DOC is working to collaboratively plan the medium to long-term management of very popular destinations across New Zealand. This will ensure they are protected, enhanced and enjoyed, now and into the future.

Destination management planning (DMP) drives proactive, joined-up visitor management for specific sites. Projects usually involve mana whenua, councils, conservation boards, communities, DOC and other agencies.

DMP provides non-statutory strategic direction for cross-jurisdiction visitor management and opportunities. It looks at how visitor demand (both current and predicted) will impact infrastructure, the environment and communities. It then identifies ways to mitigate those impacts and achieve positive outcomes.

DOC’s role in destination management planning

While, DMP projects have differing lead agencies, DOC has a key role in this work:

  • to ensure the protection and enhancement of cultural and natural heritage; and
  • to safe-guard ongoing high-quality access for New Zealanders and others

Through the process, DOC uses its knowledge to advocate:

  • which visitor experiences can be best accommodated where
  • the constraints needed to protect species, places and heritage, and
  • the expectations of iwi, hapū, whānau, visitors, local communities and other stakeholders.

Current destination management projects

Milford Sound Piopiotahi, the Milford Road corridor and wider Southland

DOC is part of the Milford Opportunities Project (MOP) led by Independent Chair Dr Keith Turner. This collaborative project includes: Ngāi Tahu; Southland District Council; Queenstown Lakes District Council; Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; and local businesses. The work will develop non-statutory destination planning, the outcome of which will be a master plan for Piopiotahi, Milford Corridor and surrounds.

Milford Opportunities is a valuable test case for transformational change in sustainably  managing tourism in this area. The Project addresses visitor pressures at Milford Sound Piopiotahi and the Milford access corridor to enhance and sustain this World Heritage Area and people’s enjoyment of it, while harnessing opportunities to support the communities of Southland.

Find out more Milford Opportunities website.

Te Manahuna ki Uta/ Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki

Te Manahuna Ki Uta is a long-term visitor planning project led by Mackenzie District Council. The Basin is recognised as a World Heritage Area, International Dark Sky Reserve and an Outstanding Natural Landscape. For mana whenua, it is a significant cultural landscape, home to Aoraki, where tīpuna live and provide an unbreakable connection to the past. The council is working together with mana whenua and other agencies on DMP for Te Manahuna/Mackenzie Basin.

Visit the Mackenzie District Council website to find out more.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

DOC is initiating work, partnering with whānau, hapū and iwi, to understand the best approach to managing demand at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. When we look at any potential approach there are many important factors we need to consider:

  • safeguarding the cultural and environmental values at place
  • protecting people’s enjoyment of this place and harnessing economic opportunities for iwi and local communities
  • working within current legislative settings
  • possible visitor displacement and any consequences that displaced manuhiri could create.

Community engagement and consultation will be a core element of this work.

Waiau Weheka South Westland

DOC is developing a visitor management strategy to help identify future visitor options for South Westland, particularly glacier country. Key outcomes this project is seeking to enable are:

  • protection of natural and cultural heritage
  • resilience against climate change, and the challenge this presents in maintaining access to the glacier valleys
  • supporting local iwi, hapū, and whanau in re-establishing the cultural footprint of Te Rūnanga Makaawhio in their place
  • building greater community resilience and enhanced wellbeing.

The strategy will be a non-statutory document to inform wider work. Guided by DOC's Heritage & Visitor Strategy, it will provide collaborative, joined-up visitor planning. DOC is working with Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, the local community and national stakeholders (including councils, local business and non-government agencies).

Previous destination management projects

Find out about previous projects DOC has supported including the Arthur’s Pass integrated planning project.

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