Karst is widely distributed throughout New Zealand, often on public conservation land managed by the Department of Conservation, but it is a very minor component of the overall landscape - which makes what is there special.


The caves at Waitomo and the “Marble Mountain” and caves near Takaka are well known examples of landforms collectively referred to as “karst”. Karst include a variety of distinctive and often spectacular surface and underground features, formed predominantly by the dissolving action of water, which are much prized by iwi and other local people and sought out by visitors and tourists. Karst areas usually also include distinctive soils, micro-climates, flora, fauna and patterns

Karst areas or features are often fragile, and require special management to minimise adverse effects. It is, therefore, important that there are well understood guidelines to help to manage them, in order to conserve their unique character.

These guidelines have been prepared to help DOC staff to more effectively manage karst and karst-like areas. They will be used to help to make management decisions about specific sites and implement conservation management strategies.


Whare Kaupapa Atawhai / Conservation House Head Office
Phone:   +64 4 471 0726
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   18 Manners Street
Wellington 6011
Postal Address:   PO Box 10420
Wellington 6140
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