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Encounter Foundation

Our vision is to invest in and support the future wellbeing and sustainability of the local terrestrial and marine environment, for present and future generations, through tourism.

In 2009 Encounter Kaikoura formed a charitable trust and named it the Encounter Foundation.

The objective of the Foundation is to support or initiate projects that primarily enhance the natural environment, both locally and further afield. The funds are accumulated by gifting a percentage of each of our customers fare to the trust and since its inception a total in excess of $270,000 has been donated to a range of projects and programmes.

Thanks to all our customers for making this possible and indirectly helping us to achieve this valuable contribution to the future sustainability of our precious natural environment.

You can make a donation or ask for further information by either emailing us directly on or by using the online form here.

Mission Statement

The Encounter Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to working toward supporting and/or initiating deserving projects deemed appropriate by the Trustees.

Purpose and Aims

The purposes and aims of the Foundation are to devote or apply both capital and income of the Trust Fund to or for any charitable purposes which are from time to time selected by the Trustees and are valid charitable purposes. Without limiting this in any way, such purposes may also include the following.

  1. Initiating and supporting projects which have the purpose of enhancing, preserving or restoring the natural environment
  2. Supporting other charitable organisations and agencies in activities such as tree planting, beautification projects and other such worthy causes for the benefit of the local community
  3. Supporting initiatives, such as pest control, which encourage restoration of native flora and fauna
  4. Maintaining and building walkways and tracks
  5. Supporting restoration work around lakes and waterways
  6. Supporting other charitable organisations and agencies in activities and projects related to the marine environment.
Caring for Our Natural Environment

Caring for Our Natural Environment

We are privileged to have the abundance of marine life here in Kaikoura and we don’t take this for granted. In 2009 we established the Encounter Foundation specifically to support organizations and groups that are actively working on projects that result in improving the health of the natural environment through conservation, education and research.

We donate a portion of each customer fare to the Encounter Foundation to support worthy projects which make an impact on ensuring our environment is preserved and treasured for future generations.

Thank you for enabling us to do this – your support of our business is making a difference in a very positive way.

Read more on Kaikoura Cycle Club

Kaikoura Cycle Club

$12,000.00 | 22.04.20

Club members ready to begin the Kaiterau Trail

$12,000.00 | 22.04.20

Kaikoura Cycle Club

The Encounter Foundation is proud to have contributed toward one of the latest exciting projects for Kaikoura. The Kaikoura Cycle Club will begin building a 4.5km tail on Mt Fyffe, the mountain that overlooks the Kaikoura township. One of the central aims of the trail, which will be known as the Kaiterau Trail, is to provide a downhill gravity trail that would encourage young people to participate in mountain biking. Currently there is not a downhill trail in Kaikoura and youth participation is very small. An uphill and downhill trail should be popular with Kaikoura residents and add another attraction for visitors. The trail is designed so that it is suitable for most riders. The downhill trail is planned for around 3.5 kms suitable for intermediate riders with some more difficult sections running parallel to the main trail. A fantastic opportunity for Kaikoura provided by a dedicated group of volunteers, follow progress on social media: @kaikouracycleclub 




Read more on Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute

Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute

$20,000.00 | 15.11.19

Jody Hectors

$20,000.00 | 15.11.19

Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute

The Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute Inc. (KORI) is a network of marine researchers and educators. In June 2012 it became a registered non-profit incorporation in New Zealand and in June 2015 became a Registered Charity with New Zealand Charities Services. With funding from the Encounter Foundation, the Department of Conservation (DOC), the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and many volunteer hours, KORI has initiated and conducted a monitoring programme for Hector’s dolphins off Kaikoura since 2013. With systematic boat-based surveys conducted between Hapuku River mouth and Haumuri Bluffs, in coordination with photo-identification of marked individuals, the surveys have revealed many insights into abundance, health, distribution and individual movement patterns within the local area. This successful application to the Encounter Foundation will enable a continuation of the Kaikoura Hector’s Dolphin Project throughout the 2019/2020 season. This consists of 24 boat based surveys, stipend support for a Masters student project examining patterns of dolphin distribution relative to turbidity (Jan-May 2020), stipend support for an Intern to assist with all aspects of the project (Jan-May 2020), a completely updated catalogue of recognizable individuals including most recent photos from both KORI surveys and Encounter Kaikoura and a continuation of trials for a more effective method for collecting breath samples and assessing the health of the dolphins through these samples (includes sample collection and analysis at Massey University).

