Overview of DOC's role

Tree in Tongariro National Park. Photo: Christian Evans.
Tree in Tongariro National Park

DOC’s responsibilities are captured in its Māori name Te Papa Atawhai. Te papa signifies a box or container (for taonga/treasures) and atawhai is the act of caring, nurturing or preserving.

DOC has a leading role in conservation work that contributes to our prosperity, including: 

  • Managing natural and historic heritage on roughly one third of New Zealand’s land area, as well as marine environments
  • Doing hands-on work with species and ecosystems
  • Managing national parks, high country parks, forest parks, reserves, offshore islands, and historic sites
  • Building and maintaining outdoor recreation facilities
  • Working with tourism operators and others running businesses on public conservation areas
  • Leading conservation research and science
  • Sharing information and partnering with others including iwi, communities, non-government organisations, businesses, conservation boards, and central and local government
  • Advocating for the conservation of natural and historic heritage