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E-Ko = Ethical Kaitiakitangi Organisation

What We Stand For:


  • We support the Tiaki Promise from Tourism New Zealand: TIAKI PROMISE
  • We operate as Kaitiakitangi (Guardians of the Sounds) for our local environment so we can all share in a sustainable future.
  • Enviro-Gold, Qualmark Award. The highest quality assurance in New Zealand.
  • We provide real passion for each tour with Staff who love what they do and why they do it:-). Our slogan " Adventures for your Soul " encompasses our objective. Each person departs with a deeper appreciation of our local environment and our positive sustainable kaitiakitangi goals locally and NZ wide.
  • This is to strengthen your OWN environmental connection so you have the energy to do the right thing environmentally for a sustainable future where ever you live. Our Amazing Wildlife Encounters and Stunning Scenery empower your Soul ( Mana), we touch your soul so you too will strive for a sustainable future for OUR Planet.




How Does Your Money Help Local Conservation?



  • Part of our tour cost goes back into local conservation.
  • Department of Conservation - $1  for each person we take to any of the 5 Predator free Sanctuary Islands.
  • We have supported Project NEST Egg for 10 years with FREE transport to the islands. This project is growing young ROWI kiwi on Motuara Island for 90 days to 1 year .
  • We are the FIRST World Cetacean Alliance National Co-ordinator, Training Center and Partner. $1 from each Dolphin and Whale tour goes back to support Mammal sustainability.
  • We support the Guardians of the Sounds (GOS) who actively pursue a Sustainable Future for the Marlborough Sounds. Environmental Education is a large focus for this local Kaitiakitangi Group and donations or new members are always sought.
  • To help local conservation: GOS SUPPORT



Ethical Tourism


  • We want to see tourism help our entire community so work with many local sustainable businesses to ensure you get the best. We are part of the local Sustainable Business Group focused on quality tourism.
  • We work closely with the Department of Conservation and have provided them with the oldest Marine Mammal Data set in New Zealand to help make sustainable decisions for the management of our Taonga. (treasured species )
  • We consult with local IWI and respect our historical connections.
  • All our wildlife interactions are based on respectful encounters.


Key Features of Every Tour


  • Cruise Calm Sheltered Water of Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Exclusive No Seasickness Guarantee
  • Experienced Captains with Fun and informative commentary
  • Personalised Small Fully Guided Group Tour (1-15 ratio)
  • Free Binoculars for use on the tour and Species ID Cards
  • Amazing photo opportunities so close you only need a phone.
  • 1000 Hectors of Predator free Island Sanctuary’s (kiwi residents )
  • Free High-Quality Wildlife Photo in Shop
  • Bottlenose, Dusky, Hectors Dolphins and Orca
  • Family Friendly Boats with Children Toys and education
  • Complimentary Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Biscuits
  • Complimentary Local Wine and Local Mussels on PM Tours
  • Travel with E-Ko and Support local Conservation efforts


What we can offer!


  • We offer small group numbers to ensure a quality experience for all customers.
  • High staff to customer ratio for excellent customer service. 1:15 maximum.
  • Extensive staff training with a focus on customer service, fantastic guides
  • All staff have a genuine passion for the environment and wildlife.
  • Very experienced captains who focus on quality customer experiences.
  • Custom tours possible to cater for any requirement locally.
  • Educational Tours for schools and universities.
  • Specialised Birding Charters for Individuals or Groups.
  • Small group options for cruise ships with special tours
  • Group and special interest charters or Land Tours, Air Options


What we do to help:


  • Sustainability is key
  • Water-efficient appliances (toilet, shower etc.)
  • Maintaining our New Zealand Tourism Enviro Gold standard
  • Boat hoses fitted with stoppers to conserve water
  • Water use awareness included in staff training
  • Support development of all Wildlife Island sanctuary
  • Sponsor Project Nest Egg
  • Close collaboration with the Department of Conservation
  • Host the 0800 WILDLIFE hotline for the public to report marine mammal sightings
  • Use recycled products e.g. toilet paper
  • Fundraise for other conservation organizations e.g. project Jonah
  • Educate the public on the Marine Mammal Protection act and WCA guidelines 
  • Offer large discounts to the local school and community groups
  • All staff qualified marine mammal medics
  • Sponsor PhD students and scientists
  • Energy-efficient office
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Encourage employees to walk or bike to work others carpool
  • Wetsuits hand washed in cold water
  • Recycle everything we can
  • Remove any plastics found in the ocean
  • Use reusable cups
  • Do not support or sell bottled water
  • Digital payments and receipt options to minimize paper
  • Eco-friendly merchandise e.g. reusable cups and shopping bags
  • Staff encouraged to do volunteer work for DOC
  • Support and donate resources to local conservation efforts


