Timeline of environmental history of New Zealand

Timeline of environmental history of New Zealand

This is a timeline of environmental history of New Zealand. These events relate to the more notable events affecting the natural environment of New Zealand as a result of human activity.


Pre 1800s - 1800s - 1830s -1840s - 1850s - 1860s - 1870s - 1890s - 1900s - 1910s - 1920s - 1930s - 1940s - 1950s - 1960s - 1970s - 1980s - 1990s - 2000s

See also - References - Further reading

Pre 1800s

1300s- — Arrival of Māori who brought with them the kiore rat.

1500s — Final extinction of all eleven species of Moa.

1642Tasman is first European to reach New Zealand.

1769 — New Zealand mapped by James Cook, and the Norway rat believed to have arrived in New Zealand aboard his ship, the Endeavour. [ [http://library.christchurch.org.nz/Childrens/FactSheets/IntroducedAnimals/Rats.asp "Introduced Animals"] , Christchurch Library.]

1790s — Sealers and whalers arrive.


*Gorse introduced as hedging plant.
*Rabbits introduced [ [http://library.christchurch.org.nz/Childrens/FactSheets/IntroducedAnimals/Rabbits.asp "Rabbits"] Christchurch Library.]
*Sheep and cattle introduced.


1837 Australian brush-tailed possum introduced.


1840 Treaty of Waitangi


*Ship rat spreads throughout North Island.

*Australian Magpie introduced.

*The Protection of Certain Animals Act passed - legislated that: "No Deer of any kind, Hare, Swan, Partridge, English Plover, Rook, Starling, Thrush or Blackbird" could be shot for the rest of the decade. [http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/ser1997/html/chapter9.8.html MfE State of Environment Report, 1997] ]

*Wild Birds Protection Act - legislated that: "No Wild Duck, Paradise Duck, or Pigeon indigenous in the colony shall be hunted, taken, or killed except during the months of April, May, June, and July in any year".

*Trout and Salmon Protection Act passed - made provision for "the preservation and propagation of Salmon and Trout in this Colony".


*Ship rat spreads throughout the South Island.
*Rook introduced from Europe

*Hedgehogs, which devour large quantities of insects, are introduced.

*Seal hunting restricted to a short annual season.

*Rabbit Nuisance Act passed.

*Ferrets introduced to control rabbits even after warnings were made of their effects on bird life.


* Small Birds Nuisance Act passed.

*Stoats and weasels are liberated as a misguided attempt to control rabbits.

*23 September—Te Heuheu gifts Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe to people of New Zealand.


*An area of land, that will become the Trounson Kauri Park, is set aside by the Government. [http://www.doc.govt.nz/Conservation/Showcase-Areas/Trounson-Kauri-Park.asp]

*Rainbow trout successfully introduced by the Auckland Acclimatisation Society.

*Protection of fur seal population due to declining numbers.
*The Stephens Island Wren is made extinct by the lighthouse keeper's cat.
*Tongariro National Park Act passed.

*Kapiti Island is designated as an island reserve.


**Egmont National Park established

*Noxious Weeds Act passed

*Scenery Preservation Act passed.

*Scenery Preservation Commission appointed.

*Tongariro National Park is formally gazetted.
*Last known huia sighted and then shot.


*Herbert Guthrie-Smiths "Tutira: The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station" is published.
*Animals Protection and Game Act 1921-22

*The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand is formed.

*Attempt made to protect bush in an area near what will be the Abel Tasman National Park.


*Protection removed from mustelids.


*Abel Tasman National Park established.

*Possums no longer protected.

*Takahe rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland.

*Forest Act 1949 is passed.


*Waipoua Forest Sanctuary formed.
*Fiordland National Park established.

*Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park established.
*Wildlife Act 1953 is passed.

*Trials on usage on 1080 in New Zealand begin
*28 JulyTe Urewera National Park gazetted. Additions made later. [ [http://doc.govt.nz/Explore/001~National-Parks/Te-Urewera-National-Park/Te-Urewera-National-Park-Management-Plan/001~1.0-Introduction.asp "Te-Urewera-National-Park-Management-Plan"] ]


*Mount Aspiring National Park established.

*Hydro dam proposed at Tuapeka River mouth is opposed by local residents.

*Rudd is illegally introduced into New Zealand. [ [http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/page.aspx?id=33411 "Rudd facts"] DOC website, retrieved 16 September 2007.]

*Save Manapouri Campaign gains nationwide headlines.


