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Protecting our precious places

Caring for your covenant - key responsibilities

The National Trust works in partnership with private landowners to help permanently protect special natural and cultural features on their land with covenants.

The landowner owns and manages the covenanted land.

The National Trust operates as a perpetual trustee to make sure the terms and conditions of the covenant agreement are respected forever.

Summary of respective roles and responsibilities in caring for covenants

QEII National Trust

  • As perpetual trustee, we safeguard the covenant agreement forever. 
  • We discuss and negotiate the covenant proposal and agreement with you, arrange surveys and lodge necessary documents with Land Information New Zealand to formally register the covenant on your land title. 
  • We negotiate and agree any variations to covenant agreements (if consistent with the objectives of the covenant). 
  • We contribute towards the initial cost of fencing your covenant. 
  • Our regional representatives advise on managing registered covenants, including how to tackle pests, weeds, or embark on a restoration project. 
  • Our regional representatives can provide advice on the best fencing options for covenants. 
  • Your regional representative will visit your covenant (usually 2-yearly) to monitor its condition. The visits provide a good opportunity to celebrate the covenant’s condition and/or talk about any management challenges. 
  • We inform subsequent owners about the special features and objectives of the covenanted land they have purchased. 
  • We may be able to help with applications for third-party funding or materials to help with pest and weed control, restoration, or other covenant management needs. 
  • We will always work directly with you to resolve any issues regarding a covenant’s condition and/or any breaches of the covenant agreement. 
  • Our Act (Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Act 1977) hasprovisions to protect covenants from deliberate damage. We may take legal action if we cannot negotiate reasonable solutions to blatant breaches of the covenant agreement.

Landowner/land manager

  • You own the covenanted land and are responsible for the ongoing care of the covenant. 
  • National Trust covenants are binding agreements. Make sure you (or your land manager) are familiar with the terms and conditions of the covenant agreement and any management plan developed for your covenant. 
  • Regularly check your covenant fencelines and gates and keep them in good condition. 
  • Make sure stock is excluded from covenants at all times (unless a special condition allowing limited grazing is listed in your covenant agreement). 
  • Manage pests and weeds so the covenant values are retained (or enhanced). Ask your National Trust regional representative about local council pest and weed control standards, what level of control is reasonable and achievable for your covenant, and recommended control methods. 
  • Give access to our regional representative so that they can monitor the covenant’s condition. 
  • Remember — You may not do anything that alters the appearance or condition of your covenant (unless it is to improve its condition and/or supports its objectives). 
  • If you are considering a restoration project in your covenant, talk to your regional representative about the right plantings for your region and local conditions. You can also ask them about possible third-party support for your project. 
  • You will need to get permission from the National Trust if you wish to erect structures, build tracks, or carry out any work that is not specified in your covenant agreement. Third parties wanting to do anything on your covenanted land also need permission from the Trust before they can proceed. 
  • Send us your change of address or sale of property details so we can keep in touch with you or contact any new owners about the covenant. You can do this online, or by phone or email.

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