New Zealand Requests Tourists Sign Pledge to the Environment

Nov 15, 2018

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As a country that prides itself on its natural wonders, it’s no surprise that New Zealand has taken to new measures to preserve its environment from the troubles of tourism. Now, visitors arriving in the country are being asked to sign the “Tiaki Promises,” which pledges their compliance in maintaining and respecting the New Zealand landscape and culture.

New Zealand is precious, and everyone who lives and travels here has a responsibility to look after it,” states the Tiaki Promise’s official website. “The Tiaki Promise is a commitment to care for New Zealand, for now and for future generations.” 

The pledge itself wasn’t made to pinpoint specific tourist behaviors or create any new regulations like, say, Milan banning selfie-sticks, but to stimulate an overall more respectful attitude to New Zealand as a country. Stephen England-Hall, CEO of Tourism New Zealand, specifically noted to CNN Travel that “the promise isn’t a list of ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ guidelines.” Rather, it’s a general request to just “protect” — which is the definition of “Tiaki” in the Māori language — the environment.

Some specific points the promise covers are careful driving, weather preparedness, kindness to locals and fellow tourists, respect to the environment and a request to keep New Zealand clean.

New Zealand is no stranger to border regulations. Just earlier this month, the country enacted its new Customs and Excise Act that allows border agents to carry out “digital strip-searches” — meaning officers have the ability to request unlock codes and passwords from electronics and search through them. They’ve also established the Overseas Investment Amendment, which bans foreigners from buying existing homes in New Zealand. The amendment was made to help combat domestic homelessness and keep housing prices down for New Zealand citizens.

Featured image by Mark Meredith via Getty Images

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