Stylised depiction of various New Zealand native fauna and flora.
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Read the Options Development Group March 2022 report: Partial Reviews of the Conservation General Policy and General Policy for National Parks regarding the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Options Development Group (ODG) is an independent body established in September 2020 to assist DOC in the partial reviews of the Conservation General Policy and General Policy for National Parks (the general policies). The ODG was asked to develop proposed changes to the general policies to better reflect Treaty partnership.

The group was also asked to identify current limitations within DOC’s wider policy settings and legislation and possible remedies to these.

More about the ODG and its membership.

Download the report


Partial Reviews of the Conservation General Policy and the General Policy for National Parks regarding the Treaty of Waitangi, March 2022 (PDF, 1,065K)

ISBN 978-0-473-62881-9 (online)

Te Reo Māori

Arotake whāiti o te kaupapa here arowhānui tiakanga taiao, o te kaupapa here arowhānui hoki mō ngā whenua rāhui ā-motu e pā ana ki Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Āperira 2022 (PDF, 1,071K)

ISBN 978-0-473-62881-9 (ā-ipurangi)


In August 2019, the then Minister of Conservation and the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) directed DOC to undertake concurrent reviews of the general policies.

The main drivers behind the initiation of this review were:

  1. the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki case, which was the first time in over 20 years that the superior courts had considered DOC’s responsibilities under section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987;
  2. the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal in the Wai 262 claim; and 
  3. the Government’s priority to build closer partnerships with Māori.

DOC has chosen to proactively release the ODG report in the interests of transparency and to allow for informed discussion of the recommendations relating to the partial reviews of general policy.

The Director-General of DOC will consult the Minister of Conservation and the NZCA about the ODG report and its recommendations. No decisions have been made on the ODG’s recommendations. 

Partial reviews of the general policies

General policies must be consistent with legislation. They outline what DOC must consider when making decisions, such as how it:

  1. works with whānau, hapū and iwi and the wider community on particular issues
  2. sets conservation objectives or outcomes for specific areas
  3. prioritises conservation work within a region, and
  4. considers applications for concessions and similar decisions.

More about the ODG’s work and the partial review process.

Overview of the report's recommendations

The ODG report makes a suite of recommendations on how the Treaty of Waitangi should be incorporated into conservation management.

These are broken down into seven primary recommendations:

  • Fundamental Reform: Transform conservation through a fundamental reform of the conservation system.
  • Purpose of Conservation: Reframe the purpose of conservation to ensure it is fit-for-purpose for Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Kawa, Tikanga and Mātauranga: Centre kawa, tikanga, and mātauranga within the conservation system.
  • Lands, Waters, Resources, Indigenous Species and Other Taonga: Recast the legal status of conservation lands, waters, resources, indigenous species and other taonga.
  • Te Tiriti Partnership: Reform conservation governance and management to reflect Te Tiriti partnership at all levels.
  • Tino Rangatiratanga: Enable devolution of powers and functions including decision-making to meaningfully recognise the role and exercise of rangatiratanga.
  • Resourcing: Build capability and capacity within DOC and tangata whenua to give effect to Te Tiriti.

Next steps

Following discussions between the Minister and the NZCA, revised general policies will be drafted and put out for public consultation. This will involve a formal public notification, hui, public meetings and a formal submissions process.

The NZCA and the Minister of Conservation will make the final decisions on any changes to the general policies.

The ODG report also provides useful insights for the wider conservation law reform programme. The conservation law reform programme was announced by the Minister of Conservation in December 2021 and will look at the full suite of conservation law and how it currently functions.

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