How a local ziplining business became a site of environmental significance
When Gavin Oliver and Chris Hollister sat down at a pub to brainstorm business ideas over 10 years ago, nobody was talking about sustainable tourism – at least no one they knew of.
They were simply two friends wanting to share their love of the outdoors with those who might not normally have the time to get out into the backcountry.
Their brainchild, EcoZip Adventures, is now one of the leading adventure and eco-tourism businesses in the country.
Every year, around 25,000 people take the series of 200m long ziplines over lush, ancient forest canopy, enjoy one of their bespoke tours or experience a guided bush walk through their thriving nature reserve. EcoZip welcome domestic and international tourists, as well as corporate visitors looking for a team building activity or a fun day out. Being just a short ferry ride from Auckland’s CBD, EcoZip is the ideal experience to incorporate into a business programme.
Certified climate positive business
As lovers of the environment and stewards of the land they occupy, the EcoZip team knows that doing good doesn’t just mean providing fun. EcoZip is dedicated to delivering positive outcomes for the island they call home.
"We’ve always said that good things happen to those who do good, and that philosophy carries into everything we do at EcoZip,” says co-founder Gavin Oliver.
120% of carbon footprint offset
In 2010, EcoZip’s forest site on Waiheke Island was in a parlous state. So full of weeds, the forest was choked from canopy to roots and riddled with rats. When Gavin and Chris’ team first visited, they had to use machetes to get from one side of the site to the other.
Since then, the team have worked relentlessly to rid the land of pests and weeds, planting thousands of native trees to regenerate the damage done by introduced species. What was once a silent piece of bush is now abuzz with native birdsong.
8,000 native trees donated to restore five Waiheke wetlands
“People are zipping next to Kakas [a native NZ parrot] in the trees and over eels in streams, which was unheard of when we first purchased the land,” says Gavin.
“Looking at the state of it 12 years ago compared to now, we’ve had what we call a biodiversity explosion.”
EcoZip can accommodate business events and groups of up to 250 people. They work collaboratively to design a full island experience, partnering with Waiheke-based partners so all the transport, dining and other experience activities are taken care of.
“Many of our corporate customers love incorporating us as part of their itinerary, as the outcomes that our business delivers often support their own sustainability efforts. We provide a memorable experience for their employees who leave feeling connected with Waiheke and inspired to incorporate more sustainable practices into their every day,” says Gavin.
Alongside nurturing the land EcoZip occupies, the team also do their bit to support the island they love. In 2018, EcoZip gave zipliners the opportunity to do the same, by adding a native tree as an add-on to any zipline experience purchase – just like they’d add on a ferry pass or photo pack.
That resulted in a recent donation of $8,000 for the Waiheke Resources Trust, funding 1,400 native trees being planted in wetlands across the island.
Winner of Qualmark Gold and 100% Pure New Zealand Awards
EcoZip also coordinates ‘Local’s Day’, through which they donate funds to charities that work specifically with, and within, the Waiheke community. In a proactive strategy to use the business to benefit ordinary kiwi kids, EcoZip also annually donate the site, and their time, to charities like Big Buddy and The Kiwi Kids Charity, to provide a special day out to the region’s tamariki [children].
Driven by the values of kaitiakitanga (guardianship and stewardship) and manaakitanga (that of being a good host), Gavin and Chris want to go further than sustainable tourism. They believe wholeheartedly in regenerative tourism – actively working to reverse the impacts of climate change and protect the island they all love.
Designated site of environmental significance
"One day, we hope that our kids will be able to stand back and look at the forest we’re protecting and restoring and be proud of what we’ve done.”
EcoZip are a member of the Auckland Convention Bureau and work closely with us to deliver exciting and sustainability-conscious outings for business event organisers looking to reward and engage attendees. Having built strong connections with organisations, EcoZip is a great way to get an executive team out and about and discovering exciting new ecosystems.
Winner in TECNZ 2022 Achievement Awards for Community and Charity Initiatives