*264,907 New Zealanders, almost 10 percent of the population, sign the Save Manapouri petition
*Environmental Defence Society is formed. [ [http://eds.org.nz/aboutus/history.cfm History of EDS] EDS web site.] 1971
*CoEnCo formed [http://eco.org.nz/about.asp "About ECO"] ECO website.] 1972
*Values Party formed at Victoria University of Wellington1973
*Government decides to put South Island beech forests up for tender for chipping.

*Greenpeace New Zealand formed. [ [http://greenpeace.org.nz/about/FAQs.asp Greenpeace NZ website FAQ] ]

*4 July - The Maruia Declaration, calling for protection of native forests, is signed. It attracted 341,160 signatures by the time it was presented to Parliament in 1977.

*CoEnCo renamed as ECO

*The "Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act" is passed. [ [http://www.legislation.govt.nz/libraries/contents/om_isapi.dll?clientID=677538328&infobase=pal_statutes.nfo&jd=a1977-028%2fs.1&record={711AAE28}&softpage=DOC] ]
*Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Act set up to encourage the protection of private land from development.
*20 July - The Maruia Declaration with a 341,159 signature petition is presented to Government.
*23 December — The Reserves Act is passed (includes provision for Wilderness Areas) [http://www.legislation.govt.nz NZ Govt. Legislation] ]

*23 December — Wild Animal Control Act passed [ [http://www.legislation.govt.nz/browse_vw.asp?content-set=pal_statutes&clientid=3127279740&viewtype=search NZ Govt. Legislation] ] ]

*Tree top protest in Pureora Forest to halt the logging of native forest.
*1 April — Reserves Act comes into force

*Five black robins left but saved from extinction by Don Merton and team.
*1 January — Marine Mammals Protection Act came into force.


*Protests over a proposed aluminium smelter at Aramoana. "See also: Independent State of Aramoana".
*Clyde Dam protests.
*Native Forest Restoration Trust established to purchase and protect native forests. [ [http://www.nznfrt.org.nz/ Native Forest Restoration Trust] ]

*The approval of the water rights necessary for the high Clyde Dam is overturned on appeal in "Gilmore v. National Water and Soil Conservation Authority (1982)" [Wheen, N. (2002) A history of New Zealand environmental law. pp 261-274, In "Environmental histories of New Zealand", edited by Pawson, E. and Brooking,T. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, page 268.]
* The National Government enacts the "Clutha Development (Clyde Dam Empowering) Act 1982" to overturn the High Court case refusing water rights. [Wheen, N. (2002) "Op cit"]

*1 October — Fisheries Act comes into force (establishes a fishing quota system).

*New Zealand's nuclear-free zone declared by the Labour Government.

*10 July — Bombing of "Rainbow Warrior" by French secret agents.

*Environment Act passed (establishes Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE)) [ [http://www.legislation.govt.nz/ NZ Govt. Legislation] ] ]
*Quota Management System (QMS) introduced to conserve fish stocks within the Exclusive Economic Zone.
*Kea is given full protection.
*West Coast Accord signed for the protection of portions of native forest from logging.

*Paparoa National Park established.
*1 January — Environment Act comes into force
*1 April — Conservation Act comes into force (establishes DoC, Fish and Game)

*1 June — Trade in Endangered Species Act comes into force (CITES)


