Owen River Fishing Lodge claims world-first carbon positive status


Along with some of the best fly fishing in the world, New Zealand now has a world-first carbon positive fishing lodge.

Fishing at Owen River Lodge
Success is counted in varied ways at New Zealand’s Owen River Fishing Lodge.

For one thing, there’s nothing quite like the grin on the face of a happy fisherman with his or her catch. Then again, there are the tourism industry awards that regularly come Owen River’s way, and now the recognition which comes with a carbon-positive label.   

Owen River – a small, luxury South Island fishing lodge near Nelson – has achieved carbon positive status through the combination of their own sustainability practices and partnership with a tree-planting conservation project. 

To get there, the lodge has been through a process that involved measuring its carbon footprint, instituting measures to help lower the footprint, and offsetting the footprint with certified carbon credits to qualify for climate positive business certification issued by the Ekos carbon trading social enterprise. 

The locally sourced certified carbon credits are generated by the nearby Kānuka Uruwhenua Native Regeneration Project in Golden Bay, a 76-hectare naturally regenerating indigenous forest that sequesters 896 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. 

Owen River owner Felix Borenstein says the positive result is because “we’re financing the drawdown of 20 percent more carbon than we release—which is basically what trees do.”

“We’re continuing to do everything we can to preserve our environment and support wider conservation initiatives. We’re not adding to the planet’s problems. It also means we can back up every claim we make around sustainability with independent accreditation.”

Earlier this year, Owen River Lodge was one of 12 tourism products recognised with the prestigious Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Award – an industry-led award which identifies the highest quality tourism products in the market, those offering world class experiences which apply best practice in terms of sustainability by looking after the people and the land.

ABOUT Owen River Lodge, Murchison

Owen River Lodge is a boutique, luxury fishing lodge, located near Murchison – at the top of the South Island, and a 90-minute scenic drive from Nelson. 

It is within easy access of three distinctly different fishing regions: Nelson/Marlborough, West Coast and North Canterbury. Murchison is one the world’s best brown trout fishing locations. From Owen River Lodge, guests can fish 29 rivers and streams, most within a 90-minute drive of the lodge, with another series of wilderness streams that are reached by helicopter or water taxi.

Owen River practises 'catch-and-release' fishing but, just for the record, while wild brown trout around Murchison average between 3 to 4lbs, many lucky guests will land “a 5 or 6-pounder”, according to Felix.

The fishing lodge is renowned for its stylish accommodation, friendly and unpretentious service, and fine dining. It is surrounded by 6.5 hectares of lovely gardens and farmland, including two large organic vegetable gardens, where they grow much of the produce used. Facilities include a dedicated therapy room and a jacuzzi, and a range of top fishing gear is available.  

Whilst Owen River Lodge is a specialist fly fishing lodge, there are plenty of non-fishing activities to do around the lodge, the local area and the greater Nelson / Marlborough region. 

More about Owen River Fishing Lodge

ABOUT: Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards

The Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards identify the highest quality tourism products in the market, those offering world class experiences which apply best practice in terms of sustainability by looking after the people and the land.

Applicants must tell the story of how their unique combination of landscapes, people and activities cannot be found anywhere else in the world – that it is a "100% Pure New Zealand" experience. Operators must also show how they are embracing the industry’s core values:
  • Manaakitanga - showing aroha to your people and community
  • Tiaki – their duty of care for people and place, a commitment to the enhancement of their operating environment
  • Whānau – maintaining connections, commitments and caring for your own people
The judging panel included representatives from Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand.

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