DOC boat

Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


We enforce laws to protect our natural and historic resources and wildlife. You can help by reporting anything you believe is wrong.

How you can help

If you see any illegal activity, contact the 24-hour DOC emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) immediately and report it.

If you're Deaf, hearing impaired, Deafblind or speech impaired you can use the New Zealand Relay Service to call us.

You can help us by providing:

  • the location
  • vehicle/trailer registration number
  • boat name
  • description of the person
  • photographs if possible.

When reporting any suspected illegal activity put your personal safety first. All calls and personal details are treated as confidential.

DOC has trained warranted officers located in most of our district offices throughout New Zealand who are available to investigate conservation law offences.

You can also contact your local DOC office to report suspicious activity - see DOC office contact details.

Examples of illegal activity

  • People using illegal gear or methods for whitebating.
  • Taking sports fish without a licence.
  • Pishing in closed season.
  • poaching in marine reserves.
  • Taking dogs into controlled areas such as national parks.
  • Camping in prohibited areas.
  • Using drones without authorisation.
  • Unlawful taking of fully protected species.
  • Theft of native trees.
  • Harvesting protected flora.
  • Modification of public conservation lands, eg land development within marginal strips and vegetation clearance.

Our role in enforcing laws

DOC is responsible for protecting and nurturing more than a third of New Zealand’s landscape, marine protected areas and thousands of precious and endangered species.

We also enforce conservation laws protecting these special places and species. A few examples of these laws are:

  • in marine reserves all marine life is protected, and it is an offence to take any marine life, or to disturb marine life on the seabed
  • most of our native bird species, geckos, lizards, some frogs and invertebrates are absolutely protected
  • marine mammals, such as seals, dolphins and whales, are protected and commercial interaction is strictly regulated
  • modifying, taking or damaging trees, plants and landscapes, and damaging historic and natural features is unlawful unless specifically authorised.

Significant penalties can be imposed by the courts on anybody found flouting these laws. Prison sentences have been given to people who have taken absolutely protected wildlife and attempted to smuggle native geckos out of New Zealand.

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