In these challenging times when our Pacific Islands face the very real threat of climate change, there is still reason to be optimistic in the yachting community, Managing Director of New Zealand Luxury Experiences John Panoho writes.
More than ever before, the wealthy owners of superyachts are looking at the Pacific as a new playground.
Already Superyacht Support Group has several yachts contracted for cruising during summer with more on the horizon.
In these challenging times when our Islands in the Pacific face a real threat from climate change, and indigenous people are feeling the negative impact from mega cruise-liners on their fragile communities, there is still reason to be optimistic in the yachting community.
There is a movement emerging from some of the philanthropic owners of super yachts who are striving to reduce their carbon footprints at sea and take on an eco-friendly stance towards their voyaging.
One exemplar of this trend is Project Rev (Research Expedition Vessel). This mega-yacht will be privately owned but it is designed to accommodate scientists on environmental research missions in partnership with WWF Norway. The vessel will be equipped with marine surveying equipment and apparatus for researching the ocean environment.
Many Yacht designers are embracing this trend for sustainability and are developing revolutionary options with new technology, such as hybrid power, the use of diesel-electric propulsion, more fuel efficiency and less emissions.
The use of solar panels to power the on-board systems and electric motors is also a popular design concept
It’s not only technology driving sustainability. Owners are demanding ethically sourced foods, requiring a deeper understanding of cultures and are wanting to know the origin and environmental status of materials that are used in either the yachts construction or décor.
The notion of farm gate to table has long been the story of New Zealand cuisine and is a key reason New Zealand is a leading source of provisioning for yachts in the Pacific.
Expedition yachting and eco-friendly charters are on the rise. They cross the oceans and visit new destinations with an awareness of our brittle environment, of their own carbon footprint and looking to engage in activities that have low impact on local communities.
They have an acute understanding of the need to preserve the integrity of cultural tourism. They do not want to be observers of a culture, rather, they want to be engaged by the local community, to understand their mores and, in so doing, they are helping them achieve sustainable development outcomes.
This can only be achieved if the superyacht guests engage guides from the local communities. This ensures that they don’t inadvertently cause offence through ignorance of local customs and behaviours. The experience that the client receives will be respectful, authentic, and memorable.
New Zealand Luxury Experiences provide on-board professionals to manage the interaction between guests and Māori or Pacific communities and this has proven to be a winner for all, enriching the experience for guest and hosts.
It is heartening to see that this sector of global tourism is taking its first steps in saving our planet for future generations.
Finally these words from Hawaiian Navigator Nainoa Thompson encapsulate the new initiatives to save our indigenous culture, our planet and promote sustainability. Nainoa sailed a traditional voyaging canoe around the world to focus attention on clean seas, conservation and climate change.
“The sail plan has to change, we have to draw a new map and that map has to be one of understanding, one of protection, one of conservation, one of peace, and one of non-conflict around the imperatives of protecting the earth,” Nainoa said.
The worldwide voyage was called Malama Honua which means, ‘care for our Island Earth’.
We have our own promise in Aotearoa. It is called Tiaki – Care for NZ.
John Panoho is Managing Director of New Zealand Luxury Experiences, a highly experienced professional guide in the super yacht sector. He observes, firsthand, the footprint of these mega-yachts visiting the South Pacific and New Zealand. His company is part of the Superyacht Support Group which includes Asia Pacific Superyachts owned by partner Duthie Lidgard