Sustainability Commitment


Our promise to tomorrow starts today. It is a firm commitment to create a better future by protecting our people and our place for the generations to come.

The Mackenzie Helicopters environmental policy is inspired by this statement:

“Our promise to tomorrow starts today. It is a firm commitment to create a better future by protecting our people and our place for the generations to come.”

Sustainability, care and respect for the environment is a core value of Mackenzie Helicopters. As locals, we recognise that it is a privilege to have grown up in our beautiful Mackenzie region, and an honour to call the Mackenzie “our home”.

The Te Manahuna Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and greater Mackenzie region has a unique geology and alpine environment, home to many known and unrecognised native species. Our aim is to share this incredible place in a way that allows our guests to experience and appreciate the wonder and beauty of the Mackenzie and its biodiversity, while actively contributing to restoring and protecting this precious environment through conservation efforts such as the Te Manahuna Aoraki project, and by acting to reduce our personal impact on the environment.

Mackenzie Helicopters actively supports conservation by working closely with the Department of Conservation and the Te Manahuna Aoraki project, a collaborative private public partnership to restore and protect the biodiversity of the upper Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Additionally, we support and invest in our local community, which includes leadership in helping grow existing businesses and developing new ideas for the growth and sustainability of our community. During the quiet months of the pandemic, we personally planted some 300 native trees and shrubs on our family property.

Mackenzie Helicopters is an advocate of the Māori cultural value of kaitiakitanga or guardianship. We are closely connected to and respectful of the land and nature, and responsible for maintaining the balance and wellbeing of the environment. We work closely with Dr. Ihirangi Heke, an indigenous environmental advisor who is helping our team to better connect with the land and establish sound sustainable processes.

We take pride in introducing new ways to practise and maintain a greener way of operating in our everyday business through many small changes — and some larger ones — which in time will benefit tomorrow.

Our Staff

Our staff are fully engaged and involved in our sustainability efforts. They are encouraged to inform and educate our guests on the importance of sustainable practices both here and elsewhere, and to demonstrate this practically by:

  1. Removal of all rubbish/waste while exploring the wilderness and mountains.
  2. Documenting and reporting sightings of any exotic weeds and/or pests.
  3. Care for and respect of all flora and fauna. This includes encouraging hunters to show respect and utilise all parts of an animal they have taken, and to practise sustainability while hunting.
  4. Explanation about the impacts of climate change on our environment to our scenic flight guests. This includes highlighting the extent of glacier retreat over recent years due to warmer global temperatures, and using historical data to show the rate of glacier retreat and effects on our icescape.
  5. Educating guests and customers on the work being done at a local level such as the Te Manahuna Aoraki project and Wilding Free Mackenzie.

Business Operations

In our business operations, we strive to reduce our impact on the environment through careful processes and investment to support and enhance services.

These measures include:

  1. Shutting down helicopters to minimise fuel burn when factors allow.
  2. Careful planning and execution of the most efficient flight paths to minimise flight time.
  3. Limiting ferry flight time, and efficient loading according to helicopter capacity.
  4. Operation of varied helicopter types permits efficiencies e.g. minimising fuel burn, maximising efficiency.
  5. Consulting and involving experts such as Dr. Ihirangi Heke, specialist advisor in indigenous environmental science.
  6. Encouraging our young people to experience nature, learning from earlier generations so they will better understand and appreciate our environment, and adopting kaitiakitanga vales.
  7. Supporting deep cultural connections and experiences through embracing Māori culture, and passing on local Māori knowledge and history through our storytelling. We support Aotearoa New Zealand’s Tiaki Promise and invite our guests to care for land, sea and nature as they travel safely and considerately in New Zealand.
  8. Mackenzie Helicopters are committed to give back and encourage others to do the same.
  9. Initiative for customers to purchase a native tree or shrub, with the ability for them to plant these on our local land, allowing the customer to embrace the experience first-hand.