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Leave No Trace New Zealand

Our Environmental Movement


The Leave No Trace movement comprises a diverse and passionate group of people from all corners of the New Zealand outdoors community coming together under the umbrella of a charitable trust. In joining the movement, trust members have recognised that New Zealand is not immune to the issues facing other countries which have developed Leave No Trace. We have a sharply increasing population, rising tourist numbers and increasing pressures on our natural environments. Two high profile recent examples include the kauri dieback disease threatening our northern forests and the didymo invasion of our southern rivers. Leave No Trace New Zealand is an environmental movement focused on reaching out to our wider community and visitors to promote and inspire responsible travel and recreation.


As a group of New Zealanders we have chosen Leave No Trace as a movement. We believe, with adaptation to specific environments and cultures, it is a movement with universal application, and the more universal it becomes the more successful it will be. Leave No Trace is not an outdoor code, it is an educational programme emphasising personal decision making and skill development designed to encourage an ethic of minimum impact recreation and travel. Leave No Trace has also been proven to spread quickly. The tiered education programme and easy to run practical and fun activities encourages learning through club, communities and more formal training sessions. Through our educational programme Leave No Trace New Zealand has ambitious and measurable goals to spread the Leave No Trace movement.


The other side of Leave No Trace is our simple and effective branding, which is recognised internationally. Many of New Zealands most threatened environments, are our most special places. Those places that we and our international visitors congregate and threaten to love to death. Popular beaches, campsites, walking tracks and mountain bike trails. A movement and a message that transcends cultural boundaries gives us a new tool to manage visitor impacts.


International experience has also shown the Leave No Trace movements ability to move 'beyond the converted'. We need to keep reaching out to sectors of our community with less environmental awareness. A focused, cost effective, easily replicable and engaging movement, Leave No Trace can keep on reaching out.


What we are doing now


Leave No Trace New Zealand is surging forward. Still close to the start, but far enough along the path that we can see some outcomes starting to appear. We are networking and negotiating with key partners, opening channels to communicate with the media and public and adapting our educational resources to the New Zealand environment. We have published a Skills and Ethics pocket guide, ran New Zealand's first Master Educator Course in October 2009, since then we have reached hundreds of New Zealanders and international travellers and we have plans to reach many more. Keep in touch with our day to day progress on our blog!


Fundamental for our future will be signing Memorandums of Understanding with more key organisations in the outdoors sector, as we have already done with the Department of Conservation, Parks Forum, Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and the Mountain Safety Council, and connecting with the wider New Zealand outdoors and tourism commuities.  We are developing resources to support our education programmes and help others who want to spread the message.


It is an exciting time to be involved with Leave No Trace New Zealand and we are always searching for more support, whether you are an outdoor educator, involved in an outdoors organisation, or just someone who wants to assist the Leave No Trace movement in some way please get in touch through admin@leavenotrace.org.nz