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Protecting our precious places

About us

Our mission is: partnering to protect special places on private land for the benefit of present and future generations.

Our vision is to grow the network of protected places in New Zealand.

Queen Elizabeth II National Trust is an independent statutory organisation and a registered charity. It was set up in 1977 to 'encourage and promote, for the benefit of New Zealand, the provision, protection, preservation and enhancement of open space'.

Open Space (as described in the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Act 1977) means any area of land or body of water that serves to preserve or to facilitate the preservation of any landscape of aesthetic, cultural, recreational, scenic, scientific or social interest or value.

What we do

Our core objective is to secure long-term protection of natural and cultural features on private land with covenants.

We partner with landowners to achieve this objective. Landowners throughout the country are voluntarily protecting around 180,000ha (at 30 June 2014) of their land with covenants, an area similar in size to Rakiura/Stewart Island.

We act as the perpetual trustee to ensure the covenant remains protected forever.

We work closely with the Department of Conservation, regional and district councils, Heritage New Zealand, Landcare Research, the New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust, and many other groups, organisation, and individuals committed to protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s landscapes and biodiversity.

The National Trust owns 27 properties, which collectively protect 1396ha of significant habitat. These have mostly been gifted to the Trust. Stewardship of these properties is greatly helped by local communities and management committees.

Features protected by National Trust 'open space' covenants

  • Landscapes
  • Native forest remnants
  • High country
  • Wetlands
  • Tussock grasslands
  • Threatened species habitats
  • Cultural sites
  • Streams and water features
  • Arboretums
  • Coastlines
  • Geological features
  • Archaeological features
  • Wildlife habitats

What does the National Trust offer to landowners?

  • A relationship independent of other agencies
  • Over 30 years’ experience working in partnership with private landowners throughout the country
  • Expertise in legal protection (open space covenants) and legal documentation
  • Possible funding assistance eg, partial fencing costs
  • Survey arrangement and costs (but not in the case of subdivision)
  • Lodgement of all necessary documentation with Land Information New Zealand to formally register the covenant on the property title
  • Local representatives who monitor the health of covenants and provide practical management advice.


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