Wanganui/Otira Catchments Conservation Area
Image: Nicole Kunzmann | DOC

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


An important step has been taken to support the reclassification of stewardship land DOC has announced.

Date:  19 November 2021

“The Department of Conservation (DOC) is seeking public feedback on proposed legislative changes to streamline the reclassification process,” says Kayla Kingdon-Bebb, DOC Policy Director.

DOC has launched a discussion document on proposed law changes to make the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land more efficient and effective.

“The goal is to speed up and simplify the reclassification process so land with conservation value is identified and managed appropriately, while land with very low or no conservation value can be made available for other uses,” says Kayla Kingdon-Bebb.

“The proposed law change will see more efficient public consultation and ensure the process to reclassify stewardship land is fit-for-purpose.”

Feedback is being sought on:

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

Visit the stewardship land reclassification consultation page for more information on the discussion document. Submissions close Friday 18 March 2022.

Along with the proposed legislative changes, it has been confirmed Ngāi Tahu cultural values and interests will be captured in the reclassification process through the addition of a Ngāi Tahu mana whenua panel to work with two national panels.

The Ngāi Tahu-appointed mana whenua panel will provide the national panels information on mahika kai (natural resources practices), mātauranga Māori (knowledge) and other Ngāi Tahu interests in relation to stewardship land within its takiwā.

Background information

Stewardship land is the term given for land that was allocated to DOC when it was formed in 1987. This includes former state forest and Crown land that were considered to have conservation value.

Stewardship areas are ‘conservation areas’ under the Conservation Act which are managed to protect the natural and historic values present on the land.

Stewardship areas do not have to be reclassified for their conservation values to be managed and protected.

Stewardship areas can be disposed of, exchanged or reclassified to add greater protection that reflects the conservation values present.

Around one third of the conservation land managed by DOC is categorised as stewardship land, approximately 2,740,000 ha – 9% of New Zealand.

The Ngāi Tahu-appointed mana whenua panel members are:

  • Francois Tumahai, Chair of Ngāti Waewae Rūnanga
  • Paul Madgwick, Chair of Makaawhio Rūnanga
  • Maurice Manawatū, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura Cultural Pou Chair
  • Gail Thompson, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu appointee (Rūnanga Representative from Awarua).

The national panels, appointed by the Minister of Conservation, comprise technical experts with capability in ecology, earth sciences, landscape, recreation, heritage and mātauranga Māori.

More information about the national panels can be found on the Stewardship land reclassification - national panels web page.


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