New Zealand Creates Pledge that Asks Tourists to Protect the Environment

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. set foot in (somewhere) / sɛt fʊt ɪn / (idiom) – to go to a certain place

    I liked the country the moment I set foot in it.

  2. look after (someone/something) / lʊk ˈæftɚ / (phrasal) – to protect or take care of someone or something

    The government looks after the country’s natural resources by implementing strict rules to preserve them.

  3. mind-set / ˈmaɪndˌsɛt / (n) – a person’s attitude toward something

    We need to change our mind-set and be more responsible when it comes to the environment.

  4. take (someone/something) seriously / teɪk ˈsirijəsli / (idiom) – to treat someone or something as important

    Environmentalists take recycling seriously.

  5. green / griːn / (adj) – concerned with or relating to the protection of the environment

    The community has an ongoing green campaign that involves tree planting and river cleanup.


Read the text below.

New Zealand’s new pledge encourages tourists to protect the country’s environment.

In New Zealand, visitors are informed about a pledge called the “Tiaki Promise” when they set foot in the country. This pledge urges tourists to look after the country’s environment and resources during their visit. Some of the promises included in the pledge are caring for the land, sea, and nature, and leaving no waste anywhere.

The word tiaki [tih-YAH-kee] means “to guard.” It is part of Māori [MAH-aw-ree], a language spoken by New Zealand’s indigenous people.

Tourism New Zealand, an organization that promotes the country’s tourism, launched the “Tiaki Promise” by producing a two-minute video. Tourists will be able to watch the video when flying via Air New Zealand. Details of the pledge are also indicated in the organization’s website.

According to Tourism New Zealand’s CEO, Stephen England-Hall, the “Tiaki Promise” does not intend to impose actions on tourists. Instead, it guides tourists in developing a certain mind-set when in New Zealand. England-Hall also emphasized that the initiative was created because the country takes environmental matters seriously.

New Zealand has consistently shown its dedication to the environment by doing well in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) over the years. EPI measures and ranks the environmental status of different countries in the world. This year, New Zealand ranked 17th out of 180 countries.

A 2017 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also looked at New Zealand’s environmental performance. OECD recognized New Zealand’s reputation as a green nation and wishes that the country can maintain this status.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, would an initiative like the “Tiaki Promise” work in your country? Why or why not?
• What do you think is the best way to promote an initiative like the “Tiaki Promise” (e.g. video, flyers, TV advertisement)? Explain.

Discussion B

• In what ways is tourism affecting your country’s environment? Discuss.
• If you were to make an environmental pledge for the tourists in your country, what would you include in it? Explain.