*Banning of wood chip exports.
*Creation of Tongariro National Park World Heritage site. [http://whc.unesco.org/heritage.htm UNESCO] ]
*Creation of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. ]
*Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is formed. [ [http://greens.org.nz/about/history.htm Greens history] ]
*Establishment of the Forest Heritage Fund (later renamed "Nature Heritage Fund").
*Ministry for the Environment Green Ribbon Award established [ [http://mfe.govt.nz/withyou/awards/ Green Ribbon Award] ] 1991
*Protests over the mining of ilmenite on the West Coast.
*Resource Management Act 1991 passed into law.
*Crown Minerals Act 1991 is passed.1993
*Biosecurity Act 1993 is passed.
*Forests Act 1949 is amended.
*Forest and Bird develop the Forest Friendly Awards to classify invasive garden plants.
*9 June - New Zealand Post issues a set of stamps on conservation.
*15 November - A West Coast environmentalist claims his house was the target of arson due to his anti-mining stance. [The Press - 24 August 2004] 1994
*Rats eradicated from Kapiti Island.
*Resource consent given to mine sand in Mangawhai Harbour.
*Basel Convention comes into force in New Zealand.1996
*Environment Court, formerly called the Planning Tribunal, is constituted by the RM Amendment Act 1996 with upgraded powers [ [http://www.justice.govt.nz/environment/ NZ Justice Department] ]
*Kahurangi National Park gazetted.
*Fisheries Act 1996 is passed (though parts of it come into force only spasmodically over the next few years).
*Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 is passed.
*Ozone Protection Layer Act 1996 is passed.1997
*Native Forest Action commences lobbying to save West Coast forests. [ [http://www.converge.org.nz/nfa/ Native Forest Action] ]
*Wild Greens group formed. [ [http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/PR3759.html Wild Greens] ]
*Zerowaste Trust established. [ [http://www.zerowaste.org.nz Zerowaste] ] 1998
*Creation of New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands World Heritage site.
*22 May - New Zealand signs the Kyoto Protocol.1999
*Labour/Alliance coalition Government gains power paving the way for protection of West Coast native forests.
*New Zealand Department of Conservation publishes "Karst Management Guidelines" to assist with cave and karst protection. [ [http://www.doc.govt.nz/Conservation/Land/006~Karst-Management-Guidelines.pdf Karst-Management-Guidelines] ]
*Karori Wildlife Sanctuary construction completed, limited public access available.
* Proposed West Coast ilmenite mine project is abandoned. (The Press - 6 February 1999)


*A gondola is proposed from Lake Wakatipu area to the Milford Sound road.
*Varroa bee mite discovered in New Zealand. [ [http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests-diseases/animals/varroa/faq/faq-varroa-mite.htm Varroa FAQ] ]
*West Coast loop road through conservation land is promoted by group of South Island mayors.
*15 June Biotech lobby group Life Sciences Network web site goes live. [http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/SC0006/S00006.htm] 2001
*Moratorium on new marine farming applications, initially for two years.
*Forest restoration on the Kapiti Coast. [http://www.kapitibush.org.nz/default.htm]
*National Plant Pest Accord is developed to prevent the spread of invasive plants.
* German tourist fined for smuggling a gecko.
*30 May — Government announces transfer of all Timberlands managed forests to DoC.
*18 August — Macraes mine extension turned down by Sandra Lee-Vercoe, the Minister of Conservation.
*21 October - The Waigani Convention came into force.

*Rakiura National Park established.
*New Zealand Waste Strategy released by the Ministry for the Environment. [ [http://mfe.govt.nz/publications/waste/waste-strategy-mar02/index.html Waste Strategy] ]
*Ferrets no longer able to be legally bred, sold or distributed.
*25 January — "New Zealand Environment" magazine launched.
*22 December - New Zealand ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.

*YHA started a "Young Environmentalist" programme.
*The WWF "Living Planet" report ranks New Zealand fourteenth largest per capita ecological footprint. [ [http://assets.panda.org/downloads/lpr2004.pdf Ecological footprint] ]
*24 April — New Zealand population tops 4,000,000.
*26 MayCampbell Island declared rat free. [ [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=16920 Campbell Island] ]
*26 MayMinistry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry for the Environment, and Fonterra sign the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord. [ [http://www.ew.govt.nz/newsandevents/agendas/documents/878059.pdf Clean Streams Accord] ]
*June — Consultation is sought on a Agricultural emissions research levy (commonly called the "flatulence tax" or "fart tax").
*5 September — "New Zealand Environment" magazine discontinued.
*11 September - Environment Minister addresses pollution in the Rotorua lakes. [ [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=17810 Rotorua Lakes] ]
*31 October — Businessman jailed for clearing native bush (this has set a precedent) [ [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?thesection=news&thesubsection=&storyID=3531755&reportID=162576 Businessman jailed for clearing native bush] ]

