Timeline of the New Zealand environment
16th century — Final extinction of all eleven species of Moa.
1642 — Tasman is first European to reach New Zealand.
1769 — New Zealand mapped by James Cook, and the Norway rat believed to have arrived in New Zealand aboard his ship, the Endeavour. Wild boar are believed to have arrived with Cook, possibly on his second voyage for trade with the Maori - called 'Captain Cookers' in NZ
1790s — Sealers and whalers arrive.
1840 Treaty of Waitangi
- Ship rat spreads throughout North Island.
- Australian Magpie introduced.
- The Protection of Certain Animals Act passed - legislated that: "No Deer of any kind, Hare, Swan, Partridge, English Plover, Rook, Starling, Thrush or Blackbird" could be shot for the rest of the decade.
- Wild Birds Protection Act - legislated that: "No Wild Duck, Paradise Duck, or Pigeon indigenous in the colony shall be hunted, taken, or killed except during the months of April, May, June, and July in any year".
- Trout and Salmon Protection Act passed - made provision for "the preservation and propagation of Salmon and Trout in this Colony".
- Seal hunting restricted to a short annual season.
- Rabbit Nuisance Act passed.
- Small Birds Nuisance Act passed.
- An area of land, that will become the Trounson Kauri Park, is set aside by the Government. 
- Rainbow trout successfully introduced by the Auckland Acclimatisation Society.
- Protection of fur seal population due to declining numbers.
- The Stephens Island Wren is made extinct by the lighthouse keeper's cat.
- Tongariro National Park Act passed.
- Kapiti Island is designated as an island reserve.
- Egmont National Park established
- Noxious Weeds Act passed
- Scenery Preservation Act passed.
- Scenery Preservation Commission appointed.
- Population reached one million.
- Herbert Guthrie-Smiths Tutira: The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station is published.
- Animals Protection and Game Act 1921-22
- The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand is formed.
- Protection removed from mustelids.
- Soil and Rivers Control Act was enforced. This was the first piece of coordinated environmental legislation in New Zealand.
- Abel Tasman National Park established.
- Possums no longer protected.
- Forest Act 1949 is passed.
- Waipoua Forest Sanctuary formed.
- Fiordland National Park established.
- Population reaches two million.
- Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park established.
- Wildlife Act 1953 is passed.
- Trials on usage on 1080 in New Zealand begin
- 28 July — Te Urewera National Park gazetted. Additions made later.
- Mount Aspiring National Park established.
- Hydro dam proposed at Tuapeka River mouth is opposed by local residents.
- Water and Soil Conservation Act was enforced.
- Save Manapouri Campaign gains nationwide headlines.
- 264,907 New Zealanders, almost 10 percent of the population, sign the Save Manapouri petition
- Environmental Defence Society is formed.
- Government decides to put South Island beech forests up for tender for chipping.
- Population reaches three million.
- 4 July - The Maruia Declaration, calling for protection of native forests, is signed. It attracted 341,160 signatures by the time it was presented to Parliament in 1977.
- The "Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act" is passed.
- Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Act set up to encourage the protection of private land from development.
- 20 July - The Maruia Declaration with a 341,159 signature petition is presented to Government.
- 23 December — The Reserves Act is passed (includes provision for Wilderness Areas) 
- 23 December — Wild Animal Control Act passed ]
- Tree top protest in Pureora Forest to halt the logging of native forest.
- 1 April — Reserves Act comes into force
- Five black robins left but saved from extinction by Don Merton and team.
- 1 January — Marine Mammals Protection Act came into force.
- Protests over a proposed aluminium smelter at Aramoana. See also: Independent State of Aramoana.
- Clyde Dam protests.
- Native Forest Restoration Trust established to purchase and protect native forests.
- The National Parks Act was enforced.
