The challenge of the New Zealand
Department of Conservation is to oversee historic
and natural heritage assets for the greatest
enjoyment and benefit of all the people of New
Zealand through conservation, advocacy, and
promotion of the historic and natural heritage of
the country so that undiminished values are passed
on to generations of the future.
The mission of the department is to conserve New
Zealand’s historic and natural heritage for the
benefit of all its people both now and in the years
to come. This is translated in the Maori language
as: “He ata whakaute, manaaki, me te tiaki ia
Papatuanuku ki Aotearoa kia u tonu ai tona
whakawaiutanga hei oranga ngakau mo te tini te mano
inaianei, ake tonu ake.”
The vision of the department is for the protection of New
Zealand’s historic and natural heritage with the help of its
people through voluntary involvement in the department’s
programs and projects. In the Maori language: “Kei te mahi
ngatahi te Papa Atawhai me nga iwi whanui ki te whakaute, te
manaaki me te tiaki i nga taonga koiora me nga taonga tuku
iho o Aotearoa hei painga mo te katoa.”
The New Zealand Department of Conservation reports directly
to the Minister of Conservation. It operates as a central
government agency but regionally it functions as a
decentralized organization. In Wellington it has a national
office while in other regions it has 12 offices for
conservancy scattered all over New Zealand.
Several of New Zealand's native
fauna are not found anywhere else in the world.
Aside from bats and sea mammals such as dolphins and
seals and, there are no native mammals in New
Zealand. It does have a wide variety of exotic fish,
birds, insects, frogs, and lizards.
New Zealand boasts of having the only flightless
parrot in the world called the kakapo, and the kiwi,
another flightless bird whose beak has nostrils at
Birds of pre-human New Zealand ran free on
the land safe from mammals that would eat them.
Because of this, several bird species lost the
function of their wings.
Also, a large number of other animals have remained
in their ancient forms. Weta (wingless crickets),
grew large enough to function as mice in the food
chain as they searched for food on the forest
It also has a primitive type of frog which
bears live young. New Zealand’s native flora is unique since it evolved in an
isolated state over millions of years.
Almost all the trees
in New Zealand, along with flowering plants and ferns are
found only in this country.
Less than a fourth of New Zealand’s total land area is
covered with native flora, from rainforest covered mostly in
beech, rimu, matai, tawa, and rata to kohekohe forests and
tall kauri; flax and ferns; dune lands with their pingao and
spinifex; sub-alpine and alpine fields of herb; and tussock
Many New Zealand themes in history are managed actively in
over six hundred key sites by the Department of