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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 advantage.

  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 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.

Read more on Dusky Dolphin Tagging Project

Dusky Dolphin Tagging Project

$12,900.00 | 06.03.15

Heidis Tagged Dolphin

$12,900.00 | 06.03.15

Dusky Dolphin Tagging Project

Heidi C Pearson

Assistance with Heidi Pearson's 4-6 week field season continuing her work with the tagging programme that she began last winter. Work on this stage will commence between 1 Dec 2015 and 10 January 2016. Meanwhile between now and then, work will concentrate on redesigning the tag with a new float design, a satellite transmitter, and a new video camera design. Heidi also has an application in with the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to test out the new tag on their captive Pacific white-sided dolphins this June.

Dusky Dolphin Tagging Project Update, 23 March 2016, From Heidi

We had a successful field season in Kaikoura this past summer (Dec-Jan 2015-16). The goal of the research was to attach a suction-cup tag with a video camera to dusky dolphins. In addition to the video camera, the tag also has a time depth recorder for measuring dive depth, and satellite and VHF transmitters for tracking the dolphin and recovering the tag.

We were lucky to have good weather, cooperative dolphins, and a stellar field team. We succeeded in tagging 11 dolphins, with a maximum tag attachment duration of 7.5 hours. All total, we obtained 9 hours of video footage, which we are currently analyzing. We are particularly excited about the intricate social interactions that we can observe with the video camera that are hidden from the surface.

This is the first time video cameras have been attached to dusky dolphins, and as far as we know, the first time a video camera has been attached to any dolphin. We plan to continue this work and are extremely grateful to the Encounter Foundation and the National Geographic Society/ Waitt Grants Program for financial support.