Protected areas of New Zealand
Protected areas of New Zealand receive protection to preserve their environmental, historical or cultural value. The method and aims of protection vary according to the importance of the resource and whether it has public or private status.
Nearly 30 percent of the land mass of New Zealand is in public ownership and has some degree of protection; these areas include conservation parks, mainland islands, island reserves, marine reserves, and national parks.
In 1840 Governor Hobson was instructed that some Crown land was to be, "reserved, for the use of the public at large, all tracts which are likely to be required for purposes of public health, utility, convenience, or enjoyment."
The Public Reserves Act 1854 allowed the Crown to grant public utility reserves to provinces. The Public Domains Act 1860 covered domains in Auckland and Wellington and allowed the governor to buy other land. The Public Reserves Act 1877 extended the powers, as did the Public Reserves Act 1881, the Public Reserves and Domains Act 1908, the Public Reserves, Domains and National Parks Act 1928, the Reserves and Domains Act 1953 and now the Reserves Act 1977.
Types of protected areas
The Department of Conservation administers the majority of the publicly owned land in New Zealand that is protected for scenic, scientific, historic and cultural reasons, or set aside for recreational purposes. More than 80,000 km2 – nearly 30 percent of the nation's total area – is administered by the department. The main legislation controlling this is the Reserves Act 1977.
There are 13 national parks (excluding the disestablished Te Urewera National Park), covering almost 28,900 km2, over 50 Conservation Parks covering some 18,000 km2, about 3,500 reserves covering around 15,000 km2, and some 610 km2 of protected private land and covenants that have been set aside for scenic, scientific or ecological reasons. The department also has responsibility for the preservation and management of wildlife, and has a role in management of the coastal marine area with 19 marine reserves and two other protected marine areas from the Kermadec Islands to Fiordland.
Conservation Parks defined in the Conservation Act 1987 to protect their natural and historic resources, and to facilitate public recreation and enjoyment. Prior to changes in 1987, many Conservation Parks were administered as Forest Parks, before the Conservation Act declared that all such parks would automatically become Conservation Parks in a legal sense.
- Ahuriri Conservation Park
- Aorangi Forest Park
- Aotea Conservation Park
- Catlins Conservation Park
- Coromandel Forest Park
- Craigieburn Forest Park
- Eyre Mountains/Taka Ra Haka Conservation Park
- Hakatere Conservation Park
- Hanmer Conservation Park
- Hāwea Conservation Park
- Ka Whata Tu O Rakihouia Conservation Park
- Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park
- Kaimanawa Forest Park
- Kaweka Forest Park
- Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
- Lake Sumner Forest Park
- Mavora Lakes Conservation Park
- Mount Richmond Forest Park
- North-west Nelson Forest Park
- Northland Conservation Park
- Oteake Conservation Park
- Pirongia Forest Park
- Pureora Forest Park
- Raukumara Conservation Park
- Remutaka Forest Park
- Ruahine Forest Park
- Ruataniwha Conservation Park
- Tararua Forest Park
- Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park
- Te Papanui Conservation Park
- Victoria Forest Park
- Whakarewarewa Conservation Park
- Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park
Island reserves or island sanctuaries are off-shore islands have been set aside by the Government as reserves for endemic and native New Zealand species.
- Blumine Island
- The Brothers Islands
- Codfish Island
- Kapiti Island
- Little Barrier Island
- Mana Island
- Maud Island
- Matiu / Somes Island
- Motutapu Island
- Poor Knights Islands
- Rangitoto Island
- Resolution Island
- Stephens Island
- Stewart Island / Rakiura
- Tiritiri Matangi Island
- Ulva Island
- Whakaari / White Island
Mainland islands are areas on the North Island and South Island, set aside as reserves for endemic and native species, in a similar way to island reserves. There are several in New Zealand, including five run by the Department of Conservation.
New Zealand has over three dozen marine reserves spread around the North and South Islands, and two on outlying island groups. The first marine reserve was created in 1975.