- The approval of the water rights necessary for the high Clyde Dam is overturned on appeal in Gilmore v. National Water and Soil Conservation Authority (1982)
- The National Government enacts the Clutha Development (Clyde Dam Empowering) Act 1982 to overturn the High Court case refusing water rights.
- 1 October — Fisheries Act comes into force (establishes a fishing quota system).
- Environment Act passed (establishes Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE)) ]
- Quota Management System (QMS) introduced to conserve fish stocks within the Exclusive Economic Zone.
- Kea are given full protection.
- West Coast Accord signed for the protection of portions of native forest from logging.
- Paparoa National Park established.
- 1 January — Environment Act comes into force 
- 1 April — Conservation Act comes into force (establishes DoC, Fish and Game)
- The Tasman Accord is signed between Tasman Forestry Ltd environmental groups and the Government.
- 1 June — Trade in Endangered Species Act comes into force (CITES)
- Banning of wood chip exports.
- Creation of Tongariro National Park World Heritage site.
- Creation of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site.]
- Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is formed.
- Establishment of the Forest Heritage Fund (later renamed "Nature Heritage Fund").
- Ministry for the Environment Green Ribbon Award established 
- Protests over the mining of ilmenite on the West Coast.
- Resource Management Act 1991 passed into law.
- Crown Minerals Act 1991 is passed.
- Biosecurity Act 1993 is passed.
- Forests Act 1949 is amended.
- Forest and Bird develop the Forest Friendly Awards to classify invasive garden plants.
- The Government launches the Environment 2010 Strategy
- 9 June - New Zealand Post issues a set of stamps on conservation.
- 15 November - A West Coast environmentalist claims his house was the target of arson due to his anti-mining stance.
- Rats eradicated from Kapiti Island.
- Resource consent given to mine sand in Mangawhai Harbour.
- Basel Convention comes into force in New Zealand.
- Environment Court, formerly called the Planning Tribunal, is constituted by the RM Amendment Act 1996 with upgraded powers 
- Kahurangi National Park gazetted.
- Fisheries Act 1996 is passed (though parts of it come into force only spasmodically over the next few years).
- Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 is passed.
- Ozone Protection Layer Act 1996 is passed.
- Native Forest Action commences lobbying to save West Coast forests.
- Wild Greens group formed.
- Zerowaste Trust established.
- Creation of New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands World Heritage site.
- 22 May - New Zealand signs the Kyoto Protocol.
- Labour/Alliance coalition Government gains power paving the way for protection of West Coast native forests.
- New Zealand Department of Conservation publishes "Karst Management Guidelines" to assist with cave and karst protection.
- Karori Wildlife Sanctuary construction completed, limited public access available.
- Proposed West Coast ilmenite mine project is abandoned. (The Press - 6 February 1999)
- A gondola is proposed from Lake Wakatipu area to the Milford Sound road.
- Varroa bee mite discovered in New Zealand.
- West Coast loop road through conservation land is promoted by group of South Island mayors.
- 15 June Biotech lobby group Life Sciences Network web site goes live. 
- Moratorium on new marine farming applications, initially for two years.
- Forest restoration on the Kapiti Coast.
- National Pest Plant Accord is developed to prevent the spread of invasive plants.
- German tourist fined for smuggling a gecko.
- 30 May — Government announces transfer of all Timberlands managed forests to DoC.
- 18 August — Macraes mine extension turned down by Sandra Lee-Vercoe, the Minister of Conservation.
- 21 October - The Waigani Convention came into force.
- Rakiura National Park established.
- New Zealand Waste Strategy released by the Ministry for the Environment.
- Ferrets no longer able to be legally bred, sold or distributed.
- 25 January — New Zealand Environment magazine launched.
- 22 December - New Zealand ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.
- Govt3, a sustainability progeamme for government department, is established
- YHA started a Young Environmentalist programme.
- The WWF Living Planet report ranks New Zealand fourteenth largest per capita ecological footprint.
- 24 April — New Zealand population is estimated to top 4,000,000.
