One third of New Zealand’s land mass, 14 national parks, 34 marine reserves covering 1.28 million hectares and six marine mammal sanctuaries covering 2.4 million hectares are in the conservation estate.
New Zealand has gained an international reputation for its programmes conserving protected native freshwater fisheries, fish habitats and native wildlife. In New Zealand, recreation on the lands and waters under conservation management is encouraged; this is a major component of New Zealand’s significant tourism industry. Under New Zealand’s concessions framework, the Department of Conservation (DOC) manages historic sites, visitor facilities and authorises tourism operations on public conservation lands and waters. DOC has over 4,000 concessionaires.
New Zealand welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors to 24 visitor centres, and boasts a network of 14,000 km of track, 2,200 km of road and 970 cabins for overnight stays. Other third-party activity on conservation land includes grazing, mining and telecommunications.
New Zealand partners internationally in a range of areas, including:
- fresh water management
- endangered/native species protection, and approaches for measuring and managing plant and animal biodiversity
- environmental management frameworks, including regulatory environment, community engagement and enforcement
- eco-tourism, including commercial partnerships
- public-private partnerships in environmental management
- environmental education
- maintaining productive soils
- advanced informatics, modelling and environmental data management.