Flat and upper Acheron, Molesworth Station
Image: Rob Suisted | ©


Conservation management plans are 10-year plans. They provide management direction for specific areas of public conservation lands and waters.


The purpose of a conservation management plan is to implement the conservation management strategy (CMS) and to establish detailed objectives for the integrated management of natural and historic resources within a particular area.

They are developed for areas where there is a greater role for iwi/hapū/whānau in the management of a conservation park or area as a result of the Treaty settlement process, or where there is a high level of activity or a complexity of issues which cannot be satisfactorily dealt with in the conservation management strategy.

Conservation management plans are developed under section 17E of the Conservation Act 1987 and any other applicable legislation including Treaty settlement legsialtion and the Reserves Act 1977.

For example, the Ngāti Whare Claims Settlement act 2012 requires the preparation of the Whirinaki Conservation Management Plan in consultaion with the trustees of Tē Rūnanga o Ngāti Whare, with the Conservation Board and Tē Rūnanga o Ngāti Whare having a joint role in approving the plan.

Conservation management plans also must give effect to General Policy.

Relationship with other statutory plans

Within the area covered by a CMS, there may be areas covered by conservation management plans. Objectives for the management those areas may be included in the conservation management strategy.

The CMS sets the regional framework and national policy approaches. Conservation management plans set detailed objectives, recognising the unique relationship of iwi/hapū/whānau to that place and the combination of inherent values, history and cultural and other associations which can only be fully and appropriately addressed at the plan level.

CMS and national park management plans integrate DOC’s national priorities with local priorities that have been identified through consultation with tangata whenua and others with associations with public conservation land.

Uses of conservation management plans 

The plans have multiple uses, and can vary depending on why there is a need for a conservation management plan in that place. Some of the possible uses include: 

  • an information source for the public
  • to provide direction for DOC in day-to-day work and long-term business planning
  • to provide direction for decision-makers considering proposals from businesses and others who require authorisation to undertake activities within the park
  • as a framework for conservation boards and New Zealand Conservation Authority to monitor the performance of DOC
  • to recognises and fulfil cultural redress requirements under Treaty settlement legislation
  • to enable the creation or amendment of bylaws within the park or reserve to address complex issues.

Treaty settlements affecting parks

Get involved

More information on statutory plans in your region:

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