Pre-application requirements

Find out what you need to do before you apply for permission (a concession) to set up and run a commercial business or non-profit activity, occupy land or build structures on conservation land.

You need to apply in plenty of time to ensure your application can be processed before you want to begin your activity. 

On this page:

Pre-application meeting with DOC

Visitors in a zodiac cruising the Snares Islands, south of Stewart Island/Rakiura. Photo: John Mason.
Zodiac cruising the Snares Islands,
south of Stewart Island/Rakiura

We recommend that you arrange a free pre-application meeting with your local DOC concessions staff before you apply for a concession. This will help ensure you have all the advice and information you need to prepare a quality application. Your application must be of a high standard and contain all the required information and documentation, otherwise it will be rejected.

. You will gain a clear understanding of:

  • Whether or not a concession is required
  • The application process, cost recovery regime, credit policy and processing timeframes, including your responsibilities
  • The type of application process and concession likely to best suit your proposed operation
  • All the requirements for a concession application including your responsibilities relating to the environmental impact assessment (EIA), safety plan (if required), insurance and contact with iwi
  • The statutory planning framework (conservation management plans and strategies) and how it may affect your proposal
  • Whether your proposal is very unlikely to be approved, to help you save time and money.

The consultation is free for up to half a day of staff time. If you have a particularly complex proposal and discussions are extensive, DOC may recover some of the costs of providing this advice. 

Check statutory plans and legislation

For a concession to be granted it must:

  • Comply with the purpose for which the land is held under legislation eg historic reserve, nature reserve, national park
  • Not be inconsistent with statutory plans - conservation management strategies, conservation management plans, national park management plans.

Before you apply for a concession you should check the relevant planning documents for the area you want to carry out your activity to see if it is likely to be approved. Most management strategies and plans are available on this website:

You can also check the relevant legislation (Conservation Act 1987, Reserves Act 1977, National Parks Act 1980) on

You can discuss these matters at your pre-application meeting with DOC staff.

Provide an environmental impact assessment

As part of your application, you will need to provide an environmental impact assessment (EIA) identifying and describing all the actual and potential environmental effects of your proposed activity, including cumulative effects. It must also include what you plan to do to avoid or minimise any negative effects. The level of detail required in your EIA will depend on the size and complexity of your activity.  

This is a very important part of your application and must be done thoroughly. If you do not provide an EIA your application will be rejected. View a guide to help you prepare your EIA. You can also discuss this with DOC staff at your pre-application meeting.  

Consult iwi (local Māori)

It is recommended that you contact relevant iwi to discuss your proposal and assess any cultural effects as soon as practicable. Your local DOC office can tell you whether you need to talk to iwi and if so who to contact. You can use your pre-application meeting to find out this information.

Independently Audited Safety Plan

For all recreation concessions, you must have a safety plan for the activities you run. Your safety plan must be audited by an independent auditor. Further details about safety plans can be found at Concessionaire safety plans - Guidelines for applicants including how to contact auditors.

When you have successfully completed the audit, please provide DOC with the approval letter or certificate from the auditor before you undertake your concession activity.

Check the standard concession contract

If your concession is granted you will be offered a standard contract relevant to your particular activity, including standard and special conditions, along with any site specific special conditions required to manage the effects of your particular activity.

It is recommended that you check the standard concession contract relevant to your activity so you know what to expect and what will be expected of you if you are granted a concession. If the contract you need is not listed here contact your your local concessions staff for information.  

Conforming permit (PDF, 199K)
This contract is for Conforming guiding Concessions only, for up to 5 years - see Conforming criteria in processes.

Guiding permit (PDF, 196K)
This contract is for all commercial guiding activities such as walking, kayaking, cycling, caving for up to 10 years.

Grazing Licence (PDF, 160K)
This contract is for grazing for up to 30 years .

Easement (PDF, 306K)
This is for easements (eg. right of way, pipelines, electricity lines etc.) for up to 30 years.

Guiding Licence (PDF, 196K)
A standard guiding licence to deal with issues of a term longer than 10 years.

One-off filming (PDF, 135K)
For one-off permits for low impact filming - see One-off criteria in processes.

One-off aircraft landing (PDF, 126K)
For one-off aircraft landing permits – see One-off criteria in processes.

General Permit (PDF, 228K
For non-notified activities for up to 10 years which don't require structures to be built, including One-offs for activities other than filming and landing.

General Licence (PDF, 227K
For non-notified licences under 10 years and publicly notified licences up to 30 years.

Lease Agreement (PDF, 217K
For leases, which provide for sole occupation of the land.

Lease and Licence (PDF, 236K)
This document can be used where the activity involves some land where exclusive occupation is required and some land which the public can still enter.

Viewing documents on this page

Some documents are currently only available as PDFs or other files such as Word or Excel. If you can't view these files please get in touch with the listed contact to request another format or a hard copy. About PDFs and other alternative formats.

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