Managing the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Environmental Sustainability

​​​​Air - Monitoring C02

Insulated from the external world, the Waitomo Glowworm Cave is very low energy, stable environment and one that is potentially sensitive to change. The presence of people in the cave has the potential to change its it’s energy in terms of heat, humidity, moisture and carbon dioxide (CO2).

To ensure optimum conditions are maintained we continuously monitor the cave climate. Monitoring the carbon dioxide concentration is especially important because it is essential to the creation, or dissolution, of our beautiful cave formations.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): A Delicate Balance

The deposition of calcium carbonate that slowly creates cave formations is controlled by a delicate balance between the CO2 in the cave atmosphere and the CO2 dissolved in the water percolating into the cave. Because people exhale CO2, our presence within the cave can jeopardise this balance. Our environmental monitoring programme ensures that we can guard this balance and protect our cave formations.


Water – the Waitomo Catchment

Cave ecosystems, such as the Waitomo Glowworm Cave, cannot be sustainably managed in isolation from the wider ecosystem. The health of a cave ecosystems is inextricably linked to wider ecosystems. Specifically, that condition of the catchment ecosystems dictates the condition of the cave ecosystem.

Collaborating with landowners in the catchment and government agencies

Sustainable Tourism

We are committed to managing the Waitomo Glowworm Cave sustainably. We consider economic, social and environmental development and consult with local communities, the tourism industry and the government.


  1. When we redesigned the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre, the environment was not just a thought, but a key pillar. It’s been built with sustainable materials and its design reflects the contours of the Waitomo River.
  2. Biodegradable cornstarch bags
  3. Recycling.
  4. ​Eco- lighting - LED and autom​atic switches

By adapting our operations, we are ensuring the effects of tourism are managed in the best possible way.


Meaning guardianship, preservation and protection, Kaitiakitanga is a way of managing the environment based on the Maori world view.