Around 80% of New Zealand's trees, bushes and flowers are endemic (found nowhere else in the world) and around 50% of our total land area is covered by native plants.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responsible for conservation efforts across New Zealand. MPI works with DOC to sustainably manage and conserve forests in New Zealand.
- Sustainability limits are set for all harvests.
- During harvesting, trees containing hollows used by native fauna are set aside to provide important habitats for birds and insects.
- MPI runs a variety of schemes to encourage regeneration and additional planting of indigenous forests.
Find out more about the work DOC does
Conserving and developing indigenous forests
Owners of indigenous forest land wishing to conserve or further develop their forests, or landowners wishing to plant indigenous forests, may be able to get support from the Māori Land Court, Te Puni Kōkiri, and MPI.
The Māori Land Court and online database
The Māori Land Court plays an important role in the administration of Māori land in accordance with the provisions of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993. It helps Māori landowners by promoting retention, use, development and control of Māori land.
The Court also manages an online database of indigenously-held land. The database allows people to search for land ownership by name, trust, reservation or incorporation.
Te Puni Kōkiri
Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) works in partnership with other government agencies and stakeholders to:
- design and deliver policies that affect Māori
- ensure Māori concerns and views around land and environment are integrated into government policies and practices.
TPK runs the Whenua Māori Fund. The Fund supports Māori land owners to explore different uses of land and ways of boosting its productivity. Find out more on TPK's website.
Funding and programmes for forestry
MPI administers grants and development programmes in the forestry sector.
View our full range of forestry funding and programmes
Find out more
Learn how some private forest owners are maximising the value of their indigenous forests:
- Indigenous forestry on private land: present trends and future potential [PDF, 80 KB]
- Guide to preparing draft SFM plans, permit applications, and annual logging plans [PDF, 7.3 MB]
Improving indigenous land
There are several options available for owners of indigenous forest who want to improve the biodiversity or conservation value of their land. They include using Department of Conservation (DOC) funds and setting up open space covenants.
The Ngā Whenua Rāhui fund provides protection for Māori landowners through the use of 25-year renewable kawenata (covenants).
The Mātauranga Kura Taiao Fund seeks to preserve the customs, history and stories associated with Māori land and tikanga.
Mātauranga Kura Taiao Fund – DOC
The Nature Heritage Fund is an independent, contestable fund available to all privately owned land with a high biodiversity or ecological value.
National Trust open space covenants
The Queen Elizabeth II National Trust is an independent statutory organisation and a registered charity.
It was set up by an act of the same name in 1977 to 'encourage and promote, for the benefit of New Zealand, the provision, protection, preservation and enhancement of open space'.
Open space is defined in the Act as any area of land or body of water that:
- serves to preserve or facilitate preservation of any landscape
- is of aesthetic, cultural, recreational, scenic, scientific or social interest or value.
A National Trust open space covenant is a voluntary, legally binding protection agreement that is registered on the title of the land. Once in place, it binds the current and all future owners of the land it covers.
Each covenant is unique:
- It can apply to a whole property or part of a property.
- There can be different management areas within a covenant – each with varying conditions.
- Conditions may be inflexible where rare or vulnerable natural features or habitats are being protected.
Open space covenants are usually in perpetuity (unending) but fixed term covenants may be put in place in some cases.
Find out more on the QEII National Trust website
Transitioning exotic plantations to native forest
Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service commissioned a report on what is known about transitioning exotic forest plantations to native forest. The report covers practical considerations of establishing native forest. It also explores important areas for further research, including:
- how long it takes to transition a forest from exotic to native forest
- how much native forest regeneration is needed for the forest to establish
- the limits of native seed dispersal
- the impacts of introduced herbivores like possums and deer.
Transitioning exotic plantations to native forest: A report on the state of knowledge 2021-22 [PDF, 10 MB]
Transitioning exotic plantations to native forest: practical guidance for landowners [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Forest restoration costs
Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service commissioned a report on the cost of establishing native forest. The data comes from a national survey of forest restoration projects.
Review of actual forest restoration costs: Contract Report Prepared for Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service, November 2021 [PDF, 3.6 MB]
Who to contact
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