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The DoC, Department of Conservation in New Zealand


What’s up, DoC?

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, more commonly known as DoC, deals with the national parks and recreation, and historical and wildlife conservation. It is a government sector (public sector organisation) that is probably the most prominent on backpacking travels around New Zealand due to the excessive walking, site seeing and wildlife viewing that backpackers and working holidaymakers like to do.

What does DoC do?

DoC oversees the following:

  • Walking tracks and NZ’s Great Walks.
  • The conservation of wildlife.
  • Protecting New Zealand’s historic buildings.
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Walking Tracks

It doesn’t take long in New Zealand to spot a DoC walking track sign. Every walking/tramping track is well sign-posted, with indication of the time it will take to get to the next checkpoint. The DoC also oversees the maintenance of tracks.

To pass through New Zealand’s most stunning scenic areas, try doing the Great Walks. There are 9 Great Walks, where the accommodation huts can be booked through the DoC’s website.


conservation of wildlife

Aiming to preserve the natural heritage of New Zealand means DoC works to keep threats and impacts on native wildlife to a minimum. They set up pest control methods, where some New Zealand’s pests include Kawau Island wallabies, Kaimanawa horses and deer. The 2 latter threaten native plant life, while wallabies affect the Kanuka forest’s health, which in turn impacts the birds there such as kiwis. The DoC’s methods consist of fencing off animals from certain areas and, for example, ban pets from specific areas.

The DoC’s marine reserves are great to protect marine life from being wiped out through fishing and other disturbances, so we are able to see rare wildlife living in its natural habitat. Visit Akaroa Marine Reserve to see Hector’s dolphins, seals and small whale species


Protecting historic buildings

As well as native plants and animals, DoC also protects New Zealand’s historic buildings. 1 site includes Cape Reigna at the very tip of the North Island, which has old Maori settlements and Cape Reinga lighthouse. Another is Denniston, which was once the largest producing coalmine with a population of 1500. Nowadays, it’s a ghost town that has been restored for visitors’ exploring pleasure.

You can help too! Check out how you can Volunteer for DoC.

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