Sustainability and Conservation

Kaitiakitanga Guardianship of Southland

Kaitiakitanga, a concept deeply rooted in Māori culture, plays a pivotal role in Murihiku Southland's approach to guardianship, sustainability, and conservation. In Southland, kaitiakitanga is not just a term but a way of life. It embodies the responsibility and stewardship of our land, waters, and natural resources. For generations, our local communities have embraced kaitiakitanga to ensure the long-term well-being of our cherished environment.

Conservation is a shared commitment here and reflected within our vibrant community of conservationists and volunteers. Around 60% of our land is protected as conservation estate and National Parks, and we are home to some of the most breath-taking and iconic wildlife and wild places in all of New Zealand, including large parts of Te Wāhipounamu. This UNESCO World Heritage area covers over 2.6 million hectares of southwest Aotearoa and encompasses Fiordland National Park. Through initiatives like predator control programs and habitat restoration projects, Murihiku Southland strives to safeguard its unique biodiversity. Our dedication to kaitiakitanga, sustainability, and conservation recognises the importance of preserving these natural treasures (taonga) for generations to come.

Sustainable Travel

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure in Southland? Discover the region's stunning natural landscapes while supporting local communities and minimizing your impact on the environment with sustainable travel options…

Conservation Management

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is the government department entrusted with conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage. DOC's initiatives encompass a wide range of activities, from managing national parks and reserves to implementing conservation programs tailored to the specific needs of our ecosystems. This involves habitat restoration, pest control, and species protection efforts aimed at safeguarding native flora and fauna.

Nationally there are also 14 conservation boards who represent their communities in the work of DOC and conservation in general. The Southland Conservation Board is active and passionate in their advocacy for the region. They work with various conservation organisations and members of the public, in areas of interest to Southland, within a fast-changing contemporary environment. The Conservation Boards’ quarterly newsletter is a great way to keep informed on their recent activities, subscribe and explore the archive.

Kea on the Hump Ridge Track
Pink Penguin Studio


Southland offers some of the best bird watching opportunities & bird sanctuaries in the country. Fiordland & Ulva Island are home to a variety of unusual species. Unique birds like kiwi, takahē & cheeky kea can be found…

Conservation Projects

In Murihiku Southland we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. There are many sustainability and environmental initiatives in place within our communities. These are largely run by volunteers and local people with a passion for preserving our wildlife and natural environments, both for now and for generations to come. Many of our tourism businesses also support these programmes and are work actively with conservation projects. Direct support from visitors is also welcome.

Click on one of the names below to read more about these conservation projects and what they are working to achieve.

Fiordland National Park
Liz Carlson - Young Adventuress

Mindful Travel

Mindful travel, which involves being aware of and respectful towards the environment, local communities, and cultural heritage, has become a popular concept among travellers. From eco-friendly… Read More