Barnsey's guide to  Sanctuary areas and Ecological areas

Do you know your parks from your reserves? Which ones might be swapped tomorrow, which will be there for your grandchildren? Understand the legalese behind the land parcels that collectively constitute our public conservation land.

In this occasional series, we attempt to unravel and demystify the different types of conservation land and other public land that is important to outdoor recreationalists.  

Sanctuary areas are limited in number and distribution. Most were set aside by the former New Zealand Forest Service as a result of conservation activism in the 1970s and 1980s. They preserve important forest types, such as the magnificent kauri forest remnants in Northland. The 9,105-hectare Waipoua Forest Sanctuary, containing Tāne Mahuta and other giant kauri, was the first to be created, in 1952. One of the more recent is Whirinaki Sanctuary, created in the 1980s to protect the podocarp forests of Whirinaki Forest Park. Sanctuary areas areas are protected from mining by being listed in Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991

Ecological areas are usually large (1,000–5,000 hectares) and are representative of all the main ecosystems in a defined ecological district. Like sanctuary areas, most were designated by the Forest Service as a result of forest conservation controversies in the 1970s and 1980s. Most are on the West Coast of the South Island, and in Southland and the Bay of Plenty. The public can access them, but dogs are prohibited.

Like wilderness areas, sanctuary and ecological area status usually overlays another land status.

Most of this item was sourced from  

Licensed by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

Next time: Regional Parks

David Barnes is a long serving member of the FMC executive. He is FMC’s nominee to the NZ Conservation Authority, the public representative board which provides advice to DOC and the Minister of Conservation.