*"Rock snot", ("Didymosphenia geminata"), an invasive freshwater weed is found in some New Zealand rivers. [ [http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests-diseases/plants/didymo/ Didymo] ]
*Group to proceed with the Milford Gondola.
*Nitrates an increasing problem in Canterbury's groundwater. [ [http://ecan.govt.nz/About-Us/Media-Releases/news.asp?Id=504 Nitrates, Press Release, Environment Canterbury] ] [ [http://ecan.govt.nz/About-Us/Media-Releases/news.asp?Id=501 Nitrates, Press Release, Environment Canterbury] ] [ [http://ecan.govt.nz/About-Us/Media-Releases/news.asp?Id=493 Nitrates, Press Release, Environment Canterbury] ]
*Monorail proposed to shorten tourist trip between Queenstown and Milford Sound.
*Pike River mine given go-ahead despite protests by environmental groups.
*Kaikoura Green Globe Conference declaration.
*Rats successfully eradicated from Raoul Island. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Million dollar conservation project restores Raoul
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publisher = New Zealand Government
date = 2004-09-24
url = http://www.beehive.govt.nz/node/21025
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*20 January — Two Czech visitors fined for plant smuggling.
*8 February - 13,000 litre diesel spill in Milford Sound.
*12 MarchMount Burnett mining road application turned down. [ [http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/archive/scoop/stories/ce/2b/200403121148.3c574124.html Mining road application turned down] ]
*25 MarchCypress mine, an open cast coal mine, is proposed for the West Coast.
*29 MarchMeridian Energy Limited proposed Project Aqua is cancelled. [ [http://www.meridianenergy.co.nz/aboutus/newsevents/news/meridian+announces+stop+to+project+aqua.htm Project Aqua] ]
*10 MayKaikoura Island protected. [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.cfm?DocumentID=19627]
*17 MayMontréal Protocol comes into force. [http://www.mfat.govt.nz/support/legal/treaties/inttreaties3.html#Environment]
*11 October — Banded fairy prion returns to Mana Island for nesting, the first successful transfer to another location. (Hundreds of chicks have been moved there from Stephens Island since 2001.) (Porirua City News, 17 November, page 16)
*18 October — More invasive plants discovered in Auckland [http://arc.govt.nz/arc/index.cfm?ADC408DC-BCD4-1A24-9C1E-75698BA9D6B9]
*3 NovemberPCE releases report on the environmental effects of farming. [http://pce.govt.nz/reports/allreports/1_877274_51_8.shtml]
*31 December — Moratorium on marine farms lifted after the passing of the Aquaculture Reform Bill. [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.cfm?DocumentID=21842]

*Non-toxic shot only is to be used for hunting from the 2005 season onwards. [http://www.fishandgame.org.nz/SITE_Default/Non_Toxic_shot.asp]
*14 March — Application lodged for mining black sands off the west coast of the North Island. [http://www.blacksands.org.nz/] [http://www.option4.co.nz/Marine_Protection/wcmining.htm] [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?ObjectID=10115097]
*1 April - The Income Tax Act 2004, which makes it easier to claim environmental expenditure, comes into force. [http://legislation.govt.nz/libraries/contents/om_isapi.dll?clientID=2506718898&hitsperheading=on&infobase=pal_statutes.nfo&jd=a2004-035%2fs.a2&record={A0C2DB7F}&softpage=DOC] [http://www.ird.govt.nz/resources/file/ebe0974571cfebb/TIB17-7.pdf] [http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/land/infosheet-environment-tax-changes-oct05/infosheet-environment-tax-changes-oct05.html]
*22 April — Landsborough Station purchased. [http://doc.govt.nz/whats-new/presult.asp?prID=1853]
*1 MayPesticides blamed for killing native frogs.
*26 May — Environment Court rules in favour of Solid Energy for the Cypress coal mine. [http://www.coalnz.com/ab-press-details.asp?id=123] [http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/mediarelease/2005/0526_dismaldecisioncypress.asp] [http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/PR8720.html]
*1 JulyMolesworth Station transferred from LINZ to DoC. [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=18690]
*28 July — First criminal conviction for killing a fur seal is handed down.
*September - "Rock snot" found in the Buller River. [http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests-diseases/plants/didymo/]
*November - Last remaining use of reusable glass milk bottles will end.
*18 November - Cavers protest about potential damage to Te Tahi Cave when used for adventure racing.
*20 December - A tunnel is proposed to link Queenstown and the Milford Sound road. [ [http://www.milforddart.co.nz/information/media-release-20051220] ]

*26 January - New Zealand is rated top in the Pilot 2006 Environmental Performance Index. [ [http://www.yale.edu/epi/ Environmental Performance Index: Redirect ] ]
*February - The New Zealand fishing industry proposes limits on bottom trawling.
*17 March - Proposal to build a gondola between Queenstown and the Milford Sound road is postponed.
*8 April - A pipe bomb is used to blow up a conservationists letterbox. [ [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10376857 Pipe bomb explodes outside conservationist's home] , The New Zealand Herald, 10 April 2006, retrieved 5 April 2008.]
*9 April - 12 April - Geckos are stolen from a Christchurch zoo but later recovered.
*12 May - An application for proposed aerial walkway in the Hokitika Scenic Reserve is rejected by Department of Conservation.
*24 October - The WWF "Living Planet" report ranks New Zealand with the ninth largest per capita ecological footprint. [http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/press_releases/index.cfm?uNewsID=83520] [http://www.panda.org/news_facts/publications/living_planet_report/lp_2006/index.cfm]
*30 November - Great white sharks will be protected within New Zealand's EEZ from April 2007. [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=27925]

