This is a timeline of environmental history of New Zealand. It includes notable events affecting the natural environment of New Zealand as a result of human activity.
The national parks of New Zealand are protected natural areas administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). The first national parks established in the country were all focused on mountain scenery. Since the 1980s the focus has been on developing a more diverse representation of New Zealand landscapes. The parks are all culturally significant and many also contain historic features. Tongariro National Park is one of the World Heritage Sites that are of both cultural and natural significance, while four of the South Island national parks form Te Wahipounamu, another World Heritage Site. There are currently 13 national parks; a 14th, Te Urewera National Park, was disestablished in 2014.
New Zealand is divided into sixteen regions for local government purposes. Eleven are administered by regional councils, and five are administered by unitary authorities, which are territorial authorities that also perform the functions of regional councils. The Chatham Islands Council is not a region but is similar to a unitary authority, authorised under its own legislation.
The Department of Conservation is the public service department of New Zealand charged with the conservation of New Zealand's natural and historical heritage.
Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service is the agency within the Ministry for Primary Industries that is responsible for the New Zealand forestry sector. It is headquartered in Rotorua.
Fiordland National Park occupies the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It is by far the largest of the 13 national parks in New Zealand, with an area of 12,607 square kilometres (4,868 sq mi), and a major part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. The park is administered by the Department of Conservation.
Forest & Bird, also known by its formal name as the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, is an environmental organisation specialising in the protection and conservation of New Zealand's indigenous flora and fauna and unique wild places and natural ecosystems. Forest & Bird consists of 47 branches located in urban and rural centres throughout New Zealand. Branches are actively engaged in conservation projects and advocacy on a community, regional and national basis. Forest & Bird has offices and staff located in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin. Forest & Bird publishes a quarterly magazine Forest & Bird, one of New Zealand's definitive natural history and conservation publications.
Arthur's Pass National Park is located in the South Island of New Zealand and covers 1,185 km2 of mostly mountainous terrain. Adjacent to it lies Craigieburn Forest Park.
Paparoa National Park is on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
New Zealand has 44 marine reserves spread around the North, the South Island, and neighbouring islands, and on outlying island groups. They are governed by the Marine Reserves Act 1971 and administered by the Department of Conservation with assistance from the Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand Customs and the New Zealand Defence Forces.
Protected areas of New Zealand are areas that are in some way protected to preserve their environmental, scientific, scenic, historical, cultural or recreational value. There are about 10,000 protected areas, covering about a third of the country. The method and aims of protection vary according to the importance of the resource and whether it is publicly or privately owned.
Te Urewera is an area of mostly forested, sparsely populated rugged hill country in the North Island of New Zealand, a large part of which is within a protected area designated in 2014, that was formerly Te Urewera National Park.
The Ministry for the Environment is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the New Zealand Government on policies and issues affecting the environment, in addition to the relevant environmental laws and standards. The Environment Act 1986 is the statute that establishes the Ministry.
Pūkaha / Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre is a captive breeding facility and visitor centre located in a protected forest area on State Highway 2 in New Zealand's Tararua district.
Transport in Milford Sound in New Zealand is characterised by the remoteness of the area in which it is located. As a popular tourism destination in the South Island, Milford Sound and the village of the same name receive very large numbers of visitors. These tend to arrive and depart within just a few hours each day, as there is little accommodation at the Sound, leading to strong demand peaks for tourism services during the noon and early afternoon period. The journey from Te Anau is rated as one of the most photographic drives of the world.
1080, the brand name given to the synthetic form of sodium fluoroacetate, is used in New Zealand in efforts to control populations of possums, rats, stoat and rabbits, which are invasive species in the New Zealand environment. Although the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment deemed the use of 1080 in New Zealand "effective and safe" in a 2011 re-evaluation and the substance is widely considered to be the most effective tool currently available for controlling possums over large areas, it remains a contentious issue, with the majority of the debate occurring between conservationists and livestock farmers on one side and hunters and animal-rights activists on the other.
The environment of New Zealand is characterised by an endemic flora and fauna which has evolved in near isolation from the rest of the world. The main islands of New Zealand span two biomes, temperate and subtropical, complicated by large mountainous areas above the tree line. There are also numerous smaller islands which extend into the subantarctic. The prevailing weather systems bring significantly more rain to the west of the country. New Zealand's territorial waters cover a much larger area than its landmass and extend over the continental shelf and abyssal plateau in the South Pacific Ocean, Tasman Sea and Southern ocean.
The Mokihinui Hydro was a proposed hydroelectric dam and power station planned for conservation land on the Mōkihinui River on the West Coast of New Zealand. The project by Meridian Energy was expected to cost $300 million.
Deforestation in New Zealand has been a contentious environmental issue in the past, but native forests now have legal protection, and are not allowed to be tampered with by humans.
Aotea Conservation Park is a 12,300 hectare protected area on Great Barrier Island in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf. It was established in 2015, and comprises 43 percent of the island.
Te Hapua Marine Reserve is a marine reserve covering an area of 449 hectares of Te Hāpua / Sutherland Sound, in Fiordland on New Zealand's South Island. It was established in 2005 and is administered by the Department of Conservation.