Environment of New Zealand

Environment of New Zealand

The environment of New Zealand is characterised by unique flora and fauna and a variety of landforms contained within a small island nation.


The biota of New Zealand is one of the most unusual on Earth, due to its long isolation from other continental landmasses. Its affinities are derived in part from Gondwana, from which it separated 82 million years ago, some modest affinities with New Caledonia and [ord Howe Island, both of which are part of the same continental plate as New Zealand and in part from Australia.

More recently a component has been introduced by humans. New Zealand's biodiversity exhibits high levels of endemism, both in its flora and fauna. Until recently the islands had no native terrestrial mammals except for bats (although mammals did exist in New Zealand until 19 million years ago), the main component of the fauna being insects and birds. Its flora is dominated by Gondwanan plants, comprising historically of forests, most famously the giant kauri. New Zealand has developed a national Biodiversity Action Plan to address conservation of considerable numbers of threatened flora and fauna within New Zealand.







Protected areas

tate of the Environment reporting

The Ministry for the Environment has produced two State of the Environment reports to date, one in 1997 [cite web|url=http://mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/ser1997/|title=The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997|date=1997|publisher=Ministry for the Environment|accessdate=2008-09-03] and the other in 2007. [cite web|url=http://mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/enz07-dec07/index.html|title=Environment New Zealand 2007|date=December 2007|publisher=Ministry for the Environment|accessdate=2008-09-03]

Environmental law

The roots of New Zealand environmental law can be traced to the common law of Britain. The increasing environmental awareness of the 1960s led to a specific body of environmental law that developed in many Western countries including New Zealand. Environmental law became more integrated in the 1980s with the passing of the Environment Act 1987 and the Conservation Act. These Acts set up the Ministry for the Environment, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

The most significant Act of Parliament concerning environmental law was the passing of Resource Management Act in 1991. Issues under the Act are adjudicated by the Environment Court of New Zealand.

Environmental issues

As with many other countries there are a number of environmental organisations that are working towards addressing various environmental issues in New Zealand.

ee also

*Timeline of environmental history of New Zealand


External links

* [http://www.mfe.govt.nz Ministry for the Environment]
* [http://www.doc.govt.nz Department of Conservation]
* [http://www.ourfuture.net.nz/index.asp ourfuture.net.nz] - a project for mapping environmental initiatives in New Zealand

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