Queen Elizabeth II National Trust
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The Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (National Trust) is a registered charity and statutory New Zealand organisation independent from Government and managed by a Board of Directors. It was established in 1977 by the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Act 1977 "to encourage and promote, for the benefit of New Zealand, the provision, protection, preservation and enhancement of open space."
The organisation enables landowners to protect special features on their land through its open space covenants. The National Trust also owns 27 properties, including Aroha Island, which collectively protect 1,582 hectares of significant habitat. These have mostly been donated to the Trust. Stewardship of these properties is assisted by local communities and management committees.
As at 30 July 2016, QEII National Trust has registered 4,259 open space covenants protecting around 167,627ha of land and wetland. Covenants vary in size from less than 0.1 hectares protecting rare plants to the 53,000 hectare Mahu Whenua covenants that protect and entire landscape in central Otago.
Open space is defined in the QEII National Trust Act as any area of land or body of water that serves to preserve or to facilitate the preservation of any landscape of aesthetic, cultural, recreational, scenic, scientific, or social interest or value.
The National Trust puts a high priority on securing covenants that support the objectives of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.
The QEII National Trust Act enables the National Trust to:
- negotiate and administer open space covenants (or protection agreements) with landowners
- acquire and manage land
- provide financial grants for open space projects
- advocate open space protection through advice, research, and information.
Founder Gordon Stephenson died in December 2015.
- Leaman, Aaron (30 December 2015). "Celebrated environmentalist Gordon Stephenson dies, aged 91". Stuff. Retrieved 30 December 2015.