Mountain bikers on the Deans Bank Track
Image: Simon Williams


We encourage people to participate in outdoor recreation and understand their historic places.

Conservation is an investment

Everything we do that encourages more people to participate in outdoor recreation and helps New Zealanders understand their historic places is an investment in our future health, wellbeing and prosperity.

Around a third of New Zealanders and a third of our international visitors visit public conservation areas each year. We have an opportunity to increase this. By managing destinations to ensure they provide the type of recreation experiences people want, we will encourage more people to recreate in these places.

From this come a number of benefits to individuals and society: people improve their health and wellbeing, spend quality time with family and friends, learn about their heritage, and strengthen their ‘sense of place’ (connection with specific places).

Working with businesses

To encourage more people to participate in recreation we must:

  • be informed by what people want
  • provide quality experiences
  • optimise our mix of opportunities
  • encourage people to participate in outdoor recreation
  • work with communities, community groups, tangata whenua and businesses.

More than 1,500 recreation and tourism businesses hold concessions to operate on public conservation land, ranging from sole proprietors running niche guiding businesses to transport operators and large enterprises like ski-fields and accommodation.

These businesses help the economy; they also help people enjoy the outdoors. By working together with them, we can help deliver the range of outdoor and historic opportunities that people want and value.

Recreation opportunities categories

We have categorised our recreation opportunities into four categories that reflect people’s needs:

  • icons – aspirational and unique places that are crucial to domestic and international tourism
  • gateways – special places that enable people to have those first adventures in the outdoors
  • local treasures – nearby places valued by the local community for recreation and community activities, and quiet enjoyment
  • backcountry – more challenging opportunities in the backcountry.

Icons and gateways are nationally important destinations that we believe are essential to increase participation in recreation.

During CMS discussions, we want to hear from communities and tangata whenua about destinations important to them, particularly backcountry destinations and local treasures.

Communities and tangata whenua

DOC is bringing a national perspective on conservation to its talks with communities and tangata whenua about how to manage New Zealand’s recreation opportunities as well as its native species and natural places.

These conversations will help identify what is valued at local places, how this fits within the national picture, and what communities want to achieve for recreation in their region.

All of this will be captured in CMSs. These strategies guide how we manage the destinations and natural resources we are responsible for, and also highlight what communities want to achieve.

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