- Akaroa Marine Reserve
- Auckland Islands - Motu Maha Marine Reserve
- Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve / Goat Island
- Hautai Marine Reserve
- Hawea (Clio Rocks) Marine Reserve
- Hikurangi Marine Reserve
- Horoirangi Marine Reserve
- Kahukura (Gold Arm) Marine Reserve
- Kahurangi Marine Reserve
- Kapiti Marine Reserve
- Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve
- Kutu Parera (Gaer Arm) Marine Reserve
- Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve
- Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve
- Moana Uta (Wet Jacket Arm) Marine Reserve
- Motu Manawa-Pollen Island Marine Reserve
- Moutere Hauriri / Bounty Islands Marine Reserve
- Moutere Ihupuku / Campbell Island Marine Reserve
- Moutere Mahue / Antipodes Island Marine Reserve
- Parininihi Marine Reserve
- Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve
- Pohatu Marine Reserve / Flea Bay
- Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve
- Punakaiki Marine Reserve
- Taipari Roa (Elizabeth Island) Marine Reserve
- Tapuae Marine Reserve
- Taputeranga Marine Reserve
- Taumoana (Five Finger Peninsula) Marine Reserve
- Tauparikākā Marine Reserve
- Tāwharanui Marine Reserve
- Te Angiangi Marine Reserve
- Te Awaatu Channel (The Gut) Marine Reserve
- Te Hapua (Sutherland Sound) Marine Reserve
- Te Matuku Marine Reserve
- Te Paepae o Aotea (Volkner Rocks) Marine Reserve
- Te Tapuwae o Hua (Long Sound) Marine Reserve
- Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve
- Tonga Island Marine Reserve
- Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve
- Ulva Island - Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve
- Waiau Glacier Coast Marine Reserve
- Westhaven (Te Tai Tapu) Marine Reserve
- Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve
- Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve
There are 13 national parks, covering just under 25,000 km2.
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park
- Arthur's Pass National Park
- Egmont National Park
- Fiordland National Park
- Kahurangi National Park
- Mount Aspiring National Park
- Nelson Lakes National Park
- Paparoa National Park
- Rakiura National Park
- Te Urewera National Park (former)
- Tongariro National Park
- Westland Tai Poutini National Park
- Whanganui National Park
Regional parks of New Zealand are administered by regional councils.
- Akatarawa Forest
- Ambury Regional Park
- Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park
- Ātiu Creek Regional Park
- Auckland Botanic Gardens
- Āwhitu Regional Park
- Baring Head/Orua-pouanui
- Battle Hill Farm Forest Park
- Belmont Regional Park
- Duder Regional Park
- East Harbour Regional Park
- Glenfern Sanctuary Regional Park
- Hunua Ranges Regional Park
- Hutt River Trail
- Hutt Water Collection Area
- Kaitoke Regional Park
- Lake Tekapo Regional Park
- Long Bay Regional Park
- Mahurangi Regional Park
- Motukorea Browns Island Regional Park
- Muriwai Regional Park
- Mutukaroa / Hamlins Hill Regional Park
- Northern Pegasus Bay
- Ōmana Regional Park
- Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park
- Orere Point Regional Park
- Pākiri Regional Park
- Pakuratahi Forest
- Papamoa Hills Regional Park
- Queen Elizabeth Park
- Scandrett Regional Park
- Shakespear Regional Park
- Tāpapakanga Regional Park
- Tāwharanui Regional Park
- Tawhitokino Regional Park
- Te Ārai Regional Park
- Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour
- Te Rau Pūriri Regional Park
- Waharau Regional Park
- Waimakariri River Regional Park
- Wainuiomata Recreation Area
- Wainuiomata Water Collection Area
- Wairarapa Moana Wetlands
- Waitākere Ranges Regional Park
- Waitawa Regional Park
- Wellington Harbour
- Wenderholm Regional Park
- Whakanewha Regional Park
- Whakatīwai Regional Park
- Whitireia Park
Scenic reserves are the most common protected area in New Zealand and most are relatively small – many are less than 1 square kilometre, though some are more than 10 square kilometres. Most scenic reserves are visually attractive remnant areas of native forest close to roads. Statutory control of scenic reserves was earlier provided by the Scenery Preservation Act 1903 and now by the Reserves Act 1977.
Esplanade Reserves are strips of land beside the sea, rivers and lakes. They were usually 20 m (0.99 ch) wide when created; hence often known as the 'Queen's Chain'. s.229 of the RMA requires that esplanade reserves contribute to the protection of conservation values, by supporting the natural functioning of an adjacent waterway, its water quality, aquatic habitats, natural values, mitigating natural hazards, or allowing public access, proving access is compatible with conservation values. District Plans can set reserve widths and the size of subdivision for which they're required.
Local reserves can be created for, "utility, road, street, access way, esplanade, service lane, playcentre, kindergarten, plunket room, or other like purpose" They cover a wide range of purposes, many of them not for conservation, such as water reserves to protect reservoir catchments, quarry reserves, pilot reserves, and aerodrome reserves.
New Zealand is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, and as of 2008 there are six Ramsar-registered sites in New Zealand:
Travis Wetland is an ecological restoration project in Christchurch that was purchased by the city council as a nature reserve.
World Heritage sites
There are three World Heritage Sites in New Zealand:
Other protected areas
In the 1980s SSWIs (Sites of special wildlife interest) and WERIs (Wetlands of ecological and representative importance) were designated.
- Brook Waimarama Sanctuary
- Hinewai Reserve
- Lake Rotokare, Taranaki
- Mount Tutu Eco-Sanctuary
- Nugget Point
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- "Reserves Act Guide" (PDF). Department of Conservation. 2004.
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- "Esplanade reserves and esplanade strips". www.environmentguide.org.nz. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
- Reserves Act 1977 s.16
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