The Nightsky Cottage Experience was specifically developed to take guests on an end-to-end Zero-waste and sustainability journey whilst enjoying total luxury in a unique, 100% New Zealand native bush environment.
For our efforts we have been awarded the Qualmark Environmental Gold Award and has seen us being a winner in the Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience 2021 Awards.
“It is therefore that in everything we do and every action we take we first and foremost ask what effect it might have on our environment and how it can be achieved in a way that cares for our Maunga, supports our whanau, our community and the environment.
We then inspire and share with our guests, whanau, and community that while the Zero Waste environment we created assists in the protection of our Maunga, it has been achieved without compromising on luxury and guest experience.”
What is “zero waste”?
When an individual, company, or organisation chooses to go “zero waste,” that means
- They are living and working without generating any waste.
- All recyclable materials are recycled,
- All organic materials are composted and
- Items that cannot be recycled or composted are avoided and substituted with waste-free alternatives.
Recycling and composting are easily established but whenever we personally are staying in commercial accommodation, we always identify items that are offered to their guests but are not recyclable or compostable.
This was our goal, to offer zero waste amenities and toiletries while still maintaining a 5 star experience.
Zero Waste products in the cottage
The following products are provided and are zero waste. Most products are sourced from small NZ businesses who also believe in the zero waste philosophy which is also reflected in the materials they use and how their products are shipped. Where possible products are sourced locally.
- Soaps and shampoo bars
- Bath bombs
- Bath Salts and bath oils
- 100% cotton towels, dish cloths
- Wooden dish brush and toilet brush
- All breakfast provisions including coffee and tea supplies
- All pantry provisions
- Toilet paper , paper toweling, tissues
- Eco friendly, natural cleaning products
- All kitchen crockery is glass, ceramic or stainless steel
Other sustainable practices at the Nightsky Cottage
- Electricity is supplied by Ecotricity, New Zealand's only provider of 100% Renewable and carboNZero Certified electricity that is sourced from wind, hydro and solar. It is estimated to save us approx. 495kh of CO2 each year by being with this electrical company.
- All the lights are LED except 5 light bulbs which are low energy bulbs to help create a lovely atmosphere.
- Exterior sensor lights are used along the boardwalk to provide easy access to the cottage at night time and they also provide an amazing illumination of the surrounding bush and 100 year old NZ Beech tree stand.
- Solar light is used outside the bathroom to create ambiance at night to light up the manuka bush while you are relaxing in the bath
- The panel heaters in the cottage have an inbuilt thermostat that automatically controls the desired room temperature with 70% convection and 30% radiant heat delivery.
- The cottage has a clean air burning fireplace. Majority of the wood burned is from broken branches around the cottage. This is collected and chopped up into firewood. Once the fire is made the electric heaters will power down. The woodfire easily heats the entire cottage.
- Water is heated by energy efficient gas califont for instant hot water
- The cottage has double glazing and is fully insulated to cope with the alpine weather conditions.
- The highest energy star rated appliances, available at that time were bought.
Caring for the environment
- The cottage is set in a hectare of native NZ bush, bordering Tongariro National Park, mainly manuka and some beautiful ancient NZ Beech trees. The vegetation is protected by the environment court and only 2000 square metres were allowed to be felled for building purposes. However we found a beautiful clearing in the bush and the cottage was designed to fit into that space. Only a minimal number of Manuka needed to be cut down for the cottage building platform and boardwalk access.
- No heavy machinery was used for any of the building work. A shuffle and hard work created the holes for the foundation piles, plumbing and irrigation fields for the eco sewage system. All building materials were carried in by hand across the board walk.
- The boardwalk was created to provide access to the cottage and is crossing a small babbling mountain stream. The boardwalk protects the delicate forest floor from heavy foot traffic. It also makes the cottage 100% private to add to the guest experience.
- Only native New Zealand plants, that thrive in the alpine conditions are planted around the car parking area. The rest of the section will be left to regenerate to reduce our carbon emmissions. Majority of the plants are seedlings or mature plants taken from the gardens at our other property, Tongariro Suites.
- To protect the kiwi and other native birds several Good Nature traps are setting for trapping mice, rats and possums.
- Guests are given an introduction about the environmental philosophy behind the creation of the Nightsky Cottage and are urged not too feed the native birds in order to protect their habitat and to keep other invasive bird species at bay.
- Guests are encouraged to seperate their rubbish in the landfill, recycling and compost bins. Only small bins for landfill are provided so guests purposely need to consider how they dispose of their rubbish. All rubbish is taken offsite and seperated to recycle or repurpose as much as we can.
- The administrative/accounting aspects of the business are paperless (unless it is beyond our control). All guest transactions like reservations and payments are processed online and guests are emailed confirmations and receipts if required.
We are lucky that we have sufficient rain throughout the year, not having to worry about any water shortages.
- The cottage has 30000 liter water tank. Despite this guests are encouraged to conserve water where possible.
- Toilet has a dual flush for water conservation.
- All water is processed by the bio cycle eco sewage system and the grey water is articulated back into the forest floor.
- Guests are advised that water is safe to drink and are encourage to refill their reusable water bottles
We are located in a very small community with approximately 70 residents , so we support the wider community and source NZ made products where possible.
- Support many small NZ companies who are true to providing Zero Waste products.
- We support the local Horopito Community Hall as treasurer and participate in fundraising and volunteering events to raise funds for the upkeep of the historic hall.. We also take financial responsibility for the fire extinghuishers and the annual safety check.
- Any linen, bedding, toweling that is no longer in pristine condition, we donate to the community by advertising on local community pages.
- We know all hospitality businesses in Ohakune and make recommendations to our guests that suits their taste.
- Purchase local goods and produce where possible to reduce transport emissions. Our honey and coffee for example are delivered to the door by the owners of the business when they are on a delivery run.
- Donate to KiwisforKiwi in support of NZ national bird. You will hear the kiwi calling at night in the cottage.
- A community herb garden is being established and maintained by us for use by Horopito community.
- We support the Kidney Kids NZ by recycling all wine bottle tops and empty aluminum cans .These items are collected by the local Lions Club, sold for scrap metal and funds are donated to Kidney Kids.
- All guests are provided with local information to encourage them to support local tourism and hospitality operators.
- All guests are advised of adverse weather conditions to ensure they stay safe on and around Mt Ruapehu and Tongariro National Park
- Contributions are made to the community pantry in Raetihi. We donate any left over -non perishable food, excess homegrown vegetables and herbs and we turn left over bread into breadcrumbs for the pantry as well.
- The Nightsky Cottage and the surrounding properties in the subdivision border the Tongariro National Park which means that deer freely wonder through the area. In order to protect the deer from unauthorized hunting we have put up signs in the public areas advising that hunting is prohibited.
- Offering a special 20% discount to Senior Gold Card holders and provide a special discount and gift to repeat guests.