E-Ko = Endangered Species Konservation Organisation
Our Vision and Mission
To increase our local Endangered Species numbers by practising Regenerative Sustainable Tourism and Kaitaikitanga (environmental guardianship).
Our Water cycle means we have to regenerate our forests in a long-term cycle (1000 years ) and in the short term( 25 years ) focus on our hectors dolphins and king Shags 🙂
In Tōtaranui and the wider Marlborough Sounds the mauri and wairua are suffering and the Marlborough Sounds are widely perceived as ‘hurting’. E-ko's Vision is to Heal that Hurt with the help of responsible Tourists who want to Give back and help our local environment.
To achieve our Vision, we provide world-class wildlife adventures in the Marlborough Sounds and Give back to projects that enhance the well-being (mauri) of our Endangered Species.
Our Vision is guided by Kaitiakitanga / Guardianship principles, processes, and practices of looking after the environment and recognises the importance of our native momo taonga / treasured species like the Hector’s Dolphin / Tūpoupou and King Shag / Kawau a toru. Both of these species are endangered and if we do nothing, they will inevitably become extinct. They need our help and we have a restoration plan to actively protect them and restore and enhance the environment. By taking a E-Ko tour you become part of this process and give back to local Endangered species.
E-Ko has obtained the highest Environmental certification endorsements nationally and internationally and focuses on high-quality service employing only passionate World Cetacean Alliance Qualified Marine Guides. Martine NZ, Qualmark NZ, the Department of Conservation all ensure quality assurance. Our NEW qualification with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council ensures we align under UNESCO policy for Regenerative Tourism.
For 15 years, the E-Ko Conservation Fund has supported Restorative local Taonga-focused projects, and we have increased the number of our Endangered Species here.
E-Ko involvement in local conservation projects assures our clients that they invest in real Sustainable Regenerative Tourism practices.
Now we have partnered with the WCA and GSTC to achieve our shared goals 🙂
"A WORLD WHERE MAMMALS ARE FREE, THE OCEAN THRIVES, AND OUR COMMUNITY CARES"
The E-Ko Team
Our WCA Certified Marine Guides:
Our Marine Guides are part of the E-Ko Family and choose to work with us as they care about our wildlife and environment. They completed the WCA Certified Marine Guide qualifications to make a difference and educate people.
Courtaney - Level 3 Certified Senior Marine Guide
Shane - Level 3 Certified Senior Marine Guide
Nikki - Level 2 Certified Marine Guide
Our Experienced Skippers:
Paul - Owner & Skipper
Andy - Skipper
Wildlife Correct = WC , We are NOT Politically Correct or PC
NEW staff; They Respond to all REVIEWS : KING SHAG and Hector
We are so busy doing great tours we do not have the time to respond so we employed the BEST locals we could find, they are older so please understand that they can be very blunt, 🙂 and may not agree with you or may decide to put across their point of view.
Here at E-Ko we are Wildlife Correct not Politically Correct so its time to hear what they have to say , hahah.
King Shag is the Boss and his sidekick is Hector the Dolphin, they are our guides in our AIM to apply ethics to tourism, for us at E-Ko we want to HELP the Wildlife locally, King Shag and Hector's family health as they are New Zealand Taonga Species and both Critically Endangered. Their point of view and welfare takes precedence over Human Needs or Desires, Our NEW reviewer Responders take this very seriously and with a different perspective for Humans as to WHAT REALLY matters for Tourism the E-ko Way.
They are the most knowledgeable about the wildlife locally, both locally born and from families that go back thousands of years. Both need our HELP now to survive.
They have watched humans arrive here locally and have been observing them for all that time so we fell it only far that we allow the animals to speak on our behalf, they will be quite Frank in their response to Reviews and will listen to genuine Feedback on our service and really want the Humans to have the BEST Tourism Experience possible, to tell the world about their Critical ENdangeered Stattis and HELP Save then and their Families.
You have come to see them, Critically Endangered Dolphins and Birds with our E-Ko service, to get up close to them and get some images, so let's hear their point of view and support them as they support us and pose really well. Locally they only stay still for E-Ko as they know that only caring people travel with them so they reward them by posing for fantastic images with just a cell phone.
All reviews on Wildlife Tours will be replied to by King Shag ( only 700 in the world ) or if he is busy out getting food then his sidekick Hector will reply (one of the 30 only QCS Hectors Dolphins left ). They are both often gathering food to survive so please be patient and await what is usually a quite enlightening response from our Taonga local friends 🙂
The E-Ko Difference - What we deliver to you
- Cruise calm sheltered waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound with picturesque scenery
- We are 'Wildlife Correct' not 'Politically Correct' and our focus is on the welfare of all animals and the local environment. If you support E-Ko, you support local environmental health and sustainability.
- Best Customer Service in New Zealand, with a maximum Ratio of 15 customers to 1 Staff member
- Custom designed boats get you close to the wildlife to take quality photos with just your cell phone
- Complimentary tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits
- Local award winning free wine samples on our afternoon tours
- Entertain your children with toys, books and drawing boards
- Cruise ship guarantee - we will make sure you get back to your ship on time with no expense spared
- You cannot book our tours on board your ship but we can offer experiences for 60-75% less if you book direct with E-Ko. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and want to give cruise ship passengers the best value for money.
- No Seasickness Guarantee on all of our Tours. 100% money back guarantee
- Best value in New Zealand as we can access MORE Wildlife than any other operator in NZ
- A portion of all ticket sales is given back to local and international conservation
- We supply free to use auto-focus binoculars on board to enhance your interactive experience
- Up to date commentary from our fully qualified WCA certified Marine Guides (MGT)
- Species identification cards on board and downloadable for free
- Free wildlife images downloadable from our website
- Custom built briefing area with 1:1 scale wildlife replicas to inspire you - take selfies! 🙂
Written by the founder of E-Ko Tours, Paul Keating
At the age of 10, I was introduced to The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure by Jacque Cousteau written in 1953. Jacque was my inspiration and a role model figure growing up and influenced my life greatly.
I grew up in a multi-cultural community surrounded by Native Bush and based close to Rivendell in Kaitoke. The only water source I knew was fresh water from the mountains.
My first memory of the ocean was at 16 years old. With $20 in my pocket, I set sail on the ferry from the North Island to the South. When it reached the entrance of the Tory Channel, I looked around for the first time at the Queen Charlotte Sound and it was then and there that I decided this is where I wanted to be.
"WE FORGET THAT THE WATER CYCLE AND THE LIFE CYCLE ARE ONE. "
After living under a tree for a week and securing a job on land, I realised that my skills and passion would be better suited in the water. I started my ocean career and spent 300 days at sea in my first year between New Zealand and Antarctica. This is where Tangaroa came into my life.
My Irish Catholic upbringing installed in me values that I still live by today. I was given a whale bone Tangaroa by one of my Polynesian mentors on-board the deep-sea vessel I was working on. On that particular journey, luck was not on our side. I combined my beliefs and Polynesian culture to ask Tangaroa to give us luck.
It worked – our luck changed and all the crew asked me – ‘what did you ask for?’ I requested a good life at sea, and in return I would pay the ocean back. Now it’s payback time.
Tangaroa required the debt to be paid and my focus for the last 12 years and going forward will be to ensure the local critically endangered Hector’s Dolphin species survives and thrives in this local environment.
The water cycle has ruled my life and it has been depicted in the E-Ko logo. It is the Water cycle between the land and the sea locally. Totara Trees need to be planted to keep the sea healthy and in turn HELP protect the critically endangered Hectors Dolphin.