Having operated on the same site for 136 years, Wairakei Resort Taupō takes social and environmental ownership very seriously. The resort is proud to hold a Gold accreditation under the Qualmark rating system which has very stringent environmental assessment criteria as set out by Tourism New Zealand. This accreditation recognises Wairakei Resort Taupō as one of the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand.
Our business values reinforce this:
Kaitaiakitanga: provides a basis for care and protection of our guests, our people and our environment while sustainably managing our natural resources to build an environment for current and future generations.
At Wairakei Resort Taupō we understand that the sustainable growth of our company depends on our ability to minimize or eliminate our impact on our surroundings.
Wairakei Resort Taupō is proud to be a uniquely self-sufficient operation. The resort has and continues to introduce measures to reduce, recycle and measure waste and energy consumption on a scale that is unprecedented for a New Zealand accommodation provider.
• Sewage treatment facilities: We operate our own sewage treatment facility onsite processing and distributing of domestic waste from the resort back into the land via soakage fields. We also use this plant to treat the waste water from neighbouring businesses including the Huka Prawn Park, assisting them to operate sustainably into the future. The dried waste water is then taken to MyNoke worm farm to turn into compost.
• Organic waste returned to the soil: All our organic waste including cardboard, sewage, food scraps, paper towels and more are taken to the MyNoke worm farm and turned into vermicast. We use this as compost in our orchards, herb gardens, and grounds. The kitchen team and our guests reap the benefits of the fresh produce, which completes the full circle.
• Water Treatment facilities: We also operate our own water treatment plant taking water from the Waikato River and, through a process of cleaning and filtering, bring this up to perfect drinking standards for our guests to enjoy. Our water treatment facility also provides this service to neighbouring businesses such as the Wairakei Terraces, assisting them to operate sustainably into the future.
• Renewable Energy: The resort utilises the area’s natural geothermal steam resource to provide a significant portion of the energy required to heat the resort, pools and facilities. All our energy consumption is recorded and monitored and used to ensure sustainable future planning, conservation and education of staff.
• Forestry block: A large percentage (27.5 Ha) of the property is dedicated to forestry. This forest block helps to offset our carbon emissions. As certain areas are milled and cleared these are also replanted in a variety of trees, including New Zealand natives (e.g. along the geothermal stream that runs through the property).
We believe that our corporate responsibility goes beyond our resort boundaries and we endeavour to co-operate with our neighbours and our suppliers to continue developing our business in a sustainable manner.
Department heads across the organisation together with our purchasing department seek products and services of local origin that are environmentally benign. The cleaning products predominantly used at the resort are environmentally friendly as are our room amenities. The recent move to dispensing bathroom amenities from miniature plastic bottles is also an example of how the resort continues to decrease its consumption of plastics and non-biodegradables.
The company not only meets all existing environmental laws and regulations; but goes beyond the status quo seeking techniques and approaches to position our organisation ahead of the competition. Paper straws, reusable beverage cups for staff and a preference for compostable (e.g. bamboo, paper and plant-based) containers and utensils are examples of the actions we take to minimise our environmental footprint.
Local sourcing of goods and services has a large impact on the region’s economy given the ongoing increasing spend of the resort across all sectors, whilst reducing the environmental footprint of having to transport products long distances to and from the resort.
As one of the larger employers in the region we have a social responsibility to our wider community and take this role seriously. The resort is a major economic contributor to the Taupō district with salaries and wages of almost $5 million being re-injected into the local economy on an annual basis.
Wairakei Resort Taupō is also a financial and in-kind sponsor to many local organisations, events and charitable initiatives. The following are just a few examples of the numerous community initiatives that Wairakei Resort Taupō supports regularly:
• Bike Taupō: Wairakei Resort Taupō is a financial sponsor of Bike Taupō enabling them to continue to improve the local trail and riding network. Resort land has also been developed with Bike Taupō for public use and the resort grounds are provided free of charge for their marquee fundraising event Craters Classic. The work of Bike Taupō has substantial economic benefit to our town, as well as health and wellbeing benefits for our local community.
• Greening Taupō: The resort has been part of this environmental planting and trapping project in the Taupō district via funding and in-kind contributions since its inception. Staff are encouraged to contribute their time to participate in these planting projects and resort land has been used for replanting projects that were funded by events being held on site.
The team also offers sponsorship by way of cash, prize and in-kind contributions to numerous other local and national charities, individuals and organisations with an annual budget dedicated to supporting such initiatives.
Members of the resort management team are also on local and industry boards in order to give back to the community that supports us.
Photo Credits: Love Taupō
As our business continues to grow, so to do the employment opportunities within our organisation with both new full time and part-time positions being created on a regular basis. As such we are also one of the largest stakeholders for schools and local tertiary providers offering on the job training and career pathways for our local youth.
We actively promote in-house training and external professional development opportunities for all levels of staff. This has helped us to have a high level of retention of quality employees, with many of our upper management team having been promoted from within the organisation.
This development also adds value to the greater hospitality and tourism industry as staff take up opportunities with other local businesses due to the transferable skills developed during their tenures here at Wairakei Resort Taupō