Learn about the function of the NZCA and what it means to be a member.

The New Zealand Conservation Authority / Te Pou Atawhai Taiao O Aotearoa (NZCA) is an independent statutory body that advises the Minister of Conservation and the Director-General of Conservation on conservation priorities at a national level.

The NZCA is closely involved in conservation planning and policy development affecting the management of public conservation areas administered by the Department of Conservation. 


To ensure for the people of New Zealand, that the richness of New Zealand’s natural and cultural heritage is valued, restored, maintained, and cared for by all, in order to enhance our environment and quality of life.


The functions of the NZCA are set out in section 6B of the Conservation Act 1987 and in the National Parks and Reserves Acts. A major responsibility is the approval of conservation management strategies and national park management plans.

The NZCA may also investigate conservation issues of national importance and advise on national initiatives, policies and strategies affecting public conservation resources.


The New Zealand Conservation Authority has thirteen members appointed by the Minister of Conservation; the Minister will have regard for the interests of conservation, natural sciences, and recreation in making the appointments.

  • two appointed after consultation with the Minister of Maori Affairs
  • two appointed after consultation with the Minister of Tourism
  • one appointed after consultation with the Minister of Local Government
  • one appointed on the nomination of Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu
  • one appointed on the recommendation of the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • one appointed on the recommendation of Forest and Bird
  • one appointed on the recommendation of the Federated Mountain Clubs
  • four appointed from public nominations

Members of the NZCA do not represent the person or organisation that nominated them for membership.  They are appointed for a three-year term and may be re-appointed.

Find out more about the NZCA’s current membership or explore member appointments and responsibilities.

Member responsibilities

NZCA members are expected to:

  • attend all meetings and commit to the work of the NZCA
  • be prepared to work within and respect the legislative framework
  • be prepared to participate in all matters that come before the NZCA
  • understand and follow proper process
  • be aware of and manage conflicts of interest
  • be open-minded and prepared to consider a wide range of views
  • be able to debate issues objectively
  • be prepared to work for a consensus and respect the decisions of the collective.

Before appointment, experience working on a committee or board is useful and an active interest in conservation issues is strongly recommended.

Find out more at Member appointments and responsibilities.


There are six NZCA meetings per year which are scheduled to last two days. The meetings normally take place in Wellington but two meetings a year take place in the rohe of alternating conservation boards, where an inspection of a particular area or a matter under discussion is beneficial.

Members are expected to be prepared and to contribute their views to the meeting. They should have read the meeting papers and have made any enquiries they feel necessary prior to the meeting.

Other work

In addition to the formal NZCA meetings, members will be involved with committees and other sub-groups when required. This could, for example, be following up on NZCA resolutions, or drafting submissions in response to Government discussion documents and draft legislation, read previous submissions made by the NZCA.

Relationship with the Conservation Boards

The NZCA has a liaison member for each conservation board. This liaison attends meetings and provides a means by which boards can communicate issues for the NZCA to consider on a national level. The NZCA can then communicate issues of high importance to the Minister of Conservation.

Fees and expenses

Members are paid a daily meeting fee of $450. Reasonable expenses for travel, accommodation and meals are reimbursed or met as a direct charge to the NZCA.

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