What We Do

ECO – New Zealand’s national network working to protect our environment
ECO works to protect New Zealand’s unique natural heritage and to foster the relationship New Zealanders have with it. The natural environment is central to our culture, economy and identity. ECO acts to protect it for recreation, for its intrinsic quality and for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
We strive to empower and inform people to work for better management and protection of New Zealand’s forests, coasts, sea, rivers, land, atmosphere and our unique species.
ECO is a network of 45+ large and small environmental organisations based all around New Zealand, as well as several hundred individual Friends. The core of ECO’s work is promoting and strengthening community environmental action, and working collaboratively towards better government policies and management decisions. ECO also works on global issues such as climate change, Antarctica, and oceans.

The ECO group, protesting outside the McKee Production Station in Tikorang
Save Manapouri Petition 1970
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society staff, Mrs V. G. Lawson and Miss R. Bellet, help support a 1.5 metre pile of boxes containing the 'Save Manapouri' petition, 22 May 1970.

Community Environmental action

We help people from all walks of life get involved in protecting their local environments. ECO supports communities and environment groups by providing:

  • An independent source of information and advice;
  • Research and analysis and advocacy; see the Coastal Policy paper we have prepared
  • Networking and information sharing.

A fearless voice for conservation of the environment and community rights, ECO’s collective voice has enabled it to successfully press for:

  • More community say;
  • Stronger laws to protect nature, for example, the Resource Management Act;
  • Improvements to the Fisheries Act and Mining Act;
  • Putting marine ecosystem management on government agenda;
  • World Heritage status for sub-antarctic islands;
  • The overturn of the Antarctic minerals regime and its replacement with the Antarctic Environmental Protocol;
  • Protection of native forests;
  • Species protection;
  • Biosecurity laws;
  • Increased funding for conservation.

ECO has been centrally involved in campaigns to protect native forests, lakes, and rivers, the reform of the Mining Act and defeat of the National Development Act, and in supporting the Resource Management Act and the establishment of the Department of Conservation and Ministry for the Environment. ECO continues to be at the forefront of environmental campaigns on fisheries, mining, climate and energy, and environmental management.

Publications and other matters

ECO produces a weekly e-newsletter Tīeke which contains commentaries, information from ECO members, and submission deadlines, conferences and hui, and events.

ECO members also receive additional information on issues of concern.

ECO retains a library in our office which is available for members, Friends, the public, and students to use. Please contact the office. The extensive ECO Archives which date from 1971 are now catalogued on the Community Archive catalogue. Go here to search for your items of interest and then contact ECO to arrange access.

ECO with the assistance of Wellington City Council oversees the Environmentalist Memorial Garden.

Tīeke, the bird after which our regular publication is named after
The saddleback or tīeke belongs to New Zealand's unique wattlebird family, an ancient group which includes the endangered kōkako and the extinct huia.