents and suppliers and support a worthwhile cause; one that all our staff are very close to. Unlike the usual gifts we give every year, the adoption will actually do good, raise awareness for the kākāpō among the recipients and hopefully will be remembered for a lot longer.”
Real Journeys also raised $37,000 for Kākāpō Recovery by organising the ‘Birds of a Feather’ charity ball earlier in August.
The ‘Adopt a kākāpō’ initiative by Kākāpō Recovery is of course a ‘symbolic’ adoption; the kākāpō is a ‘taonga’ (treasured) species to New Zealand Maori, therefore no-one can actually ‘own’ a bird outright. Anyone can help to protect the world’s remaining kākāpō by symbolically adopting one of the birds featured. Each adoption directly supports efforts to fund health management, supplementary food and annual transmitter changes for the last 125 kākāpo left in the world.