Wanganui/Otira Catchments Conservation Area
Image: Nicole Kunzmann | DOC


DOC is seeking to reclassify stewardship land to ensure land with conservation and cultural values is protected for future generations to enjoy.

Public notification period closed for stewardship land on the West Coast

Submissions closed at 5 pm on 23 August 2022. We asked for your views on the proposed reclassifications for 504 pieces of stewardship land on the West Coast before final decisions are made.

Help us reclassify stewardship land on the West Coast

The process of reclassifying stewardship land usually involves surveying the land, scientific analysis of the species and ecosystems present, working in partnership with Treaty partners, and consultation with the public, which may include submissions and public hearings.

All the cultural, historic, landscape and recreational values of the land must be considered before a decision can be reached.

Given the scale and complexity of this task – there are over 3,000 pieces of stewardship land of varying sizes across New Zealand – most stewardship land has not yet been reclassified.

Improving stewardship land reclassification

In May 2021, the Government announced a two-part project to accelerate the review and reclassification of stewardship land. It included:

  • the establishment of national panels to provide technical assessments and make recommendations to the Minister of Conservation for the reclassification of stewardship land, and
  • legislative change to support the panels and streamline the reclassification process to better enable reclassification to take place.

More information about the project can be found in the Cabinet paper: Improving the process for reclassification of stewardship land.

About the national panels

About legislative change

Reclassified stewardship land

Since DOC was established, and before the start of the project, over 100,000 hectares of stewardship land have been reclassified. This has occurred through processes such as:

  • transfer through Treaty settlement
  • additions to existing national parks or conservation parks and the creation of new national parks (eg Kahurangi National Park and Rakiura National Park both included stewardship land)
  • new conservation parks.

During the same period over 40,000 hectares of stewardship land has also come under DOC management through processes such as tenure review and Nature Heritage Fund purchases.

Examples of reclassifications of stewardship land include the creation of Ka Whata Tu O Rakihouia Conservation Park (2009) and Aotea Conservation Park on Great Barrier Island (2015).

As well as additions to:

  • Hakatere Conservation Park (2008)
  • Ahuriri Conservation Park (2018)
  • Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park (2018)
  • Kahurangi National Park – Mokihinui catchment (2019).

2013 report on stewardship land

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, released a report into the management and administration of stewardship land in 2013. The report identified that much land held in stewardship was of high conservation value.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on stewardship land

In 2015, Dr Wright released an update assessing the response to her recommendations.

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