Reserves and trust land

Roles and responsibilities of trustees

Day-to-day management of a reserve is generally the responsibility of the trustee. The trustee is usually appointed by the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, and should have some association or expertise with the trust land and its purpose, or with the local community.

Trustees are often the local government, but can also be the state, a statutory body, an incorporated body or a named individual.

Powers of a trustee

The trustees are the owners of the land for the purposes of legal proceedings, so they can sue and be sued, and take action to remove trespassers or to protect property under their control.

Trustees cannot sell or transfer the land. They also cannot mortgage the land, except for deeds of grant in trust issued under the Land Act 1994 (our approval is required).

The rights to quarry materials, forest products and mineral and petroleum products are reserved to the state, in accordance with legislation.

Trustee leases and trustee permits

Trustees may authorise the use and occupation of trust land by third parties through trustee leases and trustee permits. Rents received must be spent on the maintenance or enhancement of the trust land, unless we have given written approval for another use.

Inconsistent actions

Trustees must maintain and manage the land consistent with the purpose of the trust land. However, we may approve an inconsistent action if this does not adversely affect any local business or diminish the trust land’s purpose.

Responsibilities of a trustee

The trustee must maintain and manage the land in a manner that is consistent with achieving the purpose of the trust land. They must comply with any conditions associated with their appointment as well as the following requirements.

Land management and maintenance

  • Only use the land in a manner consistent with the purpose of the trust land, unless our approval has been obtained.
  • Control pest plants and animals.
  • Exercise a duty of care for the land, including protecting and maintaining any improvements.
  • Obtain a vegetation clearing permit before destroying any vegetation.
  • Comply with any directions issued by the Minister or chief executive and complete management plans as requested.

Finance and insurance

  • Maintain proper books and accounts as required by the Minister and legislation.
  • Submit account books for annual auditing if the annual income from the trust land is greater than the amount prescribed under the land regulations.
  • Comply with the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangement Act 1982.
  • Have adequate public liability insurance for the benefit of the trustee and any member of the public who may use the trust land.
  • Advise us of any change of address or loss of incorporated status (for incorporated bodies).

Development and secondary uses

  • Obtain our consent for any development applications under the Planning Act 2016.
  • Obtain our approval before issuing a trustee lease.
  • Use any rent received from a trustee lease or trustee permit on the maintenance or enhancement of the trust land, unless we have given written approval for another use.

Model by-laws

Trustees may adopt as their by-laws any or all of the model by-laws for trust land.

Removal of a trustee

A trustee can be removed from their position if the removal is in the public interest or if they breach the conditions of the trust, their appointment or the Land Act 1994.

Related information

In this guide:

  1. Community purposes for dedicating trust land
  2. Model by-laws for trust land
  3. Trustee leases
  4. Roles and responsibilities of trustees
  5. Deed of grant over an operational reserve
  6. Land management planning

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