Our Vision, Mission & Values

Our vision

To be the Destination, Experience and Company of Choice

Our mission

To Identify, Develop & Promote WOW based experiences.

Our values - the 5 C's

  1. Customer (Manaakitanga)
  2. Company (Tino Rangatiratanga)
  3. Community (Iwi Whanui)
  4. Conservation (Kaitiakitanga)
  5. Culture (Whakapapa)

Our Philosophy

We seek to:

Annually agreed strategic objectives and departmental targets within the company's business plan underpin our commitment and are regularly reviewed and monitored for effectiveness. Where financially viable, we give preference to suppliers who themselves have sound environmental policies and practices.

Education is an important aspect of the experience we deliver and something we have spent a lot of time and capital on, with our aim being to send our customers away knowing that they have learnt something new about the marine life in the Kaikōura Canyon and our environment. We work hard to support our environment by undertaking a number of actions. Many of these you will not see, but some you may notice.

A few examples of actions that you may not see include:


Sustainable Whale Watching in Kaikōura

Whale watching in Kaikōura has had over 10 years of robust scientific research conducted on it in relation to the potential impacts of commercial Whale watching on Sperm Whales, all interactions with marine mammals are governed by the New Zealand Marine Mammal Protection Regulations.

The latest research completed in 2011 concluded:

The current regulations administered by the Department of Conservation including existing limits on permitted tours and the three vessels within 300m rule appear to appropriately manage the level of interaction between tour vessels and whales. Such regulations minimize effects of the vessels on sperm whales, promoting a sustainable whale watching industry at Kaikōura. Looking forward, it would appear that whale watching tourism at Kaikōura is on the right track, with growth and development that is good for the community and does not appear to impact the animals. For example, the newer, larger vessels operated by whale watch can carry more passengers and make less noise. While marine mammal eco-tourism will no doubt continue to expand at Kaikōura, we suggest that continued caution is warranted with respect to the rate of growth and the sort of growth to ensure both a healthy tourism business and a healthy sperm whale population for generations to come.

Over the last week we had fantastic tours with great sightings of semi-resident sperm whales Tutu, Tiaki and Manu who were feeding reasonably close inshore. When time allowed we also viewed dusky & Hector’s dolphins, NZ fur seals and marine birds.

Winter has been making itself well and truly known over the last few days which reminds us to be taking care on the roads especially earlier in the day when ice can be an issue. For those of you who enjoy time on the slopes, local family owned ski field Mt Lyford is due to open on the 29th June (just in time for the school holidays!).

REMINDER - REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA

• The highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (perfect for a long weekend getaway)

• The highway will be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for repairs to take place. 

• The closure schedule is expected to remain in place until the end of September.

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As we enter into the cooler winter months it is a good reminder to take extra care on the roads and to check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling.

Progress is being made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina and we continue to switch between using a berth and our modified trailer unit for launching our vessel Tohorā, when and where possible we are also making use of the public jetty that we have modified, this is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored in October 2017.

Currently our available tour times are based around the tide times on the day and may differ from the tour times originally advertised, please bear with us as we continue to work toward being fully operational again. For an update on the tour times available please contact our Customer Service team directly either by email on res@whalewatch.co.nz or phone +64 3 319 6767 or free phone 0800 655 121 (within NZ) and they will be able to help you with your inquiry.  Please note we are operating at a reduced capacity in the interim with up to 3 tours available per day, please contact our team prior to arriving in Kaikōura to secure a space on one of our tours and to save disappointment.

Kaikōura Business Update:

Kaikōura is open for business. For latest updates on accommodation / restaurant and retail information please contact the team at the Kaikōura i-Site who will be able to help you find what suits your needs during your stay in Kaikōura. 

Transport Update:

All subject to weather conditions, slips, repair work and seismic activity. Updates available from the NZTA WEBSITE.

IntercityHasslefree Tours & Canterbury Leisure Tours have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch, as well as Kiwi Experience now having the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers.

Progress on the work being done on roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on this dedicated KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE page provided by the team at NZTA, this page is updated weekly on Friday. Work is also starting to take place on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

Not long until the July School Holidays - why not bring your family to Kaikōura & join us for a whale watch tour? There is also plenty to see & do before or after you join with us. Please consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura, your support is most welcome. July School Holiday Special

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.