Project overview

EDS has undertaken a comprehensive review of landscape protection in Aotearoa New Zealand to identify ways to better protect our distinctive natural and cultural landscapes for future. generations.

Our work investigated landscape management in Te Manahuna Mackenzie Basin, Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula, the Waitākere Ragnes and the Hauraki Gulf Islands. We also investigated potential linkages between tourism and landscape protection. In addition, we undertook an in-depth review of case law and landscape assessment practices and examined the application of a te ao Māori approach to landscape.

The results of the project have been published in five individual case study reports and a February 2021 synthesis report titled Caring for the Landscapes of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Pressure on New Zealand’s landscapes is mounting from a number of directions: our population is increasing and becoming more urbanised, agricultural land use has changed, freshwater and ecosystem related environmental concerns are issues of national debate, and tourism has become a major economic sector.

Despite the significance of landscapes to New Zealanders and our tourism industry, their vulnerability to progressive degradation and the importance of protecting them is still poorly understood by many in business, government and affected local communities. The poor landscape outcomes in the Mackenzie Basin and elsewhere also indicate that there is still significant institutional and regulatory failure in protecting important natural landscapes in the public interest.

To help address these issues, EDS undertook a project funded by the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand that:

  1. Examined how existing legislative and policy tools could be more effectively deployed to protect important natural landscapes; and
  2. Explored new tools and models for achieving improved landscape protection in New Zealand.