Dolphin and Whale Conservation Practices

  • E-Ko was the First SMART operator in New Zealand certified by the Department of Conservation.
  • E-Ko is the first World Cetacean Alliance Dolphin Swimming operation in New Zealand.
  • E-Ko is the first operator in NZ to voluntarily Reduce its interaction effort for Dolphin Conservation.
  • E-Ko has the oldest Dolphin Research Database in NZ ( over 20 years )
  • E-Ko Sponserd a 3 year Dolphin Research program to supply accurate data for Decisions for local Dolphin Conservation.
  • E-Ko Trains all off our Guides with DOC SMART regulations and WCA  Guidelines.
  • E-Ko uses practices that give Dolphins the choice to interact with swimmers or not.
  • E-Ko protects Dolphin feeding Habitat and Dolphin berthing and Nursery areas.
  • E-Ko minimises the pressure on Dolphins by moving between the 5 species available locally
  • E-Ko educates passengers and local community on Good Practice around Dolphins
  • E-Ko works closely with the local DOC for Dolphin and Whale Conservation

Our Mission.......
"To Save the Sounds For Future Generations"

E-ko is Oceania Representative for the World Cetacean Alliance

World Cetacean Alliance - Connected to 140 Organizations Worldwide

Through cooperation, the Partners of the World Cetacean Alliance aim to conserve and protect cetaceans and their habitats. By phasing out captivity and seeking to protect cetaceans in the world’s oceans, seas and rivers, we are a global community of people who care for cetaceans, study and respect them.

How we care for Local Marine Mammals ;

We operate our tours focused on the Dolphin or Whales health and well being. We are the only Dual certified Marine Mammal operator in New Zeland.

We were the First SMART Operator under the Department of Conservation and are also the First Dolphin Swimming operator in New Zeland to be World Cetacean Alliance certified as a Responsible Whale and Dolphin operator. This involves extensive training for Captains and Guides.

We also are the Oceania Regional representative for the World Cetaceena Alliance and now can offer their Training courses.

What we do ;

  1. E-ko uses special methods to swim with Dolphins, so they chose to come to see you.
  2. Special ladders that protect propellers so no mammals can reach them or humans.
  3. We move 300m ahead of animals so they have a choice to interact or not.
  4. We actively work with the regional and national bodies to push for protected areas.
  5. We work with stakeholders to protect Dolphin and Whales for a sustainable future.
  6. We reduce or effort on the animals with seasonal variations to reduce their stress.
  7. We actively promote WCA and Project Jonah.


Our Sustainable Business Group

New Zeland Way

At Yealands Family Wines, we are very proud to be the first winery in the world to be certified as carboNZeroCertTM from inception. We believe that sustainability has no endpoint; it is an on-going and evolving process of continual improvement.  Therefore, trialling new initiatives remains central to our philosophy.

For the people of SeaLord, sustainability is a journey.
We work hard to do the right thing and we always look for ways to do things better. We believe in meeting the needs of today, without damaging the needs of our Grandchildren's children.
Not only is it good for the environment, it is good for business!

E-Ko Sustainable Projects

   Totaras for Totaranui 

The project has a long-term goal of replanting native trees to the Marlborough Sounds. Our forefathers removed 1 million cubic feet of podocarps from the area now is the right time to replant the sounds for a sustainable future.

This is a practical project which will enable us to offer Environmental Education to our younger generation by involving them in the removal of pest species and restoration of the local native forest.

  Involve me and I understand

Tree Planting in Picton

Harry the Humpback

The Guardians of the Sounds has been approached by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s World Cetacean Alliance, the world’s largest marine conservation partnership and the global voice for whales, dolphins and porpoises, to set up a whale heritage site in Tory Channel. Harry is stage 1 on that development which is to be 5 years in the process putting Marlborough Sounds on the International Cetacean Map.

Development of the historical story and Perano Whale Station site is a Proposal being developed by Guardians of the Sounds . Parties involved at this stage include Picton Heritage and Whaling Museum, Marlborough District Council, Te Papa Museum, Destination Marlborough, Kiwi Rail, Department of Conservation, Tourism New Zealand, Cuddeons Engineering, ITM Picton, Altex Coatings, Human Dynamo of Wellington, the ex-whalers and the local community.