Questions & Answers

What is What’s Your View about?

What's Your View is a campaign to understand the important natural features and landscapes in Southland and to get your views on where these are and why they're important.

It is part of the process of updating the District Plan so important natural features and landscapes are managed appropriately for now and for the future.

Is this the same as the SNA work?

The Significant Natural Area (SNA) work is separate from the work on natural features and landscapes. However, there is a link as the presence of biodiversity is one component of recognising how special our landscapes are.


What is Council doing to identify important natural features and landscapes?

We are taking an approach which comprises three pieces of a puzzle:

  • community views and opinions
  • professional analysis by a landscape architect
  • a cultural landscape assessment by mana whenua

The findings from each piece of the puzzle will be assessed and used to identify and map where potential landscapes and natural features of significance may be within our district.

We'll then go to anyone potentially affected by the findings to check the accuracy.

What are some examples of landscapes or natural features in Southland that have been identified as important in the past?

We currently have some significant landscapes and natural features already mapped, for example a large portion of Stewart Island/Rakiura and parts of the Te Anau/Fiordland area. This current work is to check that what we have identified is still significant and to see if there are any other areas we need to consider looking after in the same way.

What happens after the views have been mapped?

After mapping is completed, we will be asking potentially affected landowners what their views are - do they agree with the findings?
We will also look at ways to work together to look after these important spaces for future generations.

What if I disagree with what has been identified?

We want to hear your views and work with you and others to make a more balanced plan.

Why is Council doing this work?

We know public and private landowners care about the land and that our district's amazing landscapes and natural features are that way because of the way people have looked after them over many generations. We also know our landscapes are one of our greatest economic assets.

But we also know that certain activities can - even unknowingly - cause lasting damage to these important spaces.

We all have responsibilities to look after the land and we want to work alongside public and private landowners, as well as the community, to look at ways we can work together to look after what we have for future generations.

The work is also part of a Resource Management Act (RMA) requirement involving councils nationwide.

Ultimately, it's about being responsible – Southland has incredible landscapes and natural features, and we want to keep them that way, not just for us now, but for our tamariki and mokopuna to come.

What is the timeframe around this project?

The project will take some time, as we are keen to have as many conversations with public and private landowners as possible. Roughly it is as follows: 

Late 2021-2023

  • Identified areas mapped and shared
  • Share your views; do you agree?
  • Discussions around potential ways to look after these spaces
  • Share your views; what do you think?

Mid 2023

  • Discussions around potential District Plan changes continue, and more questions about important places
  • Early 2024 Draft District Plan notified
  • Share your views through the formal consultation process
Are there different classifications for landscapes and natural features?

Yes, at a professional level, there are different classifications.

Outstanding Natural Landscapes

  • Landscapes with exceptional attributes
  • Stand out from the wider landscape
  • Of national importance
  • Example: Fiordland Mountain Range

Outstanding Natural Features
As per Outstanding Natural Landscapes, but

  • Applies to a discrete geographical area or element within a landscape (A hill or a river)
  • Often viewed from outside
  • Example: Waiau River Mouth

Visual Amenity Landscapes
Not categorised as Outstanding, but

  • Important for amenity values and/or
  • The quality of the environment
  • Example: Mid-Dome
How can I tell you what landscape/s and/or natural features are important to me?

We welcome communication from you at any time, so please feel free to email us at or phone 0800 732 732.

Why should we look after landscapes and natural features?

Economically, socially, culturally and environmentally - natural landscapes and features have important values that are not easily replaced. 

Whether in the background of your day-to-day life or something that makes you feel grateful to live in such an amazing place, landscapes and features play an important role in our community and contribute to our quality of life and sense of place.

Some activities - even unknowingly - can cause lasting damage to these spaces. 

We all have responsibilities to take care of our district. Looking after important landscapes and natural features is part of that.

Does this mean rules and regulations?

It could. But well before we get to that point, we need to understand where the potentially important places are, and understand how they are currently used. We also want to discuss all of this first with any affected landowners, and ask what they think the best way of protecting these important landscapes and natural features could be. Together we will come to a solution.

It will lead to a change to the District Plan, but extensive discussions will determine what that looks like.

I’d like more information on this – who can I contact?


Give the Resource Management team a call on 0800 732 732.