Submissions closed Friday 18 March 2022. We asked for your views on how to improve the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land through legislative reform.

Stewardship land is a category of public conservation land that includes land that was allocated to DOC when it was first formed. It includes former state forest and Crown land that was considered to have conservation value.

About stewardship land

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Submissions closed 18 March 2022

We sought feedback on the six proposals, outlined in the discussion document, which aim to make the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land more efficient and effective.

Submitters were invited to use an optional form (PDF, 528K or DOCX, 393K), or to submit directly in writing to

All submissions had to be received by DOC by the end of Friday, 18 March 2022. This was a four-month consultation period. 

During the public consultation period, DOC undertook more targeted consultation with tangata whenua – iwi, hapū and whānau, through virtual or in-person meetings and regional hui.

DOC also held meetings with key stakeholder groups with an interest in stewardship land.

Read the summary of submissions

DOC received 166 submissions from a wide range of stakeholders. Information about the consultation process and submitters, and a summary of the key points and themes from the consultation is provided in this report.

Summary of submissions (PDF, 6,530K)

Your submission may be released publicly

All submissions are subject to the Official Information Act (external site) and can be released under this Act. If you had specific reasons for wanting to have your submission withheld, you had to explain your reasons in the submission. Your reasons will be considered when making any assessment for the release of submissions under the Official Information Act. 

At this stage submissions will not be publicly released. DOC will contact submitters if submissions are to be released.

What happens next

DOC has analysed all submissions and has reported to the Minister of Conservation on the feedback received, with recommendations for her consideration in 2022. 

If the government decides to progress with legislative changes, the public will have the opportunity to make submissions during the select committee process.

Follow the progress of the legislative changes

About the consultation

The current process for reclassifying stewardship land is set out in the Conservation Act 1987 with provisions in the National Parks Act 1980 and the Reserves Act 1977.

In practice, it usually involves surveying the land, scientific analysis of the species and ecosystems present, working in partnership with tangata whenua – iwi, hapū and whānau, and consultation with the public, which may include submissions and public hearings.

Most stewardship land has not yet been reclassified due to the scale and complexity of the task, and this has led to uncertainty about its status.

The Government has announced a package of measures to improve the process for the reclassification of stewardship land. This package includes:

  • reviewing legislation relating to the reclassification of stewardship land
  • establishing two national expert panels (the national panels) to assess stewardship land and make recommendations to the Minister of Conservation on revised classifications.

As part of the legislative review, we have identified six areas where changes could streamline the process.

We are seeking your feedback on options relating to:

  1. Improving consistency of public notification and submission processes.
  2. Enabling the national panels to carry out the public notification and submission process.
  3. Clarifying responsibilities for making recommendations to reclassify stewardship land as national park.
  4. Removing the statutory step to declare all stewardship land to be held for conservation purposes before it can be reclassified or disposed of.
  5. Enabling the Minister of Conservation to direct proceeds from the sale of stewardship land to DOC. 
  6. Clarifying the status of concessions on reclassified stewardship land.

DOC has not indicated a preferred option in the discussion document. DOC will consider the views of submitters when undertaking further analysis and use that information to inform any advice on a preferred option.

Discussion document

We prepared a document that provides more detail on the six proposals to streamline the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land.

Submitters were asked to refer to this document when preparing their submission.

Stewardship land in Aotearoa New Zealand discussion document (PDF, 9,219K)

Out of scope

While the national panels and the review of legislation relating to stewardship land are both part of the broader stewardship land reclassification project, this paper is only seeking your views on amendments to the conservation legislation.

We are not seeking views on the work of the national panels to consider and make recommendations on the future land status of stewardship land parcels.

The national panels will be seeking public feedback on individual parcels of stewardship land through their work and will notify the public of these opportunities. You can find out more and keep up to date with these opportunities as they arise by checking the Stewardship land reclassification – national panels webpage.


If you have questions, please email the stewardship land team:

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