Queenstown Lakes visitors invited to help fund region’s climate and conservation goals

The Love Queenstown and Love Wānaka funds will raise money for local climate, conservation and biodiversity initiatives Photo: Paragliding over Queenstown and Lake Wakaitipu

Visitors and businesses in the Queenstown Lakes are being invited to help fund the district’s goal to become regenerative and carbon zero.

Destination Queenstown and Lake Wānaka Tourism officially launched community funding platforms on Tuesday.

The Love Queenstown and Love Wānaka funds will raise money for local climate, conservation and biodiversity initiatives and help to connect visitors to projects they can volunteer with.

It was the first project from the district’s regenerative tourism strategy, which was endorsed by the local council earlier this year.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Mat Woods said there were many passionate people wanting to act but they did not know where to begin.

“While we don’t have all the answers, we believe that the answers are out there, and we are committed to being a place that is understanding of the level of urgency and that is willing to experiment and learn,” Woods said.

“No matter how big or small, donations will help support existing projects, as well as new ideas and new technologies.”

Participating businesses will have both physical and digital points where donations can be made, and installations at the Queenstown Airport will detail these initiatives and how visitors can get involved.

Chief executive Glen Sowry said it was important to show the progress from idea into action.

“Everyone remembers the beginning and the end of the journey, and we want to make sure that’s done really well, and we create the opportunity to create value for the fund, and that people feel a real desire and ambition to give back,” Sowry said.

Lake Wānaka Tourism chief executive Tim Barke said organisations and individuals were working on decarbonisation, but often they needed more resources to scale up.

“One project or one organisation can’t do it alone, so this funding will go towards supporting an entire ecosystem that works together for the greater good of this place and the planet,” Barke said.

“Collective action is how we change systems, and together, we are powerful.

“The wairua (spirit) created by this landscape is what shapes the visitor experience and connects everyone who visits whether for a few hours or a lifetime. This is often referred to as the kaupapa of tiaki and as visitors to this place we all have a responsibility to take up the challenge of being good ancestors.”

The funds will be spent exclusively in their region of origin, with some set aside into an endowment fund for long-term, future funding opportunities.

Article Source: RNZ