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Are you new to the sector and want an opportunity to learn and network?

This conference is your platform to share how you’ve made changes, inspired actions, faced challenges, and found a place within the industry where you can make a difference.

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Introducing Penny Nelson...

The Parks Leaders Forum are delighted to announce the appointment of Department of Conservation Director General Penny Nelson as the new Patron of the organisation following previous patron Lou Sanson’s three-year term ending. 


Parks Leaders Forum Board Advisor Michael Ayrton / Board Chair Roslyn Kerr said they would like to thank Lou for his time over the past three years and congratulate Penny on her appointment.


“The value of the Department of Conservation as our key national lead agency is critical to the ongoing success of the Parks Leaders Forum”, says Parks Leaders Forum Chair, Dr Roslyn Kerr, “and having Penny in the role as Patron is an honour for the group”. Former Board Chair and Board Advisor Michael Ayrton says, “We congratulate Penny on kindly accepting the appointment and look forward to her input and leadership in extending the value of our National, Regional and local parks to the wider community”. 


Penny Nelson 

Penny Nelson is delighted to be the new patron of the New Zealand Parks Leaders Forum.


Penny has been Director-General of the Department of Conservation since November 2021, the first woman to reach this significant Crown role. At DOC she oversees more than 2500 staff who are trusted to look after more than 14,000 native species of flora and fauna over 8 million hectares of land, 52 marine reserves and sanctuaries, and 220 large islands.


Prior to DOC, Penny was an influential senior leader across the public and private sector including the Ministry for the Environment, the Sustainable Business Council of New Zealand, Ministry of Social Development, Dairy NZ, and Manaaki Whenua / Landcare Research. She was also Deputy Director-General of Biosecurity for the Ministry for Primary Industries. 

“I’m keen through this role to celebrate the importance of parks and the value and health benefits these green spaces bring for people,” Penny says.


“I also want to foster understanding that New Zealand’s natural areas and parks are a key driver of our economy. National parks and conservation areas are vital for protecting and enhancing nature, but they’re also important for regional economies that rely on the tourism opportunities.”


“There’s a huge opportunity to bring local government, businesses, and communities together to value and protect our parks.” 


Penny holds a MSc (Hons) degree from Lincoln University, a BA (Hons) degree from the University of Otago and has completed the Prince of Wales‘s Business and Sustainability programme at the University of Cambridge. 

Penny Nelson
DOC Director General 


To Cut or Spray?
We want to know!


NZ Parks leaders Forum (PLF) recognise that councils use various forms of weed control, on areas such as berms. We wish to understand in better detail the financial contexts that determine your choice of 'tool' i.e. chemicals such as Glyphosate, or a cut-edges approach. Please take 5-minutes to answer the survey questions below.

2023 Parks Leaders Forum Strategic Goals

The Parks Leaders Forum have just published their DRAFT 2023 Strategic Goals and want YOUR feedback.

Click the button below to read the report.


Click here to leave your feedback.

All findings will be discussed at this years AGM in Auckland on Friday September 29th 2023. Register for the AGM here

See what the sectors all about...

Latest News

Associate Member Profile: 
Bridge It NZ 

Members Projects Profile: The ICC Tree Plan 2020 Our Trees – A Tatou Rākau

Bridge It NZ has been helping Kiwis access and enjoy local green spaces since 2009.


We specialise in building small to medium size bridges (6m-50m) to help unlock the value of your land, and we became a member of the New Zealand Parks Leaders Forum in 2017.

The Invercargill City Council (ICC) recently completed their 2020 Tree Plan, providing a clear direction for the Council to managed all trees in parks, cemeteries and streets across the region.

Check out more information on this great Members Project by clicking on the link below.   

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For parks leaders by parks leaders

The New Zealand Parks Agencies Leaders Forum is made up of a network of New Zealand parks agency managers and parks business leaders who meet regularly to assist each other and to progress sector issues.

Share Ideas, Seek Advice

A forum to share problems and seek advice and support from experienced colleagues


​Meetings that provide access to credible, timely, reliable and relevant information and advice on parks challenges and best practice in NZ and beyond.

3-4 Meetings per year
Address Parks Issues Together

An opportunity to shape advocacy on the sector’s behalf to address parks issues and raise awareness of the environmental, social and economic benefits parks provide

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