*January - DoC considers that almost half of the native plants and animals are threatened. [ [http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/news.aspx?id=42708 New threatened species list: Media release ] ]
*23 March - Prime Minister Helen Clark puts forward aspirations for New Zealand to be the first sustainable country. [ [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=28791 Beehive - Address to New Zealand Ambassador's Reception ] ]
*4 April - OECD releases a report on the performance of the New Zealand Government. [http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/OECD_releases_report_on_New_Zealand%27s_environmental_performance]
*4 April - Bottom trawling prohibited in selected areas. [ [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=28925 Beehive - Groundbreaking initiative to protect underwater habitats ] ]
*30 May - Government gives $9.88 million to clean up the Tui mine tailings site. [ [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/abandoned+tui+mine+be+cleaned Beehive - Abandoned Tui mine to be cleaned up ] ]
*30 November - The orange roughy fishery is closed to allow stocks of the fish to recover. [ [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/nz+and+australia+close+orange+roughy+fishery Beehive - NZ and Australia close orange roughy fishery ] ]
*13 December - A proposed tunnel linking Queenstown and Milford Sound is blocked by the New Zealand Conservation Authority.

*31 January - "Environment New Zealand 2007", a State of the Environment report, is released.
*10 February - The Green Party leak Chapter 13 of "Environment New Zealand 2007" State of the environment report, which slates the dairy industry and the high level of consumption in New Zealand.
*20 February - A survey shows that 53% of New Zealanders' are deeply concerned that we are not doing enough to protect the environment. [ [http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/research+new+zealanders039+environmental+actions Beehive - Research on New Zealanders' environmental actions ] ]
*4 March - The World Economic Forum "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report" rates New Zealand at 24 out of 130 countries for environmental sustainability. [cite web|url=http://www.weforum.org/pdf/CGR08/Rankings.pdf|title=Table 2: The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index: Regulatory framework|publisher=World Economic Forum|format=PDF|year=2008]
*April - greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand are 26% higher than 1990 levels, the required level for the Kyoto Protocol. [cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2006: An Overview
publisher = Ministry for the Environment (New Zealand)
date = April 2008
location =
pages =
url = http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/greenhouse-gas-inventory-overview-apr08/index.html
doi =
id =
isbn = 978-0-478-30222-6
*10 September - The government passes the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill

ee also

*Timeline of environmental events
*Timeline of New Zealand history



*King, Carolyn; (1984) "Immigrant Killers". Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558121-0
*Young, David; (2004) "Our Islands, Our Selves". Dunedin: University of Otago Press. ISBN 1-877276-94-4
*Galbreath, Ross; (1993) "Working for Wildlife: A History of the New Zealand Wildlife Service". Wellington: Bridget Williams Books Limited. ISBN 0-908912-43-9

Further reading

*King, Carolyn; (1984) "Immigrant Killers". Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558121-0
*Young, David; (2004) "Our Islands, Our Selves". Dunedin: University of Otago Press. ISBN 1-877276-94-4
*Galbreath, Ross; (1993) "Working for Wildlife: A History of the New Zealand Wildlife Service". Wellington: Bridget Williams Books Limited. ISBN 0-908912-43-9
*Bührs, T. and Bartlett, R.V.; (1993) "Environmental policy in New Zealand: The politics of clean & green?". Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558284-5
*Cant, Garth and Kirkpatrick, Russell (eds.); (2001) "Rural Canterbury: Celebrating its History". Wellington: Daphne Brasell Assosciates Ltd. ISBN 0-909049-34-3
*Pawson, Eric and Booking, Tom (eds.); (2002) "Environmental Histories of New Zealand". Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558421-X
*Roche, Michael; (1990) "History of New Zealand Forestry". Wellington: GP Print Ltd. ISBN 0-477-00004-5
*Boon, Kevin; (2005) "The Forests: Developments in New Zealand History". Waiatarua Publishing. ISBN 1-86963-201-X

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