QEII Open Space Covenants

Protecting biodiversity on private land has been the principal activity of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust since it was established in 1977. As a result numerous habitats and features, including many not found on public conservation land, have been protected through the foresight and goodwill of private landowners.

Approximately 70% (19 million hectares) of New Zealand) is privately owned with just over 16 million hectares being farmland. QEII provides a mechanism to protect natural features on this land. The Trust enables protection of lowland forests, wetlands and coastal ecosystems that may now only be fragments. 

Since 1977, more than 84,000 hectares has been protected by covenants taken out by over 3000 farmers and landowners. These covenants protect a variety of open space, including forest remnants, wetlands, lakes, peat lakes, coastline, tussock grasslands, areas of rural landscapes, archaeological sites, and geological formations.

Open space covenants

An open space covenant is a legal agreement between QEII and a landowner to protect a special open space feature in perpetuity. The covenant is registered against the title of the property and binds subsequent owners. QEII offers support and management of covenants, with specialist advice and monitoring. Field officers visit a covenant site at least every two years.

Each covenant is unique. It can apply to the whole property or just part of the property. There can be different management areas within a covenant with varying applicable conditions. Conditions can be stringent where rare or vulnerable natural features or habitats are being protected.

This page last updated on 26 Sep 2012