The Minister of Conservation is proposing a law change to make it easier to reclassify stewardship land.

Stewardship land is a category of public conservation land that includes land that was allocated to DOC when it was first formed. It includes former State forest and Crown Land that was considered to have conservation value.

About a third of the land we manage is stewardship land (over 2.7 million hectares). It is managed for conservation purposes but does not have any special layer of protection.

DOC is supporting the reclassification of stewardship land to ensure land with conservation and cultural values is protected for future generations to enjoy.


The current process for reclassifying stewardship land is set out in the Conservation Act 1987 with provisions in the National Parks Act 1980 and the Reserves Act 1977.

Work in progress

Cabinet agreed in principle in April 2021 that the legislation be amended to improve the process of reclassifying stewardship land.

Cabinet paper: Improving the process for reclassification of stewardship land

Following this agreement, DOC and the Minister of Conservation developed options for public consultation. 

The decision to open public consultation and release a discussion document with the proposals for streamlining stewardship land reclassification was made by Cabinet.

Cabinet paper: Public consultation on options to streamline the reclassification of conservation portfolio stewardship land

There were six proposals to streamline the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land in the discussion document. The consultation was open from 19 November 2021 to 18 March 2022.

Find more information about the consultation, as well as a summary of submissions received: Streamlining the stewardship land reclassification process.

Next steps

The six proposals, and any feedback received during public consultation, will be considered by the Minister of Conservation and Cabinet.

If the government decides to progress with legislative changes, the public will have the opportunity to consider draft legislation and make submissions during the select committee stage.

More information

Back to top