In the “Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2015

Impact we seek

New Zealanders and our visitors are enriched by outdoor experiences

Impact indicators

The trend over time in New Zealanders' awareness of DOC as a recreation provider Performance declining.

The trend in participation in recreation on public conservation lands and waters Performance improving.

The trend in visitor satisfaction with the quality of the experience and opportunities provided Performance maintained.

10-year stretch goals

50 percent of international holiday visitors come to New Zealand to connect with our natural places.

DOC is a provider of recreation opportunities, along with regional and local authorities and the private sector, and manages New Zealand's single largest outdoor recreation network of over 14,000 km of tracks, 330 campsites and 960 backcountry huts. The aim is to enrich the lives of New Zealanders and our international visitors by providing memorable outdoor experiences.

To do this DOC continues to focus on visitor needs at destinations defined by the types of experiences on offer.

  • At Icon destinations we provide top-quality experiences that showcase New Zealand and contribute to growing New Zealand tourism.
  • At Gateway destinations we focus on introducing the next generation to our conservation heritage and growing family participation.
  • At Local Treasures we empower and help local communities to take greater ownership of the places and experiences they hold dear.
  • In the unique adventure playground that is New Zealand's backcountry, we encourage people to be self-reliant, to meet nature on nature's terms.

At all places, DOC's aim is for people to enjoy themselves and to feel enriched by their outdoor experiences. In many cases we do this supported by our tourism industry partners. We recently completed 13 Conservation Connection Forums – joint DOC and Tourism Industry Association (TIA) workshops designed to develop a picture of what success would be like if everyone worked together.

These forums enabled DOC staff and tourism operators to come together to discuss issues of mutual interest. They gave DOC and TIA valuable insights into the needs of tourism operators and demonstrated DOC's commitment to the sector as it begins work on the 10-year stretch goal.

The Department surveys New Zealanders to gain an understanding of the level of awareness of DOC's recreation opportunities, overall participation rates, preferred activities, facilities used and levels of satisfaction.19 DOC's asset management system provides information on the state of the recreation network and its facilities.

The information collected shows that there is a relatively high level of awareness of DOC as a recreation provider, though this has declined over the past 2 years. The number of New Zealanders recreating on conservation land is high and continues to increase. Satisfaction levels remain high.

The trend over time in New Zealanders' awareness of DOC as a recreation provider

While the overall awareness of New Zealanders that DOC is a recreation provider remains high, this has been declining over past 2 years; a topic for further investigation.

Table 7: Percentage of New Zealanders aware that DOC is a provider of recreation opportunities.
 

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

Percentage of New Zealanders

81%

79%

73%

The trend in participation in recreation on public conservation lands and waters

Monitoring the proportion of New Zealanders visiting recreation areas on public conservation lands helps us understand how successful we are at connecting people with the outdoors.

Table 8: Percentage of New Zealanders' participating in recreation on public conservation lands and waters.
 

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

Percentage of New Zealanders

71%

74%

77%

There is a trend of increasing participation. The exceptional summer of 2014/15, and ongoing promotional efforts from DOC and partners such as Air New Zealand, are likely to have contributed to these continued gains.

Groups less likely to use DOC recreational areas are New Zealanders of Pacific and Asian ethnicity, people above the age of 65, and those with a below average annual income.

The main activities that people engage in on public conservation lands and waters remain relatively constant, with short walks and sightseeing being most popular (Nielsen 201420 and Ipsos 2015a).

Working with others: facilities managed by New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium

Participation in recreation on public conservation lands for many New Zealanders also extends to involvement in the management of facilities. The New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium, set up in 2014, is a partnership initiative between DOC and various stakeholders spanning 152 outdoor clubs, with a combined membership of over 35,000 people. Its aim is to maintain huts and tracks that are currently minimally maintained, but other projects to improve recreational opportunities and encourage more people into the backcountry may also be supported by the consortium. By March 2015, in less than a year of operation, $600,000 from the Community Conservation Partnership Fund (CCPF) had been allocated to 82 projects, including work on 50 huts and 45 tracks (some projects were for work on both huts and tracks). The volunteer effort associated with this work is forecast to be about 10,500 work hours.21

The trend in visitor satisfaction with the quality of the experience and opportunities provided

Our logic model is that a satisfying experience enriches visitors' lives, and will also lead to repeat visits and positive stories about conservation destinations being passed on.22

Table 9: New Zealanders' satisfaction with the quality of visitor facilities and opportunities provided.
 

