The name ‘Kaikoura’ is Maori for ‘To eat crayfish’ (‘kai’ – to eat, ‘koura’ – crayfish) and the crayfish industry remains a major contributor to the region’s economy. With unparalleled marine variety and spectacular landscapes, Kaikoura is quickly becoming one of the world’s premier eco-marine tourism destinations.
Kaikoura owes its origin to the rich and diverse marine life inhabiting the nearby waters. Numerous species of whales can be seen offshore along with pods of dusky dolphins, creating an ecosystem New Zealand Geographic calls, “a maritime Serengeti” and “a Seaworld without Walls”. Colonies of fur seals pepper the shoreline, and open ocean seabirds, including five different species of Albatross and the endangered Hutton's Shearwater, fill the skies.
Used as a base for hunting and fishing, the Kaikoura Peninsula has been inhabited by Maori for the better part of 1000 years. Today that historical significance provides the setting for one of the South Island’s best Maori cultural tours.
With less than 4,000 people, the Kaikoura township is home to an eclectic population of fisherman, farmers, artists and craftspeople.
We salute Kaikoura’s leadership role in protecting our community’s greatest asset – the environment. Kaikoura had become the first community in New Zealand and the second in the world to achieve Green Globe Benchmark status, the world’s only global tourism environmental certification. We are proud to add our own eco initiatives to Kaikoura’s regional commitment.
The stunning scenery, booming eco-marine tourist industry, and tranquil countryside make Kaikoura a popular destination for travelers and a town we are proud to call home.