- 26 May — Campbell Island declared rat free.
- 26 May — Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry for the Environment, and Fonterra sign the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord.
- June — Consultation is sought on an Agricultural emissions research levy (commonly called the "flatulence tax" or "fart tax").
- 5 September — New Zealand Environment magazine discontinued.
- 11 September - Environment Minister addresses pollution in the Rotorua lakes.
- 31 October — Businessman jailed for clearing native bush (this has set a legal precedent) 
- Rock snot, (Didymosphenia geminata), an invasive freshwater weed is found in some New Zealand rivers.
- Group to proceed with the Milford Gondola.
- Nitrates an increasing problem in Canterbury's groundwater.
- Monorail proposed to shorten tourist trip between Queenstown and Milford Sound.
- Pike River mine given go-ahead despite protests by environmental groups.
- Kaikoura Green Globe Conference declaration.
- Rats successfully eradicated from Raoul Island.
- 20 January — Two Czech visitors fined for plant smuggling.
- 8 February - 13,000 litre diesel spill in Milford Sound.
- 12 March — Mount Burnett mining road application turned down.
- 25 March — Cypress mine, an open cast coal mine, is proposed for the West Coast.
- 29 March — Meridian Energy proposed Project Aqua is cancelled.
- 10 May — Kaikoura Island protected. 
- 17 May — Montréal Protocol comes into force. 
- 18 October — More invasive plants discovered in Auckland 
- 3 November — PCE releases report on the environmental effects of farming. 
- 31 December — Moratorium on marine farms lifted after the passing of the Aquaculture Reform Bill. 
- Non-toxic shot only is to be used for waterfowl hunting from the 2005 season onwards.
- 14 March — Application lodged for mining black sands off the west coast of the North Island.
- 1 April - The Income Tax Act 2004, which makes it easier to claim environmental expenditure, comes into force.
- 22 April — Landsborough Station purchased.
- 1 May — Pesticides blamed for killing native frogs.
- 26 May — Environment Court rules in favour of Solid Energy for the Cypress mine.
- 1 July — Molesworth Station transferred from LINZ to DoC.
- 28 July — First criminal conviction for killing a fur seal is handed down.
- September - Rock snot found in the Buller River.
- November - Last remaining use of reusable glass milk bottles will end.
- 18 November - Cavers protest about potential damage to Te Tahi Cave when used for adventure racing.
- 20 December - A tunnel is proposed to link Queenstown and the Milford Sound road.
- 26 January - New Zealand is rated top in the Pilot 2006 Environmental Performance Index.
- February - The New Zealand fishing industry proposes limits on bottom trawling.
- 17 March - Proposal to build a gondola between Queenstown and the Milford Sound road is postponed.
- 8 April - A pipe bomb is used to blow up a conservationists letterbox.
- 9 April - 12 April - Geckos are stolen from a Christchurch zoo but later recovered.
- 12 May - An application for proposed aerial walkway in the Hokitika Scenic Reserve is rejected by Department of Conservation.
- 24 October - The WWF Living Planet report ranks New Zealand with the ninth largest per capita ecological footprint.  
- 30 November - Great white sharks will be protected within New Zealand's EEZ from April 2007. 
- January - DoC considers that almost half of the native plants and animals are threatened.
- 20 February - Wa$ted!, a programme investigating household sustainability, begins a two season run on New Zealand television.
- 23 March - Prime Minister Helen Clark puts forward aspirations for New Zealand to be the first sustainable country.
- 4 April - the OECD releases a report on the performance of the New Zealand Government.
- 4 April - Bottom trawling is prohibited in selected areas.
- 30 May - Government gives $9.88 million to clean up the Tui mine tailings site.
- 30 November - the orange roughy fishery is closed to allow stocks of the fish to recover.
- 13 December - a proposed tunnel linking Queenstown and Milford Sound is blocked by the New Zealand Conservation Authority.
