In the “Paparoa National Park Management Plan

The journey
Te haerenga

Welcome to the Paparoa National Park Management Plan. The Plan celebrates Te Wao Nui – the great forest of Paparoa National Park – an important taonga to Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae and the Department of Conservation (Te Papa Atawhai). The Park has significant natural heritage values and is highly valued by local communities and visitors.

Each national park has a management plan and this is the second Plan for Paparoa National Park since its establishment in 1987. It has been developed as a result of consultation and reflects the views of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, the West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board, the community and many others with interests in the Park.

The focus of the plan is the land and activities within the boundaries of Paparoa National Park. However, the need for integrated management of areas outside the Park, such as the Punakaiki Village, is extremely important and this is reflected in the Plan.

This Paparoa National Park Management Plan is the commitment of the Department of Conservation and West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board, working in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, to the community, business and others to secure the fullest proper use and enjoyment of the national park consistent with the preservation of its natural, cultural and historic features and the protection and wellbeing of its indigenous plants and animals.

This Plan provides both day-to-day and long-term direction to managers and other departmental staff in the management of the Park and guidance to the public.

The Plan became operative on 1 February 2017.

Dr Warren Parker
Chair, New Zealand Conservation Authority
– Te Pou Atawhai Taiao O Aotearoa

Francois Tumahai
Heamana o Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae

Mike Legge
Chair, West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board

Mark Davies
Director, Operations Western South Island/Kaihautū, Matarautaki
Department of Conservation

How to read this Plan
Me pēhea te pānui tika i tēnei mahere

This Plan has been developed in a unique way in conjunction with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae. The metaphor of a great forest has been woven throughout the Plan to pay respect to and personify the living ecosystems that comprise Paparoa National Park.

Part One is Te Wao Nui – the great forest. In the same way that the vast tree canopy arches over a great forest creating shape and purpose, this section provides the vision and framework for managing Paparoa National Park.

Part Two is Ngā Tamariki a Tāne – the children of Tāne. This section focuses on the relationship between the children of Tāne – both humankind, and flora and fauna. This section divides Paparoa National Park into four management areas (Places) named after and embodied by the values and attributes of the four children of Tāne: the Nīkau, Tī Kōuka, Mānuka and Horoeka trees.

Part Three is Te One Haumako – named after the fertile soil we find in strong, thriving forest ecosystems. This section outlines how the Plan will be implemented, including milestones, to ensure that it is effective in its management of the Paparoa National Park. These components create a fertile soil from which the development and management of Paparoa National Park can grow.

Plan structure
Te hanga o te mahere

This Plan describes the conservation values, issues and opportunities in Paparoa National Park and provides for the integrated management and protection of the Park. The Plan implements the General Policy for National Parks 2005 and other legislative requirements. The objectives and policies in Part One: Te Wao Nui apply to all Paparoa National Park while more specific provisions are found in Part Two: Ngā Tamariki a Tāne.

  • Objectives describe what is sought to be achieved for Paparoa National Park. They support national directions and the aspirations of Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae and the West Coast community in achieving integrated management for the whole Park.
    They also guide decision-making.
  • Outcomes are the desired goals or result of a conservation action or series of actions at a Place, over the term of the Plan. They guide conservation management
    and decision-making.
  • Policies provide more detailed guidance as to how an objective and/or outcome can be achieved. They describe the course of action or guiding principles to be used for conservation management and decision-making.
  • Glossary defines words and phrases.

Milestones are included as specific actions that are measurable steps towards achieving objectives, outcomes and policies within the Plan. Milestones are set at three, five and ten years. They are a means by which the West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board can annually monitor and report on the Paparoa National Park Management Plan implementation.

To the extent allowed by the National Parks Act 1980, if any land is added to the Paparoa National Park during the life of this Plan 1 , the provisions of this Plan will apply to any such additions. The provisions of the Place which adjoins the additional land will also apply. Changes to maps within the Plan are expected to be made without additonal public notice and consultation

Vision for Paparoa National Park
Ngā wawata mō te Pāka ā-iwi o Paparoa

The vision has been developed in partnership with Ngāi Tahu and the West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board, and in consultation with a wide range of community members and many other interested parties. It is therefore a vision that establishes a united approach to managing Paparoa National Park, one shared by the whole community. It will guide future advocacy, education and community awareness initiatives.

  • Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae are kaitiaki of their ancestral lands and resources, and have living relationships with their whakapapa and traditions in Paparoa National Park.
  • Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae are actively involved in decision-making to protect taonga and the mauri and wairua of Paparoa National Park.
  • As far as possible, Paparoa National Park is preserved, valued and enjoyed by the public for its natural, historic and cultural features which are scientifically important, distinctive and unique.
  • The species and ecosystems of Paparoa National Park are valued and thriving, and make a major contribution to the wellbeing of the whole region.
  • West Coast communities and visitors recognise, appreciate and care for the special values of Paparoa National Park. They understand and embrace its unique history and take pride in its internationally recognised landscape, which provides an unparalleled visitor experience.
  • Visitors connect with local communities and experience a genuine interaction with the locals who take pride in sharing the Paparoa National Park with visitors.
  • The natural, historic and cultural importance of Paparoa National Park is clearly explained using carefully designed and located interpretation. This easily accessible information enriches the experiences of visitors.

