Sustainability & Environment


Our Commitment

The Rees Hotel Queenstown is committed to policies and practices that support the goals of environmental and social protection and sustainability. The Rees Hotel has implemented a company-wide stewardship programme to pursue and develop operational practices that minimize waste and promote positive interaction between the operations of our business and the broader community in which we live.


Carbon Neutral

The Rees Hotel has determined that it will be an industry leader in the achievement of Carbon Neutral status, through the measurement of its Carbon Footprint, the adoption of new practices to reduce Carbon emissions, and we are researching ways to support Carbon Emission Offset projects to compensate for any emissions that we are unable to eliminate. 

  • We recycle used Soap via the Soap Aid Initiative
  • We aim to source local and New Zealand goods and services
  • We provide Tesla and Electric Car charges at no cost to our guests and the general public
  • Our kitchen team maintain a herb garden on site to use in our restaurant food recipes
  • Our kitchen food waste is delivered to "Waste to Wilderness” initiative for composting. Our commercial food waste is only a small contribution to the innovative and highly sustainable approach to reintroducing vital biodiversity to our environment, via native tree planting 
  • We have installed a Toshiba Green model air-conditioning across the hotel at a cost of over $3 million dollars (2021-2022)
  • We provide eco-friendly pencils in all our rooms made from recycled paper and imported via sea to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • We upgraded our PMS system (RMS) which has significantly reduced if not eliminated paper from our daily procedures.  Paperless check in using our digital registration program and the ability to email a tax invoice upon check out 2021.
  • We use compostable bags for our guest amenities with compostable labels.  All our sweets are sourced locally where possible to reduce freight and energy costs.
  • We upgraded our phone system and were left with over 200 old room phones.  We donated these to all the local Daycare centres and Kindergartens in the district to keep them from going into landfill.
  • We now share a link on our in-room tablets for guests to view the Sky TV Guide – which eliminated 150+ magazines each month.
  • We supply all our minibars and guest amenity waters with 'This is not Plastic' waters in Compostable bottles by For the Better Good - thus reducing waste and eliminating single use plastic

“Soap Aid’s partnership with the Rees Hotel, Luxury Apartments and Lakeside Residences is critically important to be able to improve access to soap in the most disadvantaged communities around the world. Just by washing hands with soap many of the germs that cause disease can be diminished, kids can attend more school; their opportunities are enhanced, parents are able to work more, so household incomes improve. To date, Soap Aid has diverted more than 120,000 kg of waste soap from overflowing landfills and has recycled 1.18 million bars of recycled soap for targeted communities which has contributed to saving over 21,000 children’s lives! 


The Rees Hotel joined Soap Aid in our New Zealand pilot program in 2019 and its forward thinking leadership team are an example to the tourism industry in New Zealand to change the way hotels operate, manage their waste and support disadvantaged communities. The support of hotels like the Rees is critically important for a not for profit like Soap Aid as through our partnership, Soap Aid will be able grow our global impact. Every bar of waste soap counts and saves lives and our thanks goes out to the staff and management.”





October, 2019

Energy Conservation

Design and construction practices have been followed that deliver acoustic and thermal insulation that significantly exceeds current New Zealand standards.

  • We use LED lightbulbs only across the hotel, both internally and externally 
  • All underfloor heating, wall heaters and  gas fire places can all be remotely controlled so that energy use can be centrally managed and conserved when apartments are vacant.
  • All windows are double glazed to conserve energy efficiency


Water Conservation

  • Sophisticated water efficient fixtures – such as shower heads, tap aerators and dual flush toilets – are standard throughout The Rees Hotel.
  • We have implemented a towel and linen exchange policy designed to minimize waste of water and the use of laundry products.
  • Grey water is removed from the central laundry and re-used for garden irrigation.
  • Storm water drains are marked to warn against use for the disposal of other wastes. Oil/water separators are installed in storm water catch pits servicing car parking areas. Cleaning materials used at The Rees Hotel are where possible non-toxic and biodegradable. Dual bins are provided in all apartments to enable guests to sort and separate organic and inorganic wastes.


Nature Conservation

  • Beech Cove – the location of The Rees Hotel – has a beneficial microclimate that has supported the survival of a natural grove of beech trees whereas most of the original vegetation on the shoreline has vanished or been replaced. Two types of mistletoe (endemic to NZ) occupy the canopies of some of these long-standing Beech trees – a rarity according to advice from qualified conservationists.
  • The Rees Hotel Queenstown has taken care to preserve the beech grove, by creating a public reserve around the glade at the western border of the site. The walkway and the glade are protected in perpetuity by a covenant on the title of The Rees Hotel, and a new landscaped reserve featuring additional native plants is being created and will provide access from Frankton Road to the Foreshore walkway. As a result, an important ecological feature is being preserved and enhanced.
  • We purchase Forest and Bird amenities for all our guest rooms - Forest & Bird is Aotearoa/New Zealand's leading independent conservation organisation.

As part of our nature conservation pillar, we partnered with Wakatipu Wildlife Trust in 2019 to set up predator free traps on Lake Wakatipu.

Read more about this initiative here.

Social Sustainability 

The Rees Hotel has made a strong commitment to respect and promote the social, cultural and historic values of the Southern Lakes District. This is demonstrated in our unique collection of contemporary and historic art works and prints, our extensive library of rare books on the development of the region, our commitment to serve local produce, wines, and beverages to our guests, and in the range of Rees Hotel Experiences we are developing with the assistance of local suppliers.

