Tongariro was New Zealand’s first national park. The mountain peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu were a gift from Ngati Tuwharetoa in 1887. This was 15 years after the world’s first national park, Yellowstone was created in the United States.
• National parks are places set aside to protect natural landscapes and native plants and animals forever.
• They are really big – 10,000 hectares or more
• Protection comes first but they are also places for people to enjoy.
• GO visit some of them (just don’t damage them)
• We also have underwater national parks - they are called marine reserves!
Below is a map of our national parks. The date tells you when they were established and the number matches their location on the map.
1. 1887 - Tongariro – 79,598 hectares
2. 1900 - Egmont – 33,543 hectares
3. 1929 - Arthur’s Pass – 114,394 hectares
4. 1942 - Abel Tasman – 22,541 hectares
5. 1952 - Fiordland – 1,257,000 hectares
6. 1953 - Mt Cook (Aorangi) – 70,728 hectares
7. 1954 - Te Urewera – 212,673 hectares
8. 1956 - Nelson Lakes – 101,753 hectares
9. 1960 - Westland – 117,607 hectares
10. 1964 - Mt Aspiring – 355,543 hectares
11. 1986 - Whanganui – 74,231 hectares
12. 1987 - Paparoa – 30,560 hectares
13. 1996 - Kahurangi – 452,000 hectares
14. 2001 - Rakiura (Stewart Island) - 163,000 hectares (approximately 85% of Stewart Island)
Total area = 3,085,171 hectares
New Zealand National Parks
The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, New Zealand's leading conservation group, has lobbied for every new national park since 1923.
Some of our national parks are also World Heritage Sites – which makes them extra special. They are:
• Te Wahipounamu/South West New Zealand
This includes Fiordland, Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring and Westland National Parks. This recognition followed a public campaign led by Forest and Bird.
• Tongariro National Park
• New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands
Who looks after New Zealand’s national parks?
The Department of Conservation looks after them. It does pest and weed control, looks after the flora and fauna, maintains tramping tracks and huts and helps people enjoy their parks. DOC also manages the rest of the protected conservation estate in forest parks, reserves, river margins, some coastline and many offshore islands. Together with the national parks, this covers about a third of New Zealand.
Visit our national parks. You’ll really enjoy them. But remember:
- Always put your rubbish in the bin or take it home with you
- Don’t take your pets. They don’t belong in the park and dogs and cats kill native birds.
- Look after the plants and animals.
- Stay on the tracks
- Find out more by going here -