- 31 January - Environment New Zealand 2007, a State of the Environment report, is released.
- 10 February - The Green Party leak Chapter 13 of Environment New Zealand 2007 State of the environment report, which slates the dairy industry and the high level of consumption in New Zealand.
- 20 February - A survey shows that 53% of New Zealanders' are deeply concerned that we are not doing enough to protect the environment.
- 4 March - The World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report rates New Zealand at 24 out of 130 countries for environmental sustainability.
- April - greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand are 26% higher than 1990 levels, the required level for the Kyoto Protocol.
- 10 September - the government passes the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2008 which establishes the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
- Govt3 is discontinued.
- 3 February - the National-led Government announces reforms to the Resource Management Act
- 1 July - the Environmental Protection Authority begins operation.
- 5 October - the container ship Rena runs aground on Astrolabe Reef, 12 nautical miles off Tauranga, resulting in New Zealand's worst oil spill.
- Concerns about hydraulic fracturing in New Zealand (fracking) are highlighted in the media.
- Department of Conservation publishes findings raising concerns about the impact of introduced trout on native fish.
- Introduced Animals, Christchurch Library.
- Rabbits Christchurch Library.
- MfE State of Environment Report, 1997
- Pink, Brian (16 April 2003). "New Zealand Population To Reach 4 Million (April 2003)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Rudd facts DOC website, retrieved 16 September 2007.
- History of EDS EDS web site.
- About ECO ECO website.
- Greenpeace NZ website FAQ
- NZ Govt. Legislation
- NZ Govt. Legislation
- Native Forest Restoration Trust
- Wheen, N. (2002) A history of New Zealand environmental law. pp 261-274, In Environmental histories of New Zealand, edited by Pawson, E. and Brooking,T. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, page 268.
- NZ Govt. Legislation
- Greens history
- Green Ribbon Award
- The Press - 24 August 2004
- NZ Justice Department
- Native Forest Action
- Wild Greens
- Varroa FAQ at Biosecurity New Zealand
- Waste Strategy
- Ecological footprint
- Campbell Island
- Clean Streams Accord
- Rotorua Lakes
- Businessman jailed for clearing native bush
- Nitrates, Press Release, Environment Canterbury
- Nitrates, Press Release, Environment Canterbury
- Nitrates, Press Release, Environment Canterbury
- "Million dollar conservation project restores Raoul". New Zealand Government. 2004-09-24.
- Mining road application turned down
- Project Aqua
- O'Sullivan, Fran (14 March 2005). "Chinese explorer eyes NZ gas fields". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Environmental Performance Index: Redirect
- "Pipe bomb explodes outside conservationist's home". The New Zealand Herald. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- New threatened species list: Media release
- Beehive - Address to New Zealand Ambassador's Reception
- Beehive - Groundbreaking initiative to protect underwater habitats
- Beehive - Abandoned Tui mine to be cleaned up
- Beehive - NZ and Australia close orange roughy fishery
- Beehive - Research on New Zealanders' environmental actions
- "Table 2: The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index: Regulatory framework" (PDF). World Economic Forum. 2008.
- New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2006: An Overview. Ministry for the Environment (New Zealand). April 2008. ISBN 978-0-478-30222-6.
- "Rena grounding NZ's worst maritime disaster". Radio New Zealand. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- King, Carolyn; (1984) Immigrant Killers. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558121-0
- Young, David; (2004) Our Islands, Our Selves. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. ISBN 1-877276-94-4
- Bührs, T. and Bartlett, R.V.; (1993) Environmental policy in New Zealand: The politics of clean & green?. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558284-5
- Cant, Garth and Kirkpatrick, Russell (eds.); (2001) Rural Canterbury: Celebrating its History. Wellington: Daphne Brasell Associates Ltd. ISBN 0-909049-34-3
- Pawson, Eric and Booking, Tom (eds.); (2002) Environmental Histories of New Zealand. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558421-X