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Protecting our precious places

Overseas investors

Overseas investors buying land

If you are an overseas investor wishing to gain consent to buy land in New Zealand you will need to meet Overseas Investment Office conditions.

Consent applications must satisfy a number of criteria, one of which tests if the transaction will “benefit” New Zealand. 

If buying “sensitive” land, benefitting New Zealand includes measures (if applicable to the land in question) such as whether there are or will be adequate mechanisms in place for protecting or enhancing existing areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna. Those mechanisms might be pest control, fencing, fire control, erosion control, riparian planting programmes or the establishment of covenants to protect the land.

Alternatively,you may be able to benefit New Zealand through “consequential benefits” which include investments in New Zealand and sponsorship of community projects.

Benefitting New Zealand by covenanting land

If purchasing sensitive land, you may be able to benefit New Zealand by covenanting land with the QEII National Trust.

The National Trust was set up specifically in 1977 to give landowners a way to legally protect special natural and cultural features on their land with covenants without surrendering ownership of the land.

A National Trust (open space) covenant is an adequate protective mechanism for sensitive areas as described under section 17 (2) (b) of the Overseas Investment Act 2005. Further information about the Sensitive land and the Overseas Investment Act 2005 can be found on the Overseas Investment Office website pages found at

Covenanting land with the National Trust means special features will be protected forever, binding all future landowners. The Trust is also able to enter into an open space covenant agreement for protection of Crown lease land which binds all future leaseholders.

Covenanting made easy

The National Trust has considerable expertise in legal protection on private property and can manage a land protection project from start to finish. The Trust has regional representatives all over New Zealand that can assess potential areas of land for legal protection within a very short time frame and provide you with a detailed report.

Once an area of land has been approved for protection by the National Trust Board we can carry out the covenant project from start to finish. Covenant protection involves a covenant agreement, survey of the land to be protected, physical protection by fencing and finally registration on the title. Because we have in-house legal advisors and network of surveying and fencing contacts, we can have physical and legal protection in place an area promptly to suit landowner and Overseas Investment Office time frames.

Consequential benefits for New Zealand

“Consequential benefits” is a factor under regulation 28 (a) of the Overseas Investment Act. This applies when tangible or intangible benefits accrue as a result of an investment being made. These benefits may include additional investments in New Zealand and sponsorship of community projects.

The National Trust is a registered charity with a limited budget. As such, we are greatly helped by money and assets gifted to it by sponsors, enabling us to continue protecting special places on private land for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations of New Zealanders.

Sponsoring Trust programmes

Overseas investors may like to consider sponsoring a work programme run by the National Trust. Programmes might include: habitat enhancement, restoration projects, fencing off a special area, or pest and weed control. Investors can sponsor an existing programme or discuss the possibility of identifying a special programme that targets a strategic area of work for the Trust.

National Trust sponsors can be assured that their investment will be managed professionally by a reputable organisation, and have the satisfaction of knowing that the area they have invested in will be protected in perpetuity.

Enquiries welcome

We welcome enquiries from overseas investors who would like to discuss covenanting land with the Trust or sponsoring a conservation project.

More information

Contact Queen Elizabeth II National Trust

Telephone:0800 467 367 or 04 472 6626

Email enquiry form

FAQs about covenanting land with the QEII National Trust

Download our Open Space magazine for stories about the work of the Trust and its covenantors. More magazines available under the Publications and resources section of this website.

Overseas Investment Office (

Overseas Investment Act 2005 

Refer to Section 17 (2) for information on overseas investment in sensitive land 

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