This Act, consisting of 15 sections and one Schedule, provides for certain endowments of dry harbour land to be revested in the Crown or reserved for certain purposes, and to amend certain enactments. Section 4 empowers the Governor-General to declare specified lands vested in local authorities to be revested in the Crown for purpose of conservation (under the Conservation Act 1987), or for the purpose of creating reserves under the Reserves Act 1977. Such lands and any natural or historic resources therein are subsequently protected by section 5 which prohibits their sale without ministerial approval and section 6 which prohibits their destruction, damage or modification unless with approval of the Minister of Conservation. Pre-existing rights on such lands are saved (sect. 7). The schedule to the Act names those lands which may be revested in the Crown for conservation purposes or declared to be reserves; lands that may be revested in the Crown for any purposes; land that may be declared to be a reserve.
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The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. That same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both world wars.