This vision is embodied in the text, objectives, outcomes, policies and milestones throughout the Plan and is underpinned by the legislation, which guides the protection of the natural character, health and wellbeing of this special place.

Vision for New Zealand/Aotearoa

The Department also has a national long-term vision:

New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth
Kāore he wāhi i tua atu i Aotearoa, hei wahi noho i te ao

This vision is aspirational and challenges the Department to connect with others to achieve it. In doing so, it requires the Department to build empathy, trust and understanding, so that both traditional and non-traditional audiences can engage in this common vision.

Conservation protects New Zealand's natural environment. Protecting our natural resources and heritage is an essential contribution in New Zealand's long-term wellbeing and prosperity. The Department provides leadership to inspire and involve others to work together to achieve more conservation than it could achieve alone. This is reflected in the Department's overarching purpose statement:

Conservation leadership for our nature
Tākina te hī, tiakina, te hā o te Āo Tūroa

The Department has four intermediate outcomes (from the Statement of Intent 2016-2020) to guide its work towards the national vision, as shown in the diagram on page 11. The directions provided by the Statement of Intent and this Plan inform the Department's annual business planning, which directs resources towards achieving the visions and outcomes.

Stretch goals

Stretch goals diagram

Map 1: Overview

Map 1: Overview
Note: High resolution maps are available at

Treaty partner
Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Ngāi Tahu are the tangata whenua who hold mana whenua over the lands and resources of much of the South Island/Te Waipounamu, including Paparoa National Park.

Ngāi Tahu are the descendants of Tahu Pōtiki and are linked by three main strands of whakapapa: Waitaha, Ngāti Mamoe and Ngāi Tahu. The iwi is comprised of five primary hapū, being Ngāti Kurī, Ngāti Irakehu, Kati Huirapa, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki.

Today, Ngāi Tahu whānau and hapū are represented by 18 papatipu rūnanga and one tribal authority, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. The Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act 1996 established Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to serve Ngāi Tahu whānui and manage collectively-held tribal assets and protect tribal interests. In accordance with this Act, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu consults with papatipu rūnanga and is informed by their views.

Papatipu rūnanga are kaitiaki of natural resources within their takiwā boundaries. Paparoa National Park lies exclusively within the takiwā of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, who are the mandated representative body of Ngāti Waewae, a hapū of Ngāi Tahu. Arahura Marae is their standing place.

The Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement and the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 (the Settlement) recognised the injustices of the Ngāi Tahu people and formalised the relationship between the Crown and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as Treaty partners.

In practice, the partnership between the Department and Ngāi Tahu in managing Paparoa National Park occurs directly with both Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae as the representative body of the mana whenua, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as the Treaty partner. The Department acknowledges that Paparoa is a taonga to Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae, and is committed to a living Treaty partnership with Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae through the management of Paparoa National Park.

Management framework
Te anga whakahaere

The management tools include both legislative and customary management.

Purposes of national parks

The purpose of national parks as set out in the National Parks Act 1980 is for the preservation in perpetuity for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit, use and enjoyment of the public, areas of New Zealand that contain scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural features so beautiful, unique or scientifically important that their preservation is in the national interest.

National park management plan

Under the National Parks Act 1980, the Department is required to administer and manage Paparoa National Park in accordance with the General Policy for National Parks 2005 (GPNP), the West Coast Te Tai o Poutini Conservation Management Strategy (CMS) and this Plan.

The purpose of the Plan is to implement GPNP, and establish objectives for the integrated management of natural and historic resources, including species management by the Department, and for recreation, tourism and other conservation purposes.

Relevant provisions of the National Parks Act 1980 and General Policy for National Parks 2005 are not repeated in this Plan.

The Plan is the primary document for making decisions in relation to Paparoa National Park.

The Plan has six main uses:

  • for managing and protecting the flora, fauna, natural and cultural features of Paparoa National Park;
  • as an information source, setting out the commitment for managing Paparoa National Park;
  • as direction and guidance for managers of Paparoa National Park in their work;
  • as direction and guidance to decision-makers considering proposals from businesses and others who require authorisation to undertake activities within Paparoa National Park;
  • for monitoring the performance of the Department in implementing the Plan; and
  • for the purposes of section 4(3) of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

Relationship with other Department of Conservation strategic documents and tools
Nga hononga

The Plan should be read in conjunction with the Department's Statement of Intent2 (SOI), which is revised yearly. Where there is inconsistency between the two, the provisions of the Plan prevail.

The General Policy for National Parks 2005 provides that each Plan should integrate the management of 'Places' to achieve national conservation outcomes. To help achieve this, the high level objectives of the SOI and the national priorities identified through the Department's national decision-making support tools are reflected in this Plan. These tools include the natural heritage management and destination management systems.

