How to apply to the Nature Heritage Fund
IntroductionFind out how to apply to the Nature Heritage Fund.
The fund is currently closed
For information on when the next funding round will open, subscribe to our mailing list. Email NHF-Admin@doc.govt.nz with the subject 'subscribe'.
Your application must be on the official application form and accompanied by the required supporting material. Provide a full application, preferably electronically. Before you submit your application, assess it against the application checklist.
In cases involving land purchase, information provided is to be treated as commercially sensitive and should remain confidential between the applicant and the fund, or those whom the fund needs to consult in the process.
- Application form (Word, 173K)
- Application checklist (Word, 161K)
- Information for applicants and criteria - see below or How the Nature Heritage Fund operates and its criteria (PDF, 332K).
Funding applications may be for:
- land purchase and initial associated costs (eg fencing, survey, valuation and title transfer fees)
- covenant and initial associated costs (eg fencing, survey and covenant and registration fees)
Applications are subject to protection negotiations. The fund’s policy is to use an independent negotiator.
Applications are unlikely to be successful where they are for:
- commercially-oriented projects including:
- subdivision of land where protection of natural areas is a condition of a resource consent, or
- those projects involving future production of indigenous timber
- projects which are appropriately funded for water and soil purposes by regional councils
- projects which are ordinarily the responsibility of local government
- restoration projects, administration/staffing/management of projects.
Preparing your application
Applications must include an assessment against the fund's core criteria, guided by the statements and questions.
You will also need to provide:
- colour photographs of the area to be protected – it helps if property and proposal boundaries are marked
- maps giving a strategic overview of the general area showing existing protected areas and other areas under consideration for protection.
- if relevant, provide a statement on how the application meets national protection priorities for native biodiversity. These priorities are detailed in Protecting our Places: Introducing the national priorities for protecting rare and threatened native biodiversity on private land (PDF, 284K).
For guidance on how to produce this statement, refer to How the Nature Heritage Fund operates and its criteria (PDF, 345K).
- if relevant, an assessment against any regional protection strategy.
As a matter of policy the Nature Heritage Fund Committee will recommend approval of acquisition proposals as scenic reserves under the Reserves Act 1977 and covenant proposals as conservation covenants under the Reserves Act 1977. Exceptions to such status will be considered if justification is provided in the application.
All covenant agreements funded will include Nature Heritage Fund standard covenant conditions.
All applications received will be acknowledged and a project number provided.
All correspondence and communications concerning the application to be directed through the Funds Advisor, Nature Heritage Fund, and are to quote the project number provided.
Applications are checked to ensure they meet the fund’s criteria. Further information may be requested if necessary.
Nature Heritage Fund Committee
Applications that meet the fund's eligibility criteria are considered by the Nature Heritage Fund Committee. The committee may request further information, may need to visually inspect a site, or may require presentations by applicants.
The committee assesses each application based on the fund's criteria and submits recommendation/s to the Minister of Conservation for his/her decision. Applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application once the Minister's decision has been made. Allow at up to 6 months from the application closing date to be notified of the outcome of your application. The time estimation may be delayed due to occurrences such as an election, and/or holiday period.
Unsuccessful applicants may be invited to amend their applications and resubmit them for further consideration.
The Minister of Conservation reserves the exclusive right to issue media statements concerning successful Nature Heritage Fund projects.
Grants that have been approved by the Minister will be made subject to conditions.
Payment of grants will be staged until protection has been finalised.
Successful applicants having an ongoing role in the project will be required to provide regular progress reports until project completion.
Because the fund operates in a highly competitive commercial land purchase market it is important that all information is provided in confidence.
The fund reserves the right to disclose any information provided in the application in the process of assessing applications and negotiating purchases to consultants, DOC, or other parties it considers necessary.
Because public disclosure of information, lobbying or pre-negotiation may prejudice the outcome of the application, applicants are not to disclose information provided in the application to other parties without the express permission of the fund.
In cases where the applicant is not the landowner, care should be taken if discussing potential purchases with the landowner. Applicants should be careful not to raise landowner’s expectations, disclose information or to enter into direct negotiation that may prejudice the outcome of their application to the fund.
For further information about the Nature Heritage Fund:
Phone: 0800 86 20 20
The Funds Advisor
Nature Heritage Fund
PO Box 10-420