Read more on Southern Seabird Solutions - Albatross Tracker
Tracker on Antipodean Albatross

$6900.00 | 17.09.19

Southern Seabird Solutions - Albatross Tracker

The Antipodean albatross are in serious trouble with their population dropping by two thirds in the last 12 years. They are now critically endangered due to climatic and oceanographic changes making the birds having to forage further north and overlapping with the tuna fleet out of New Zealand's EEZ. The purpose of the trackers is to determine this interaction so efforts can be made to educate and put pressure on the fishing vessels and their home countries to try and mitigate against the albatross being caught on hooks from the fishing lines.

Read more on Forest and Bird

Forest and Bird

$5859.00 | 16.04.19


$5859.00 | 16.04.19

Forest and Bird

The project is to equip 3-4 New Zealand surface longline fishing vessels with a 50% set of Hookpods. The total cost of the project in NZ dollars is $26,418.00. The Hookpod is a new mitigation device which prevents the accidental by-catch of seabirds on hooks on longlines.

Read more on Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute
Breath Sampling Hector's Dolphins

$6000.00 | 28.09.17

Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute

 In December 2016, an adult female Hector’s dolphin was found dead on the beach near Harnett’s Creek, Kaikoura. The necropsy and further histology, conducted by Dr Wendi Roe at Massey University confirmed that this dolphin had tuberculosis. Jody Weir of Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute proposes a pilot study to determine the feasibility of detecting disease in our Hector's dolphins by collecting blow samples from individuals off our coast and sending them to the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University for analysis.

Read more on Recovery of South Georgian Diving Petrel
Diving Petrel

$6000.00 | 08.08.17

Recovery of South Georgian Diving Petrel

Application by Johannes Fischer, School of Biological Sciences for $6000.00 to go toward research to facilitate the recovery of the South Georgian diving petrel.

Read more on Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute
Jody Weir photographer

$6,150 | 03.11.16

Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute

K.O.R.I have been conducting a focused study of the Hector's dolphin abundance and distribution at Kaikoura since 2013. Much of the boat based data collection and subsequent analysis has been made possible through funding applications to the Encounter Foundation.

The project was to conduct a further 12 boat based surveys in late 2016 and early 2017. The total cost of the project is $23,590.00

Read more on Kaikoura Salmon Enhancement Trust
Releasing Salmon

$2,000 | 12.05.16

Kaikoura Salmon Enhancement Trust

Supporting the Salmon Enhancement Society in the third phase of their project in realeasing a further 8,000 Chinook salmon smolt into the head of Lyell Creek above the Kaikoura township. The smolt have been purchsed from Fish and Game and again the main aims of the project are to enhance recreational salmon fishing opportunities in Kaikoura, promote sustainable fishing practices and to monitor and provide educational opportunities within the community.

Read more on Kaikoura Forest and Bird Inc

Kaikoura Forest and Bird Inc

$10,000 | 07.03.16

Volunteer Removing Wilding Pines Mt Fyffe

$10,000 | 07.03.16

Kaikoura Forest and Bird Inc

Funding toward the eradication of wilding pines on Mt Fyffe.

This project involves removing and eradicating mountain pine (pinus mugo) and green alder (Alnus viridis) from the western slopes of Mt Fyffe, which run down to the Kowhai River. Further patches around the hut and towards the top of Mt Fyffe will also be eradicated.

In the 1970’s the Forest Service planted mountain pine (Pinus mugo) and green alder (Alnus viridis) to try and stem the severe erosion in areas due to a long history of grazing, burning or logging, which had depleted the original vegetation and exposed the thin unstable soils. Since grazing has stopped, vegetation has regenerated, but the wilding pines and alders have spread from the original planted sites and threaten surrounding area

The preferred method of control is herbicide injection, this is done by drilling holes in the tree with petrol powered drill and filling the holes with chemical. The tree absorbs the chemical and dies whilst standing, over time it will break down. The chemical used is glysophate, using this method there is no risk of by-kill and the chemical is not absorbed by the ground at all. This method is not dangerous for invertebrates.

Read more on WhaleFest 2015

WhaleFest 2015

$8,350 | 25.02.16

Whale Fest Plastics Poster

$8,350 | 25.02.16

WhaleFest 2015

WhaleFest 2015 was held on the 13th - 15th November at the Kaikoura Memorial Centre. The theme was "Keeping Our Oceans Free of Plastc"

Organiser, Barbara Todd, said the focus this year was on the impact of plastics in the environment, particularly in our oceans.

Local schools were fully involved with each school looking at specific problems created by plastic and completing projects which were displayed at the venue.

A number of speakers participated, including whale scientists, DoC, and Project Jonah.