For the year 2017, The Rees donated to over 13 Charitable Programmes at a value of NZD $15,000.00+. For the year 2018 to date, it has supported 8 charitable programmes to the value of NZD $20,000.00+ including the nationwide Plunket Foundation and Lions Club NZ.

As at July 2022, The Rees Hotel, Queenstown has donated over $100,000.00 to community causes in particular, locally.  in the last six years.  Some of the organisations that we have supported and continue to are as follows:

  • Whakatipu Music Festival
  • Jigsaw Central Lakes (Victim Support)
  • Happiness House 
  • Queenstown Winter Pride 
  • Queenstown Primary School -
  • Cure Kids Fundraiser
  • Frankton Fire Brigade
  • St. Joseph’s School -
  • Christchurch Symphony
  • Plunkett Foundation & Lions Club NZ
  • John McGlashan College -
  • Queenstown Alpine Ski Team -
  • Christchurch City Mission -
  • Firefighter SkyTower Stair Challenge -
  • Shotover Jet Christmas
  • Drama Queenstown -
  • Koru Care Christchurch Charity -
  • Queenstown Squash Club -
  • ASB Pink Ribbon Cancer Charity
  • Otago Community Hospice -
  • Queenstown Trails Trust -
  • Catalyst Queenstown -

The Rees Hotel, Queenstown held an auction for the Christchurch tragedy. Our CEO conducted research and found out about Yama’s plight in the below article:


CEO Mark Roses’ simple message of support to Yama was:

“The team at the hotel raised about $15,000 through a wine evening and an auction of activities and wine from the Queenstown area and we would very much like to give it to you in the hope that it will go some way towards making your life a little easier. We would also like to host you at the hotel for a couple of nights when you feel like coming down”.


More details and public recognition of this donation can be found here: 

Supply Partnerships

The Rees Hotel endeavors to source its external supplies locally, wherever possible.

We are encouraging our suppliers to follow similar policies in regard to environmental and social sustainability in their own operations. Their commitment will have a strong influence on our decision to do business with them.


Sustainable Food Suppliers 

After numerous tastings we have sourced what we believe to be amongst the best examples of local quality produce from people who have a genuine passion for food. We are proud of the quality produce within our region and are aware that buying local supports the community and helps to reduce food miles. Half the battle of cooking great food is starting with a quality product and we believe that we have found many!   We hope that you enjoy our research and maybe even use some of them yourself – please tell the suppliers that we sent you! 

Pukka is the most sustainable and environmental tea available in NZ, being 100% Organic, it is focused around an amazing taste and well-being from cup to crop.     We are pleased that Pukka tea is available in all our rooms as part of our complimentary tea and coffee offering.

Here are some main sustainable advantages:

  • FSC Certified paper and carton board
  • Organic Cotton string & recyclable tags
  • Staple free & compostable tea bags
  • Paper recyclable envelopes
  • Use vegetable based inks on the tea cartons 
  • Carbon Neutral in the Pukka Operations. 

In 2020, we partnered with Spout to support their “Farm to Flat White” model with the delivery of fresh milk from Windy Ridge Farm.

In doing so, we helped them achieve one of their Sustainability goals that we too are passionate about.

“In New Zealand alone, an estimated 380,000 plastic milk bottles are thrown away by the hospitality industry every week, with around 70% of these ending up in landfill.  We set out to change this with stainless steel kegs. Every time one of our kegs are used, it displaces five plastic bottles and can be reused thousands of times over. This goes a long way towards reducing plastic waste and carbon emissions. An average cafe using our kegs could save over 3,120 plastic bottles every year”

Visit their website for more details:

We have an opportunity to support recycling in a fun, arty and meaningful way when having your coffee; the ownership of your own reusable cup. In partnership with Chunky earlier this year (2021), we all hope that this programme will lead to this important behavioural change. It will also lead to less single use cups thus reducing our carbon footprint by not using takeaway paper cups.

A sustainable way to enjoy your coffee moving forward, so get your chunky cup with us today and receive a refund at participating cafes/restaurants when returning your chunky cup.
#sustainability #staytherees #chunky #tiaki #environment #stayNZ #supportlocal #QueenstownNZ #innovation

Check out the Chunky story here:

Pay us or your favourite café $10 as a refundable deposit for the use of the Loan Cup. You can either bring the clean cup back to be used for their next coffee or if a dirty cup, we can swap it for a clean one. Art series cups are also available for sale.

Supported by the QLDC Waste Minimisation Community Fund

List of Supply Partnerships



Neat Meat                                                

Fine Food Brokers                                    


Cairnmuir Olives                                      

Oceans North                                                            

Havoc Pork                                                 

Euro Bakery                                                

Basil, Parsley partners                                            




Nevis Gardens                                                          



Harbour Fish                                                             

Granpa BB’s Muesli                                 

Yellow Brick Road                                 

Agreeable Nature                                    

Windy Ridge Farms                           

Wairiri Buffalo Limited                                           

Advice to and from Guests

The compendium we provide to guests in each apartment and suite contains further advice on how you can assist us in meeting our goals for social and environmental sustainability. We positively welcome your suggestions on how we can improve the environmental and social sustainability of our operations. Every suggestion will be submitted for consideration by our Sustainability Stewardship Group and the Group will advise you of the outcome.

For The Rees Sustainability Stewardship Group

Bruce Davidson

Chairman of the Board of Directors

The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments Queenstown

    Link to SKAL International's magazine featuring our award here.

    Click here to read about our feature in SKAL International's Magazine.