Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we feel a special connection with the land we come from.
The Tiaki Promise is a commitment to care for our home.

We invite you to take the Tiaki Promise and to use these simple guidelines while exploring the top of the south touring route:

Care for land, sea and nature, treading lightly and leaving no trace.
Travel safely, showing care and consideration for all.
Respect the culture and local communities, travelling with an open heart and mind.

Be guardians, be protectors. Tiaki - care for all of Aotearoa New Zealand and the five regions within the top of the south touring route, for now and for future generations.

How to care for New Zealand

By following the Tiaki Promise you are making a commitment to New Zealand.

Protect Nature
Keep NZ Clean
Be Prepared
Drive Carefully
Show Respect

Protect Nature

Nature and wildlife in Aotearoa New Zealand developed in isolation over many millennia. Many of our native plants and animals are endemic, such as the tuatara, kiwi, and kōkako, and our only native mammals are bats and marine mammals. When humans arrived on our shores, so did the introduction of pests and introduced mammals. Now, many of our native species are threatened.

You can help protect nature by doing the following:

  • Tread carefully around bird nesting areas, especially on beaches.
  • Drive carefully, always aware of your surroundings.
  • Choose tourism operators who support conservation projects.


  • Whale Watch Kaikōura
  • Encounter Kaikōura
  • Hapuku Kitchen

West Coast

  • West Coast Wildlife Centre


  • The Gentle Cycle Company
  • Mārahau Sea Kayaks
  • Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures


  • Hanmer Spring Thermal Spa & Hot Pools


  • Marlborough Tour Company
  • Beachcomber Cruises
  • Wilderness Guides

Keep Aotearoa New Zealand Clean

Ensure you leave the places you travel in the same or better condition than how you found them.

Use waste and recycling bins where provided, or take your litter and waste with you, including food scraps and natural waste. If you see litter, pick it up and dispose of it, even if it’s not yours.

Use public toilets where available and be aware there may be long gaps between bathrooms, especially on our country roads. Be prepared to pack out your personal waste if heading into remote natural areas.

Reduce your waste by carrying reusable water bottles, shopping bags, and coffee cups. Most tap water is safe to drink unless noted otherwise and finding places to refill is easy in most towns and cities.

Be Prepared

As mentioned, the top of the south Touring Route is full of stunning vistas, incredible bush walks and rugged coastline.

When exploring, it pays to be well and truly prepared. Let someone know where you are and when you will be back. If you find yourself in trouble, the emergency assistance number in Aotearoa New Zealand is 111. Mobile phone coverage in some of the remote parts of the top of the south can have patchy service. And always check the weather forecast before you go exploring.

The coastline of the East and West Coast of the South Island is rugged and in places has hidden dangers. If you are unsure whether an area is safe to swim, surf etc… ask a local.

Drive Carefully

The best way to explore the top of the south’s beauty is by car, campervan, motorhome or tour coach. When driving in Aotearoa New Zealand it pays to be aware of the weather conditions, narrow and windy roads as well the infamous one-way bridges. Keep an eye on your fuel gauge as distances between service stations can be long. If you are tired, please pull over and rest. If you notice traffic has backed up behind you, pull over when it is safe to do so and allow traffic to pass.

Most of all, be sure to allow extra time when driving between regions, there is literally beauty around every corner, waiting to be discovered.

Show Respect

Manaakitanga (hospitality) and generosity are part of the culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. Ensure you return the favour by traveling with an open heart and mind and respecting the customs, culture and people that call the top of the south home. 

You should also respect the land and environment by travelling lightly, obeying freedom camping rules and ensuring you check in with local landowners before crossing private land. 

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