Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan  

This page details the Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan ('the Foreshore Plan') and provides background information on its development, review and approval.

Partial Review Completed 2015

A partial review of the Foreshore Plan was undertaken during 2015. 

The Management Plan Approval Committee approved the revised plan to:

  1. enable access to the reserve for kaitiaki responsibilities and non-commercial cultural activities;
  2. provide for an increase in use of Observation Beach bays and a corresponding reduction in use of the adjacent Watering Cove;
  3. provide for ongoing use of Tonga Quarry by water taxis on a trial basis; and
  4. specify provisions relating to drop off/retrieval of hire equipment from the reserve.

The revised plan took effect on 27 November 2015.

The Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan will be in effect until 2018, in order for its review to coincide with the 10-year review of the 2008 Abel Tasman National Park Management Plan.

About the Foreshore Plan

The plan guides and directs management of the foreshore reserve by the Tasman District Council and the Department of Conservation.

Background to the Foreshore Plan 

The Abel Tasman coast is significant in terms of its scenic values. It has a diverse range of coastal landforms, including estuaries, sandy beaches, rocky headlands, rock stacks, islets and islands.

  • Around 90% of Abel Tasman National Park visitors spend their time in coastal areas with most accessing the park via the foreshore from the sea, by water taxi, kayak or other vessels.
  • The Abel Tasman Coast Track is the busiest multi-day track in the country with around 150,000 visits a year. In January, Anchorage receives up to 700 visitors a day and there are around 1200 people at Totaranui on an average day including campers and visitors.

Indigenous vegetation within Abel Tasman National Park forms the backdrop for most of the foreshore. The coastal scenery, golden-sand beaches, relatively sheltered coastal waters and bays attract thousands of visitors to the foreshore each year, via the tracks within the national park or from the coastal waters by a variety of vessels.

The foreshore is also used and enjoyed by residents and visitors to the numerous private landholdings adjoining the reserve.

After much discussion about the most appropriate way of managing the Abel Tasman coast, the Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve (‘the reserve‘) was gazetted as scenic reserve on 25 January 2007, under section 19(1)(a) of the Reserves Act 1977 (by the Minister for Land Information).

At the time the reserve was created the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 was in force. This vested the ownership of the public foreshore and seabed in the Crown, and the Gazette Notice (reserving the land under the Public Works Act 1981) specifically stated that the land would remain vested in the Crown.

As a result of foreshore coming under the jurisdiction of the Reserves Act 1977, the Minister of Conservation became responsible for it.

The reserve comprises 774 ha of foreshore, predominantly a narrow strip of land (other than in the estuaries) that lies between the Mean High Water Mark and Mean Low Water Springs, along the Abel Tasman coastline in the northwest of the South Island. It straddles Tasman Bay and Golden Bay.

A large portion of the reserve adjoins land protected within Abel Tasman National Park, including the foreshore of all the islands in the park. Other parts of the reserve adjoin privately-owned land and reserves administered by Tasman District Council, including areas of road reserve. The central part of the reserve, between Awaroa Bay and Bark Bay/Wairinga, is overlain by the Tonga Island Marine Reserve.

The reserve is managed by an Administration Committee (comprising the Chief Executive Officer of Tasman District Council and the Operations Director, northern South Island region of the Department of Conservation), which arose from recommendations of the Abel Tasman Foreshore Advisory Forum.

This makes the reserve unique. No other area of foreshore in the country is a scenic reserve under the administration of a committee made up of representatives from a territorial authority and the Department of Conservation.

The primary purpose of designating the foreshore as scenic reserve was to maintain the quality of the visitor experience while protecting the natural features that make the Abel Tasman foreshore so special, including the scenic character of the coastline.

Back to Top

Consultation and Notification History 

The first management plan for the Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve was approved in June 2012 and came into effect in November 2012. This plan was prepared under section 40B of the Reserves Act 1977 by the Administration Committee following consultation with key stakeholders including iwi, concessionaires, the Abel Tasman Foreshore Advisory Forum, local landowners and other government departments.  The same process was followed when a partial review of the Foreshore Plan was undertaken during 2015.

The Abel Tasman Foreshore Advisory Forum comprises representatives of private land settlements, iwi, commercial operators, the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, recreational boating, Tasman District Council and DOC.

The partial review of the Foreshore Plan was publicly notified on 12 August 2015. Submissions on the plan partial review were able to be made until 4pm, 12 October 2015. Eleven submissions were received in total, with six of the submitters requesting to speak to their submission. Hearings were held in Motueka on 30 October 2015. The revised plan was approved in November 2015 and came into effect on 27 November 2015.

Back to Top

View the Foreshore Plan 

The most up to date (partially reviewed) version of the Foreshore Plan came into effect on 27 November 2015 is available to download:

Earlier Versions

The first Foreshore Plan, which came into effect in November 2012, can be viewed on the Department of Conservation website:

The draft version of the 2012 plan is also available to download:

Back to Top

Related Links 

Back to Top