The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 provides for the special status of the common marine and coastal area as an area that is incapable of ownership.

The common marine and coastal area is the area between the line of mean high water springs (the landward boundary of the part of the beach covered by the ebb and flow of the tide) and the outer limits of the territorial sea (12 nautical miles) excluding existing private titles, the bed of Te Whaanga Lagoon in the Chatham Islands and certain conservation areas.

Find out more about the legislation on the Te Arawhiti website.


Resource Management Act (RMA)

The RMA is the principal statute for managing activities in the coastal marine area. The regional coastal plan is the primary mechanism for determining what can occur in particular areas, and what the environment will be like as a result of management.

Minister of Conservation

The Minister of Conservation has a range of key functions in relation to management and regulation of activities under the Resource Management Act. This includes approving national coastal policy statements and approving regional coastal plans.

The Minister of Conservation has various functions under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act including performing administrative functions which are contemplated by the Act, if the function is not conferred on a local authority or other person.

Regional councils

The detailed management of the environmental resources of the coastal marine area is carried out by regional councils. They prepare regional coastal plans and approve coastal consents under the Resource Management Act.

The Resource Management Act allows regional councils to set, collect and retain rental for occupation.

District councils

District councils do not have planning jurisdiction over the coastal area, but where they have coastal boundaries they are responsible for matters such as the Building Act, and can pass bylaws to control certain types of activities (e.g. dogs, drinking alcohol, driving vehicles) that could affect the public use of these areas.

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation is responsible for supporting the Minister in her roles. A number of active management activities are also undertaken, such as spartina weed control, facilitating public access, health and safety responsibilities etc.

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