How to apply for authorisation to construct and maintain access related structures and tracks on the Sounds Foreshore Reserve.

The Sounds Foreshore Reserve occupies 900 km of the Marlborough Sounds coastline. It is owned by all New Zealanders and is managed on their behalf by DOC. 

For more information on when and what you are permitted to construct on the Sounds Foreshore Reserve see Private access structures on Sounds Foreshore Reserve.

Transfer of Sounds Foreshore Reserve concessions and licences

When a property adjoining the Sounds Foreshore Reserve changes hands DOC authorisation for private structures or activities on the Sounds Foreshore Reserve must be transferred to the new owner. This can be arranged by the new owner once they receive the Record of Title.

For more information about transferring a Sounds Foreshore Reserve licence or concession(s) into your name contact the Christchurch office

Pre-application meetings

Applying for a Sounds Foreshore Reserve concession can be complex. We strongly advise you to have a pre-application meeting with DOC prior to submitting your application.

This is a free service offered by DOC and may assist in saving you time and money. 

We’ll help you to:

  • understand the concession you will need to apply for.
  • navigate our statutory planning documents, so you can consider whether the activity you wish to undertake is consistent with them.
  • understand DOC’s responsibility to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, which requires consultation with Treaty Partners on most applications. If you wish, DOC can help you contact the local iwi, hapū, and whānau to assess whether your proposed activity will have any cultural effects. Often this consultation can enhance the activity you are considering.

To arrange a pre-application meeting contact the Christchurch office

Type of concession

You may need different types of authorisation from DOC. For example, a Sounds Foreshore Reserve lease concession for your boatshed, and an easement concession for the power and water running to your boatshed.

Your DOC advisor will advise on what concession(s) you will need in your pre-application meeting.

Apply for your concession(s)

  1. Identify which type of concession(s) you require at your pre-application meeting
  2. Follow the process for easement concessions (if other concessions are needed, more information will be provided in your pre-application meeting)
  3. Fill in the SFR application form for existing and new buildings/structures where applicable:

    Application form (PDF, 588K)
    Application form (DOCX, 105K)

  4. Email the form(s) along with the relevant documents requested to

Note: Contact the Marlborough District Council for any building permit or resource consent requirements.


Complex applications could take a number of months to be processed.

See How long it takes to process an application for more information on application timeframes.



You will be required to pay the processing fee(s) relevant to the concession(s) you have applied for. The processing fee for a Sounds Foreshore Reserve lease concession is likely to be in the range of $4,000-$7,000 (plus GST), depending on how complex the application is. You will be provided with a fee estimate once your application has been assigned to an advisor.

You will also be required to annual for your private use of public land. This fee will be based on the size, type and location of the encroachment. 

Note: If you require other concessions (e.g. an easement concession), separate processing fees will apply to that in the range of $2,500-$4,000 (plus GST), depending on how complex the application is. You will be provided with a fee estimate once your application has been assigned to an advisor.

You will also be required to pay ongoing concession fees if your application is approved.

Contact us

For more information or assistance with your application contact our Christchurch office. 

Permissions Advisor (Support)
Private Bag 4715
Christchurch Mail Centre
Christchurch 8140
Phone: +64 3 371 3700

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