Ecosystem units (see Appendix 4) and recreation sites are identified in 2.1 Natural values and Map 2 (Ecosystem priorities and recreation destinations).

In this Plan, the term 'priority ecosystem unit' refers to a site where conservation work will most effectively contribute to protecting the full range of ecosystems nationally and the threatened and at-risk species associated with them.

Threatened and at-risk species are referred to by their status according to their level of threat of extinction identified in the New Zealand Threat Classification system (2008).

Recreation opportunities have been categorised as a national suite of destinations to reflect known and potential demand, and to capture people's outdoor leisure preferences. This is part of an approach collectively known as destination management.

  • 'Icon destinations' are those that the Department has identified as high profile, popular destinations that underpin national and international tourism, and provide memorable visitor experiences in New Zealand.
  • 'Gateway destinations' introduce New Zealanders to the outdoors and allow them to learn about conservation. These destinations may provide for a diverse range of activities but include many traditional camping and tramping destinations.
  • 'Local treasures' are vehicle-accessible, locally valued locations that provide recreation opportunities for, and increase connections with, nearby communities.
  • 'Backcountry' destinations provide for more challenging adventures, including popular walks and tramps, within large-scale natural settings such as Paparoa National Park.
  • 'Historic Icon sites' are an important part of New Zealand's history and identity, and will be the focus of the Department's storytelling to bring history to life.

National conservation initiatives, such as Battle for our Birds, Wilding Conifer Strategy, Predator Free 2050, and War on Weeds are all operational programmes implementing the intermediate outcomes and objectives of the SOI. In addition, to focus the Department's efforts even more strongly, the Department in 2015 adopted a set of 'stretch goals' for 10 years which drive performance and are reported through the Department of Conservation National Performance Indicators table. The objectives for each of the intermediate outcomes with the relevant stretch goals are throughout the document.

National park management plans integrate the Department's national priorities with local priorities identified through consultation with the community for the management of Places, business planning and the SOI; direct and guide decisions on concessions and other authorisations; and identify opportunities for co-operative efforts to achieve more conservation.

International obligations
Ngā herenga ki tāwāhi

New Zealand is signatory to many international agreements that are relevant to conservation. The Department implements these agreements in accordance with its functions and has responsibility for a number of species under these agreements. Examples of important international agreements of most relevance with Paparoa National Park include the:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity 1992;
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) 1973;
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1983;
  • Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1954;
  • Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970

Customary management practices
Ngā mahi ā-tikanga

Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae have engaged in sustainable management practices of their environment and the natural resources contained within them for many generations, and continue to do so today. Guided by tikanga (strategies) that have evolved over continual years of use, they remind individuals to respect and be considerate of the resource. Tikanga reminds individuals that all things have a mauri (life force) and dictates when and how different plants and animals are hunted or gathered, to ensure they are best equipped to rejuvenate. Examples include use of karakia, never harvesting in excess of immediate need, and, in terms of flora, only harvesting from a specific side or area of the plant (such as the sunny side, or specific leaves). Rāhui are also often used to deem certain areas off-limits for harvest for prescribed periods to allow species recovery or to restore spiritual wellbeing.

The ability of Ngāti Waewae to manage natural resources according to tikanga is an important expression of rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga. The Department is committed to working in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to incorporate Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Waewae mātauranga (traditional knowledge) and tikanga into the management of Paparoa National Park.

Treaty of Waitangi and Ngāi Tahu settlement obligations
Te Tiriti o Waitangi me te whakataunga o te Kerēme o Ngāi Tahu

The Conservation Act 1987 and all the Acts listed in its First Schedule must be interpreted and administered so as to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (Conservation Act 1987: section 4). The Department also has specific responsibilities under the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement 1997 and Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998, which provide a practical framework for assisting the Treaty partnership between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Crown. The legal mechanisms established through the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 provide a starting point for Ngāi Tahu rangatiratanga and its expression through kaitiakitanga, and the basis for an enduring partnership between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Crown.

Table 1: Interpretation of this document

Ngā kaupapa

  1. Apply the objectives, outcomes and policies in Parts One: Te Wao Nui and Two: Ngā Tamariki o Tāne of this Plan to all Paparoa National Park, and give precedence to the outcomes and policies in Part Two: Ngā Tamariki o Tāne, where they differ from the objectives or policies in Part One: Te Wao Nui.
  2. Interpret the words 'will', 'should' and 'may' in the policies in this Plan as follows:
    1. 'will' indicates decisions directed by the Minister or required by legislation;
    2. 'should' indicates a strong expectation of outcome without diminishing the constitutional role of the Minister and other decision-makers to depart from a particular policy if exceptional circumstances so warrant it;
    3. 'may' indicates greater flexibility in decision-making.
  3. Apply an integrated approach to management of Paparoa National Park and adjoining public conservation lands and waters.

1 Additions to national parks are undertaken in accordance with Sections 7 or 8 of the National Parks Act 1980

2 Department of Conservation 2016, Statement of Intent 2016–2020.

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