Sperm whale flukes, Kaikoura

Image: Andrew Walmsley | ©


Some of New Zealand’s plant and animal species are protected via the following acts.

Conservation Act 1987

The Conservation Act 1987 protects plants and animals on public conservation land.

Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978

The Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 protects all marine mammals.

Wildlife Act 1953

The Wildlife Act 1953 protects all terrestrial vertebrate animals except those specifically excluded or limited in one of the schedules to the act. It also protects some invertebrate and marine fish species declared to be animals for the purposes of the act.

The schedules to the act are reviewed from time to time and may be changed by order in council.

The Native Plants Protection Act 1934

The Native Plants Protection Act 1934 allows for national or regional protection of native plant species by a Warrant issued by the Governor-General. It does not infer any general protection of native plants outside national parks and reserves.

What’s not protected?

Plants, invertebrates and fish are generally not protected except where they occur in national parks or reserves. Exceptions are the few fish and invertebrates deemed to be animals under the Wildlife Act.

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