Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


On 1 April 2012 DOC turned 25 years old. 2012 also marks 125 years since Tongariro National Park was gifted to the nation and 60 years since the establishment of New Zealand’s National Parks Act.

Date:  31 March 2012

DOC's 25th anniversary.
DOC turned 25 years old on 1 April 2012

2012 is a milestone year for New Zealand conservation.

This year marks 125 years since Tongariro National Park was gifted to the nation and 60 years since the establishment of New Zealand’s first National Parks Act.

It is also the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Coming together for conservation

On April 1987, the conservation functions of several separate organisations were brought together to form DOC.

The new DOC team included staff from the New Zealand Forest Service, Department of Lands and Survey, and two former areas of the Department of Internal Affairs: the Wildlife Service, and the Archaeology Section of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

New Zealand became one of the first Governments in the world to group all of its conservation functions into one organisation, with a clear mandate to protect and restore unique places, flora and fauna.

Over the last 25 years DOC has built on the successes of our predecessors and continued to grow conservation by working in partnership with New Zealanders.

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DOC sign for "Tongariro National Park : World Heritage Area" with Mount Ruapehu in the background, Tongariro National Park. Photo: Ross Henderson.
This year marks 125 years since Tongariro National Park was gifted to the nation

Making a difference

With your support, we’ve achieved a lot:

  • We’ve continued work begun by the New Zealand Wildlife Service to bring native species back from the brink of extinction, including the kākāpō, takahē, black robin, North Island kōkako and the New Zealand fairy tern.
  • An additional 660,000 hectares of high-value conservation land has been added to our conservation estate.
  • 13,000 square kilometres of New Zealand waters are now marine reserves (up from only 30 square kilometres in 1987). 
  • Three new national parks have been created, bringing the total to 14.
  • Many historically significant sites have been restored including the Denniston mine, Ship Cove, Karangahake Gorge and the Central Otago Chinese settlement.
  • We’ve built and upgraded tracks, huts and recreational facilities around the country. 

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Trampers in beach dunes at Masons Bay, part of the NZCA and DOC trip to Stewart Island, Rakiura Southern Circut. Photo: Elena Sedouch.
Rakiura National Park opened ten years ago, in 2002, and is the newest of
New Zealand's 14 national parks

A large number of other organisations and community groups have also led important initiatives that have made a big difference to conservation.

All New Zealanders reap the benefits of this work. Healthy and functioning ecosystems are vital to ensuring we have the natural resources needed for a prosperous future. Our native plants, animals and wild places all play a part in ensuring we have access to clean water, quality air and fertile soils now and in the future.

How can you get involved?

DOC's vision is to make sure New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth. We can't achieve that vision on our own. There are a wide range of ways you can get involved and play your part.

  • Get out and enjoy the conservation areas in your region. Exploring our natural world is the best way to learn about conservation.
    • Parks & recreation
  • If your business, community group or not-for-profit organisation wants to support our work, or initiate a local conservation project, we'd love to hear from you.
    • Partnerships & donations 
  • We have opportunities for volunteers to get their hands dirty and make a difference, whether with DOC or other organisations. You can also help fight pests or protect native species in your own garden or farm.
    • Volunteer, join or start a project
  • We welcome donations to our conservation programmes.
    • Donate to conservation programmes.
  • There will be activities and events taking place around the country in September, when we celebrate Conservation Week (9-16 September). Keep an eye on the DOC website for more information. 
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