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Canterbury business wins Conservation Award

Akaroa & Lyttelton based business Black Cat Cruises have become the first business to win the prestigious and newly introduced Department of Conservation award for Conservation at last week’s annual New Zealand Tourism Awards.

Organised by Tourism Industry Aotearoa the New Zealand Tourism Awards are an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the success of our industry across the country.

Black Cat have been leading the way for conservation-focused tourism activities in Akaroa and Lyttelton Harbour for 34 years.

General Lou Sanson, Director, Department of Conservation

“Alongside the direct economic benefits to local and regional businesses across accommodation, dining, retail and transport – and the indirect benefits to their own suppliers – there are also social opportunities, which extend beyond the duration of each event. These include knowledge sharing and legacy impacts, which will benefit Christchurch well into the future,” Mr Steele said.

Alongside the more than 50 confirmed conferences, the Te Pae Christchurch team are also working on more than 120 events, many of which support the city’s key sectors, as identified by ChristchurchNZ and local education institutes.

As Te Pae Christchurch prepares for its October 2020 opening, Mr Steele said the company would also undertake a massive local recruitment drive in the new year, and seek to finalise agreements with local suppliers, which would provide a host of additional opportunities to Christchurch and Canterbury residents.

Mr Steele said the recent announcement of up to four new hotels – which will bring their own economic benefits to the city – was another sign that Te Pae Christchurch is on the right track to deliver value and benefit to Christchurch beyond the venue’s direct impact.

One of Te Pae Christchurch’s first events, will be the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) 2020 Conference, taking place from 6-8 November.

“NZDA is excited to be one of the first few significant national conferences to be held in Te Pae Christchurch,” New Zealand Dental Association chief executive David Crum said. “In our view it is the only venue in the country which has the capacity and flexibility to host this conference without compromise.

“To be in the central city amongst the action and in a spectacular building like Te Pae Christchurch, is brilliant for delegates, speakers and suppliers alike,” he said.


'A huge congratulations on receiving this reward and heartfelt thanks for the work you do including campaigning for Hector’s dolphins, and advocating for Banks Peninsula’s rich marine life,' says Department of Conservation Director-General Lou Sanson.

This particular award recognises an environmentally sustainable and financially successful tourism business that embraces kaitiakitanga - guardianship and protection of our natural, built and cultural resources for the benefit of current and future generations. The business actively protects, restores and enhances New Zealand’s natural environment and biodiversity, and engages with their staff, visitors and communities on the importance of caring for our natural environment.

Attending last week's awards, Paul Bingham, Chairman of Black Cat Cruises says,

Our conservation work is simply part of who we are at Black Cat Cruises. It’s really nice to have it recognised at the New Zealand Tourism Awards. We will continue the mission in an effort to bring better protection for the Hector’s dolphins.

Paul Bingham, Chairman, Black Cat Cruises

'The ministers are currently considering an extension of fishing restrictions to prevent Hector’s dolphins drowning in set nets and we remain focused on better outcomes for the dolphins.'

'The award is recognition of the Protect Hector’s campaign we ran over the last 12 months but also of our advocacy and education efforts over the last 34 years. Right from the beginning we were mindful of the special partnership we had with dolphins.'

Black Cat Cruises Chief Executive Paul Milligan he says; 'We are honoured and humbled to be awarded the Conservation Award at this year’s New Zealand Tourism Awards. Looking after our back yard is something we can all do.'

We are very proud of our incredible team and their commitment to protecting the Banks Peninsula marine environment and its inhabitants, especially the endangered Hector’s dolphin.

Paul Milligan, Chief Executive, Black Cat Cruises

'We are very proud of our incredible team and their commitment to protecting the Banks Peninsula marine environment and its inhabitants, especially the endangered Hector’s dolphin,' says Milligan.

This is the fourth New Zealand Tourism Award win for Black Cat Cruises. They are previous winners of the award for Business Excellence in 2016 along with winners of the Supreme Tourism award in 2003 and the Major Category winner for Visitor Activities and Attractions in 2002.