Wild and scenic river conservation in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis aims to critically evaluate New Zealand's wild and scenic rivers policy, a policy introduced in 1981, after extensive research including an examination of a similar policy in the United States. Under the New Zealand policy, water conservation orders can be placed on rivers to protect outstanding wild, scenic or recreational characteristics of those waterbodies. This thesis does not set out to prove or disprove a particular hypothesis, but does have several specific goals. The development of the conservation movement in New Zealand is outlined as a background to the introduction of the policy. As part of this, definitions of both 'conservation' and the 'conservation movement' are given. The place of river conservation in this development is also discussed. The context of the introduction of the policy is also examined, illustrating that many other Government policies of the period were development oriented. The actual policy itself is examined, with particular reference to the methods by which it works and the deficiencies it is seen to have. Possible ways by which the deficiencies can be remedied are also discussed. To illustrate these points as they relate to particular rivers, two individual case studies are examined, of the Motu and Rakaia Rivers, both of which are now protected by National Water Conservation Orders. Finally, in conclusion it is discussed as to what it is that are perceived as the threats to rivers from which they are being protected, whether these threats are real and whether, if so, they are increasing or declining in significance. From this it is discussed whether or not New Zealand actually needs such a policy.