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

Percentage of New Zealanders

78%

80%

79%

Visitor satisfaction with the quality of recreation experiences and opportunities provided remains high. Nearly all New Zealanders (94 percent) who visited a DOC area felt safe when they visited.23

Aoraki/Mount Cook visitor facility improvements

Visitor numbers on the Hooker Valley Track at Aoraki/Mount Cook have grown by an average 18 percent annually over the past 3 years. This Icon destination includes one of the most popular half-day walks in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. DOC has been widening sections of track to allow visitors to pass each other more easily. An upgraded car park allows bus and guided walk businesses to safely deliver visitors to the start of the track. Visitor safety has also been improved by provision of a new bridge and sections of track have been realigned to avoid areas with rockfall and avalanche risk.

Outputs that contribute to this intermediate outcome

The output classes and output groups that contribute to this intermediate outcome are set out in Appendix 2. These are reported on in the statement of service performance below.

Contributions of the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium in a year.
In less than a year, the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium has contributed funding for: 82 projects including improvements to 50 huts and 45 tracks. Average visitor growth of 18 percent to Hooker Valley Track, benefitting from track improvements

Statement of service performance 2014/15: Recreation opportunities

Performance measures and targets: 2014/15

National commentary24

Recreation opportunities management

Number of visitor recreation and interpretation publications meeting publication standard, with a target of 90%.

234 visitor recreation and interpretation publications out of a total of 266 met publication standard (88%). 
Achieved

Asset management

Number of huts meeting required service standard, with a target of 90% to standard.

868 huts out of 962 met the required service standard (90%).
Achieved

Kilometres of tracks meeting required service standard in each visitor group, with a target of 45% to standard.

8,203 km out of 14,696 km of tracks met the required service standard (56%). 
Achieved

Number of structures meeting the required service standard, with a target of 95%.

12,603 structures out of 13,455 met the required service standard (94%).
Achieved

Business opportunities management: Recreation concessions

410 active one-off recreation concessions will be managed.

201 active one-off recreation concessions were managed. 
Not achieved
The demand varies for these types of concessions. Generally this year there has been less demand than in 2013/14.

A target of 15% of active longer-term recreation concessions will be monitored annually

190 active longer-term recreation concessions were monitored out of 1,168 that were managed (16%). 
Achieved

1,307 active longer-term recreation concession permits, licences, leases and easements managed.

1,168 active longer-term recreation concession permits, licences, leases and easements were managed. 
Not achieved

Business opportunities management – Other resource use concessions

152 active one-off other resource use concessions will be managed.

253 active one-off other resource use concessions were managed. 
Achieved

A target of 15% of active longer-term other resource use concessions will be monitored annually (target 450)

257 active longer-term other resource use concessions were monitored out of 3,283 that were managed (8%) (target 491). 
Not achieved
Regions are rebuilding their capability in this area as the Department moves to a partnership model with business. Monitoring plans are generally still in development.

3,003 active longer-term other resource use concession permits, licences, leases and easements managed.

3,283 active longer-term other resource use concession permits, licences, leases and easements were managed.
Achieved

Output class operating statement 2014/15: Management of recreation opportunities
 

Actual
30/06/14
$000

Budget
30/06/15
$000

Revised budget
30/06/15
$000

Actual
30/06/15
$000

Revenue

Crown

122,966

119,395

117,886

117,886

Other

22,524

23,598

25,398

24,105

Total revenue

145,490

142,993

143,284

141,991

Expenses

Total expenses

144,169

144,993

145,284

137,428

Surplus/(deficit)

1,321

(2,000)

(2,000)

4,563


19 Ipsos 2015a.

20 Nielsen Company 2014: Survey of New Zealanders. Report prepared for the Department of Conservation. The Nielsen Company, Wellington.

21 Outdoor Recreation Consortium at http://hutsandtracks.org.nz/about/.

22 Support for this approach comes from Roberts, L.; Brower, A.; Kerr, G.; Lambert, S.; McWilliam, W.; Moore, K.; Quinn, J.; Simmons, D.; Thrush, S.; Townsend, M.; Blaschke, P.; Costanza, R.; Cullen, R.; Hughey, K.; Wratten, S. 2015: The nature of wellbeing: how nature's ecosystem services contribute to the wellbeing of New Zealand and New Zealanders. Department of Conservation, Wellington. 145 p. http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/science-and-technical/sap258entire.pdf.

23 Ipsos 2015a.

24 DOC considers that performance has been achieved when the output is within a tolerance level acceptable for the nature of the operation. For field operations, this is generally within +/-10% of the projected performance target. For significant outputs however, as shown on the 'Summary of Output Performance' table, this tolerance is +/-5%. When outside these ranges, a variance comment is provided.

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