Help protect native plants, birds and animals

Girl in nature

In Aotearoa New Zealand we have many native plants, birds and animals that are unique to our country. Some of these, along with their ecosystems, are under threat of extinction. 

The Government is seeking feedback on its proposal for maintaining and protecting our indigenous biodiversity into the future. The proposal builds on work already underway. 

We invite you to have your say on how we achieve this important work together.

Review the proposal

The Government is proposing a National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity. This builds on a draft created by the Biodiversity Collaborative Group. It has been developed by the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation.

Discussion document

Proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity

Indigenous biodiversity on the farm

Find out how Ross and Eleanore Webber are looking after indigenous biodiversity on their farm. The Webber’s are 2019 Regional Supreme winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

Indigenous biodiversity it’s who we are!

This video describes how many of our native plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world.

[Tairoki Tahau-Hodges]

You know, Aotearoa being isolated from the world for millions of years has its advantages? Like our many unique plants and animals. It’s our indigenous biodiversity, engari he aha tēra? (but what is that?).

[Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, MFE Chief Māori Advisor]

Indigenous biodiversity is all the organisms that make New Zealand special. It’s our ngahere (forests), our waterways, our wetlands, our manu (birds). It’s our taiao (environment).

[Tame Malcolm, Te Tira Whakamātaki]

Koinei Te Wao a Tāne (this is Tane’s forest), these are all of Tane’s children. The plants, the trees, the insects, the birds, they have made us who we are today. They protected out tūpuna (ancestors), they fed our tūpuna, they housed our tūpuna. The manu taught us how to speak and the trees looked after us. That’s why we need to protect them. Without them we’re nothing. Tairoki

Tika (correct). That’s why we need to look after and protect our taonga. Like this Tuatara, isn’t that right Aaria?

[Aaria Donson-Waitere, Zealandia Kaitiaki Ranger]

Āe (yes). Tuatara are what we call ghosts of Gondwana. so they were around at the time of the dinosaurs. In the wetland behind us we have a pair of our Takahē They were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered around 75-years ago. This is the first year that the Takahē populations have reached over 400. Tairoki Indigenous biodiversity. It’s in our backyard. Our playgrounds. It’s all around us. It’s a part of who we are. ENDS


Indigenous biodiversity has many benefits

Did you know our native plants and animals can provide us with food and medicine?

[Tairoki Tahu-Hodges]

Indigenous biodiversity, it’s not just about how we protect our native taonga (treasures). It’s about how our native taonga provide for us. Tairoki Like a hīkoi (walk) through the ngahere (forest). Did you know that kawakawa can be used as native tea? Nē rā Mel? (isn’t that right Mel)

[Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, MFE Chief Māori Advisor]

But that’s not all it’s used for. It can also be used as a lip-balm, and can be used on your gums and it’s really good for upset puku (stomachs). Tairoki And then there are our natural fibres, like harakeke (flax).

[Tame Malcolm, Te Tira Whakamātaki]

Āe (yes). It was considered vital to our tūpuna (ancestors) because it not only provided shelter, it also provided clothing. Tairoki Awesome. Tame Over here we have Coprosma. It’s in the same family as coffee. Our tupuna knew this so they used to make an energy drink out of it. Tame This is Tarata or Lemonwood, named so because if you crush the leaves up it smells like lemon. Our tūpuna used to wear this on their wedding night. Tairoki It does smell pretty good though. Might have some for later. Tame And it’s not just rongoā (medicine) there’s also food like pūhā. Tairoki Awesome. I’m going to take this for the boil-up. Tame And here we have a well-known rongoā, Koromiko. You chew on the shoots to help relieve sore stomachs. It’s so famous we used to send it over to our troops in World War 2. Tairoki Indigenous biodiversity. Mīharo! (amazing!).ENDS

Make a submission

You can submit your feedback during the consultation period using one of the following options:

  • Use our submission tool. You do not need to answer all these questions.
  • Read the questions in the discussion document and email your views to
  • Or post your answers to the Biodiversity Team, Ministry for the Environment, PO Box 10 362, Wellington 6143.

The deadline for submissions is 14 March 2020 at 5pm.

Information on publishing and releasing submissions

Next steps

  • Following the consultation period, we will prepare a report that summarises the submissions and make recommendations based on the submissions. We will work with the Department of Conservation on this.
  • We will seek agreement from Ministers on final policy decisions.