Orange is the New Green
At Stray we firmly believe in being environmentally sustainable and helping our planet become greener for future generations. In travelling, our aim is to leave the maximum positive impact on local communities whilst allowing the minimum possible negative impact on the environment.
One of our many green-schemes is Environmental Day, an annual event where the Stray team get out of the office and get hands on with a local volunteer project. We started Enviro Day in 2012 to celebrate our Qualmark Enviro Gold status and to increase awareness of our green policies amongst staff… as well as the obvious objective of doing something in favour of the environment. The day is organised by Stray’s resident Enviro Ambassador Eileen, aka Keys.
Keys was able to raise half of the expenses for this year’s Enviro Day through another of her environmental initiatives, recycling Stray’s old driver phones to developing countries. In the future we aim to make Enviro Day fully self-funded through sponsorship – watch this space!
Welcome to Tiritiri Matangi
This year we were whisked off to the island of Tiritiri Matangi. There was 11.5 of us – the 0.5 being Livia, Cat’s daughter.
If you are visiting or live in Auckland, you need to get out here. An easy 90 minute ferry journey takes you from the big smoke to one of New Zealand’s most exciting conservation projects, a small island of breath-taking beauty and preserved wildlife. Over the past 35 years the Department of Conservation has worked hard to turn what was farmed paddocks back into its original form, and a sanctuary for endangered birds and reptiles. This has included ridding the land of pests such as rats, mice and cats.
The island is an “open sanctuary”, allowing 150 ferry passengers to visit daily between Wednesday and Saturday.
Before arriving we had an idea of what we were going to do on the island, which included collecting rubbish off the beaches and track maintenance. However, as with all aspects of tourism, a little flexibility is required and when we got there they first split us into 2 small groups to get up close and personal with the wildlife. The bird calls were amazing and we literally had birds flitting all around us from the gigantic kereru (wood pigeon) to the tiny rifleman.
“A personal highlight for me was to hear the haunting song of the kokako, said to be the most beautiful birdsong in the world. Another high point was to observe the whitehead or Mohoua which is endemic to the North Island. I had only become aware of the existence of this species a mere 2 weeks earlier when observing the picture on the back of our $100 bill.”
— Keys, Enviro Ambassador for Team Orange
The birds were putting on such a great show that our tour was extended and we were reluctant to drag ourselves away for lunch. All good Stray outings are notably marked by the culinary delights so Keys had organised a picnic lunch and we had perfect weather to enjoy it by the lighthouse.
There was also time to browse in the gift shop – all profits go back into funding the island and many of us bought educational souvenirs.
Then it was time to pitch in with some volunteer work. Twinkles and Keys represented the drivers (and the Waikato) and were asked to dig some post holes for a retaining wall they were building to facilitate the cleaning and maintenance of machinery. The rest of the office crew took part in some track clearing. All tools, gloves etc were provided by the ranger and his crew so we just had to supply the service with a smile!
By this point, the heat was getting a bit much for Twinkles, so he cooled off in the ocean! We all strolled back to the ferry for our return journey.
We would thoroughly recommend Tiri as the perfect day out for any wildlife or outdoor enthusiast, or simply if you are looking to escape the city for a day and experience something beautiful.