I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend? ~Robert Redford, Yosemite National Park dedication, 1985
Sustainability is a much abused word. But it nevertheless represents a slowly changing global culture and desire that businesses pay attention to issues of waste or pollution, sourcing, local production, quality and long term use rather than disposability. Tourism has given New Zealand good economic reason for valuing and protecting our natural resources. There is a shift away from disposable luxuries and towards lasting quality and practical furnishings. When Riverrun was built in the mid 1990s the extent of reclaimed timber used in its construction was unusual. Now reclaimed hardwood beams are highly valued. Many of the tenets of sustainability are commonsense values; sourcing New Zealand made and local products, reducing energy consumption, reducing and recycling waste. The list that follows is a start, but I hope that over the next few years we will see ourselves and others taking a much more comprehensive approach.

Riverrun lodge is built almost entirely from recycled/reclaimed hardwood timber. Some of the polished flooring and old bridge beams are a hundred years old or more. The lodge probably represents one of the most intensive designs utilising recycled materials in New Zealand.
The lodge has been designed to conserve heat and energy; with highly insulative block walls, double-glazing throughout and deep protective verandahs.
Two open fires contribute to heating the lodge and we use waste willow and pine from the property to fuel these and reduce energy costs. We hope to introduce a solar component over the next two years.Room furnishings are chosen on the basis that they use natural and sustainable materials and that they are locally or New Zealand made.
We prefer to minimise waste and maximise quality and function, so toiletries such as shampoos and soaps are made in New Zealand and do not contribute unneccessarily to plastic landfill.
Much of the furniture in the lodge is individually hand crafted either from New Zealand plantation timbers or from reclaimed hardwood timber.
Riverrun water is pure untreated gravel filtered water (it is tested once a year by NZ Health and Hygiene) sourced from an underground aquifer near the Cardrona river.
Food and produce served at the lodge is New Zealand sourced and whereever possible locally sourced. We support small growers and enterprises.
All kitchen waste is composted and other materials (glass, paper, cardboard, tins, and most plastics) are recycled. Guests have the option of reusing towels over several nights of their stay. Cleaning substances used in housekeeping are biodegradable and New Zealand made.
Our farm, like most New Zealand farms, is grazing-based. We produce our own farm feed in the form of grass, lucerne hay, barley, turnips and wheat sileage. The use of chemicals and added fertilisers is minimal and we practice a minimum tilage (direct drill) system. Weed and pest control is ongoing.
The farm enables some 500 acres of land close to Wanaka to remain as open space. Most of the property is productive open space, predominantly developed for cropping and fine wool production. Some 18% of the farm has been covenanted as open space, with no non-farming development allowed. A planting plan has been recently adopted to establish new native kanuka on unproductive escarpments. Halliday Bluff and the river frontages remain essentially wild areas.
The lodge contributes to the farm's sustainability and the farm contributes to the lodge, providing unbuilt views, open space and walking trails.