Our Environment
and where we are in it

Our aim is to give our guests the best possible experience with the least possible impact on the local community and environment.

Sustainable Tourism   

We together with several other Southland Tourist operators are part of a pilot program on Sustainable Tourism . Click Here to visit Venture Southand's web page and find out more on the project's aims. Participation in this program has encouraged us to look quite seriously at just what we do and also how we can do things better.


Just living in this world has an impact on the environment around us.  We guess the trick is  to keep our impact as small as possible. That's not necessarily easy on Stewart Island as the Island is to such a large extent dependant on non renewable energy sources.  The Island runs almost literally on diesel fuel, firstly for transport to and from the mainland, secondly all our electric power is diesel generated as there are no suitable rivers for hydro power and thirdly we use diesel for all our domestic hot water and central heating as it is the most cost efficient method available to us.

Quite apart from the conservation aspect of fuel minimisation the rapidly increasing costs of liquid fuel certainly focuses our thinking on efficient use of energy.

So Sails Ashore was designed to make full use of passive solar energy. The sun room faces north and with full double glazed windows towards the sun and full wall, ceiling and underfloor insulation through out ensures we keep heating costs to a minimum. We are presently investigating supplementing our domestic hot water generation with a solar unit. Stewart Island is possibly a bit marginal for solar water heating, but newer technology is very interesting and may now make it viable.

We are currently trialling extreme efficiency LCD  light bulbs and will almost certainly change to them completely, especially if we can find bulbs with a yellowier light output. We have timers and dimmers on appropriate circuits.

All our domestic water is collected from our roof,  stored in large tanks, UV treated and micro filtered before use, exactly as "Stewart Island Rain" bottled drinking water is prepared. And Stewart Island Rain won NZ's boutique bottled drinking water competition so it's pretty good water to drink.

We sort all domestic waste and recycle wherever possible. A large compost bin and worm farm deals with garden and food waste and also contributes to our organic garden and glass house fertility. We grow as much of our vegetable requirements as possible.

Rakiura Environment Trust

Like many places in New Zealand, Stewart Island has it's share of introduced mammalian pests. In particular rats, opossums and feral cats are to be found around the village.  A local trust has taken on the task of trapping and poisoning these pests within the village and in particular the Ackers Point area.

The result has been quite impressive with so far this year almost a 1000 rats being trapped. Stewart Island Robins have been reintroduced to Ackers Point and the ultimate aim is to release Saddlebacks. Neither species can survive with rats. We have noticed and our guests enjoy increased bird life in our garden and the work of the trust can only improve this for the enjoyment of all. After 30 months in the UK Anne has noticed a marked increase in bird life here in the village. Long may the trend continue. As well as bird life we are noticing a significant increase in small plants such as orchids within the trapped area. Many of which are difficult to find further back in the forest.

Quite apart from the bird life rats are a  problem for any householder and as well can do significant damage in a vegetable garden. This winter we have not noticed any rat sign for the first time ever  around Sails Ashore or Kowhai Lane and "our" trap has caught only two.

The trust is funded entirely by donations and although there is a paid staff member, much of the work is done by volunteers. We have post cards by Gilbert van Reenen on sale and all profits from this go to the trust and in addition many guests ask to make a cash donation. Thus helping enable  the work continue. Click Here for a Trust Letter (362 k)

Both Kowhai Lane & Sails Ashore are honoured to each sponsor 2 hectares of Habitat Restoration.


Just recently we shifted from chemical household cleaners to more natural products. We found things were just as clean and we feel much better for the change as well. Some of those chemical cleaners are pretty nasty to live with. If you'd like to try them here are the recipes :-


      Contact Us At :-    

Sails Ashore & Talisker Charters ( http://www.sailsashore.co.nz )
Peter & Iris Tait,
( tait@sailsashore.co.nz )
11 View St, P.O. Box 66, Stewart Island , New Zealand,

 phone +64 3 219 1151
free-phone 0800 783 9278