Investing in the future - Air Chathams

Investing in the future

At Air Chathams we’re passionate about our environment, and we know that reaching sustainability is going to be a marathon not a sprint. So we’re making sure we’re in it for the long haul and focussing first on our own backyard and spiritual home – the Chatham Islands.

TO GET US WHERE WE NEED TO BE we recently completed our Sustainability Strategy, to help our entire organisational family make us as environmentally friendly as possible. The Strategy also helped identify that we are committed to collaborating with local community organisations, embracing a community-centric, eco-friendly approach in all our operations.


With this grass-roots focus firmly in place we set about meticulously choosing organisations on the Chatham Islands that align with our vision and ensure the best possible outcomes for the environment and our people.

One of our first initiatives was the introduction of an additional flight prize in the Big 4 Pest Category at the Norman Kirk Memorial Reserve pig hunting competition and the donation of pest control traps. The Norman Kirk Memorial Reserve and the Den offer venue hire, catering, sports complex, Densdays and is the main organiser of the pig hunting competition, and it’s been great to be working with them on this initiative.


PEST CONTROL IS VITALLY IMPORTANT and promoting it as something the community can get behind was met with enthusiastic responses from both the competition participants and the Chatham Islands community, and the new, innovative category opens the doors for a broader demographic to engage in. Previously, many children and members of the fairer sex relied on the males in their lives to partake in pig hunting, requiring dogs, firearms, and more. In contrast, participating in the pest-catching category is remarkably accessible, involvingthe simple task of setting traps, which kids and women can easily do on their own property. This inclusive approach encourages greater community involvement, and our contribution of return flights as a prize certainly amplified the category’s appeal, leading to the capture of a remarkable number of pests.

This is a great example of an initiative that not only aligns with our community-centric approach but also contributes significantly to our environmental sustainability goals, underlining Air Chatham’s commitment to making a positive difference in the Chatham Islands.


"Pest control is vitally important and promoting it as something the community can get behind was met with enthusiastic responses"

A further pest control initiative has been our cooperative efforts with the Pest Free Token project, which was launched in April 2022 with the sole purpose of helping New Zealand reach its 2050 predator free targets. 100% of the project’s profit goes to pest eradication, and the team take no wages to make sure the project can have a much greater impact. The Pest Free Token project has worked with Bunnings to sponsor 100 free pest traps to the Chatham Island Restoration Trust, and Air Chathams are sponsoring the freight and passenger flights for a Token project staff member to assist the Trust with distributing and setting the pest traps.


But in addition to eradicating pests, Air Chathams also wants to help undo the damage these pesky little critters have done. To support this we purchased over 800 native Chatham Island trees from the KMP Nursery, which will be planted in the new year planting season to help in the restoration reserves on the Island. A small family-owned native plant nursery, KMP is nestled in the heart of Wharekauri Station. Managed and operated by Marion and Paul Smith, with over 30 years of experience and knowledge, the nursery focuses and specialises in the propagation and production of Chatham Island native trees and plants.

It takes a village they say, and Air Chathams is honoured to be working with so many local groups.

“Air Chathams has always been a great support to our Pig Hunting Competition,” says Norman Kirk Memorial Reserve Manager Sheree Gay. “This year however they have gone above and beyond, donating not one but two airfares, rat traps, t-shirt apparel, and their own designed craft beer. Their efforts around conservation have fuelled this year’s new pest category, and I really feel that the sponsorship and support provided by Air Chathams, and the Chatham Island Landscape Restoration Trust helped with the increase in ticket sales and the hype around the community bringing awareness to our pest problem. Because of the fantastic response to the new category, we will continue this great initiative. Thanks, Air Chathams!”


And thank you Sheree and all our sustainability partners for joining us on our sustainability journey – here’s to the future!