Submissions closed Friday 18 March 2022. We asked for your views on how to improve the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land through legislative reform.


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 stewardship land

Submissions closed Friday 18 March 2022. 

You can find more information about the reclassification process on the stewardship land webpage.

About the consultation

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.

In practice, it usually involves surveying the land, scientific analysis of the species and ecosystems present, working in partnership with tangata whenua – iwi, hapū and whānau, and consultation with the public, which may include submissions and public hearings.

Most stewardship land has not yet been reclassified due to the scale and complexity of the task, and this has led to uncertainty about its status.

The Government has announced a package of measures to improve the process for the reclassification of stewardship land. This package includes:

  • reviewing legislation relating to the reclassification of stewardship land
  • establishing two national expert panels (the national panels) to assess stewardship land and make recommendations to the Minister of Conservation on revised classifications.

As part of the legislative review, we have identified six areas where changes could streamline the process.

We are seeking your feedback on options relating to:

  1. Improving consistency of public notification and submission processes.
  2. Enabling the national panels to carry out the public notification and submission process.
  3. Clarifying responsibilities for making recommendations to reclassify stewardship land as national park.
  4. Removing the statutory step to declare all stewardship land to be held for conservation purposes before it can be reclassified or disposed of.
  5. Enabling the Minister of Conservation to direct proceeds from the sale of stewardship land to DOC. 
  6. Clarifying the status of concessions on reclassified stewardship land.

DOC has not indicated a preferred option in the discussion document. DOC will consider the views of submitters when undertaking further analysis and use that information to inform any advice on a preferred option.

Discussion document

We have prepared a document that provides more detail on the six proposals to streamline the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land.

Refer to this document when preparing your submission. 

Stewardship land in Aotearoa New Zealand discussion document (PDF, 9,219K)

Out of scope

While the national panels and the review of legislation relating to stewardship land are both part of the broader stewardship land reclassification project, this paper is only seeking your views on amendments to the conservation legislation.

We are not seeking views on the work of the national panels to consider and make recommendations on the future land status of stewardship land parcels.

The national panels will be seeking public feedback on individual parcels of stewardship land through their work and will notify the public of these opportunities. You can find out more and keep up to date with these opportunities as they arise by checking the Stewardship land reclassification – national panels webpage.

Submissions closed 18 March 2022

We sought feedback on the six proposals, outlined in the discussion document, which aim to make the process for reclassifying and disposing of stewardship land more efficient and effective.

We prepared a form with prompt questions to help people submit their response. Once completed, the form was sent to us via email or printed and posted.

Submission form (DOCX, 393K)

Submission form (PDF, 528K)

You were free to prepare your own response without the form.

All submissions had to be received by DOC by the end of Friday, 18 March 2022. This was a four-month consultation period. 

During the public consultation period, DOC will also undertake more targeted consultation with tangata whenua – iwi, hapū and whānau, through virtual or in-person meetings and regional hui.

DOC will also hold meetings with key stakeholder groups with an interest in stewardship land and will be inviting individuals and groups to provide written submissions.

DOC will publish a summary of submissions

A summary of submissions received will be published on this web page in 2022. 

Your submission may be released publicly

All submissions are subject to the Official Information Act and can be released under this Act. If you have specific reasons for wanting to have your submission withheld, explain your reasons in the submission. Your reasons will be considered when making any assessment for the release of submissions under the Official Information Act. 

What happens next

DOC will analyse all submissions and then report back to the Minister of Conservation on the feedback, with recommendations for her consideration in 2022. Your submission will help inform policy decisions to improve stewardship land reclassification.

If the government decides to progress with legislative changes, the public will have the opportunity to make submissions during the select committee process. This process would likely occur in the second half of 2022.


If you have questions, please email the stewardship land team:

Back to top