Sustainability and environment

New Zealand’s most sustainable airport terminal

Tairāwhiti’s terminal was designed using the principles of the Living Building Challenge. It’s energy and water neutral, and is Aotearoa’s greenest airport terminal. Innovative features include solar panels, rainwater harvesting and rammed earth walls. The airport is run by Eastland Group, who are members of the Climate Leaders Coalition.

Restoring our environment

As well as our commitment to sustainability with the design and build of the airport terminal, we have joined with community groups and mana whenua to help restore the surrounding environment. The environment is an important focus for our company and the communities of Tairāwhiti.

Since 2019, students and the community have been gradually planting thousands of native shrubs, flaxes and grasses along the Waikanae Stream, which flows through the airport precinct. Together, they’re helping to restore the awa and improve the water quality, while learning about the local taiao/environment and the history of the area.

The long-term goal is to see abundant bird and insect life, and fish species such as inanga whitebait).

Our thanks to everyone who has been involved over the past few years, including Ngai Tāwhiri, EnviroSchools, Wai Restoration, Nga Mahi Te Atiao, Tūranga Ararau, primary and secondary schools and kura, Women’s Native Tree Project Trust, Native Garden Nursery, and staff from Eastland Port, Gisborne Airport and Eastland Group.

Our next project is planned for later in 2023. We’ll be carrying out extensive riparian planting on the boundary of Tairāwhiti’s first solar farm, which is currently under construction in the airport precinct.


“We have a saying: he rangi mokopuna, it’s a beautiful day for the children.

“As the people, tangata whenua and mana whenua, we’re reliant on inter-generational transmission of knowledge and our language. A lot of the knowledge has been accrued over generations so we have a responsibility to share that.

“Having all of these younger generations working together in this way has got to be the most beneficial thing for any community. From our perspective, in terms of matauranga, we are looking at the regeneration and wellbeing of the awa.

“The children will remember that they helped reinvigorate the mauri of the land and the awa – I can’t think of anything more meaningful from where I stand.”

Thelma Karaitiana, Ngai Tāwhiri Working Group