Any temporary or permanent structure where some part sits in, on, under or over a lake is considered a lake structure. Examples include jetties, boat ramps, boat sheds, moorings and retaining walls.

Below you can find information on existing and new lake structures as well as the different land owners you may need to interact with when getting resource consent. Alternatively a summary document can be found here. 

There are numerous structures sitting in, on, under or over Rotorua’s lakes. You need a current consent for these structures and to protect the environment cannot make changes to the foot print or carry our maintenance without applying for a new consent or notifying Council prior.

To transfer resource consent, you will need to complete a Resource Consent Transfer Form.

Renewing my lake structure consent    

The majority of resource consents for lake structures in the Te Arawa Rotorua Lakes area are due to expire by 2020. As long as no changes are being made to the footprint of the structure, consent holders are able to renew their consent. To make the replacement consent process as easy as possible for consent holders, we’re simplifying and streamlining it on behalf of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Rotorua Lakes Council, Department of Conservation (DOC) and Land Information New Zealand.

We are sending packs to lake structure consent holders in batches, lake by lake, based on consent expiry date. The packs outline the replacement consent process, what needs to happen by when and include the relevant forms. Consent holders would normally need to apply for replacement consent before their current consent expires, but because of this streamlined process instead consent holders must return the relevant forms within six weeks of receiving them.

Applying for a replacement consent

To make the replacement consent process as easy as possible we’re sending out customised information packs to consent holders. Separate lease forms will also be included in these packs on behalf of lake and lake bed owners and managers for the occupation of your structure on land they own and manage.  

Consent holders would normally need to apply for a replacement consent before their current consent expires. Because the replacement consent process for lake structures is being streamlined, and consents are being managed in batches, there is more flexibility. Instead consent holders must return the relevant forms within six weeks of receiving them.

Unconsented existing lake structures, extensions or removal of vegetation (in conjunction with maintenance) all require a new consentRetaining and protection walls are an exception,  and if you do need a new consent for these, and are already going through the replacement consent process for other structures, it’s best to do these at the same time as you won’t need to individually approach the various affected parties or initiate a cultural effects assessment. 

Why resource consent is needed

Resource consents allow people or organisations to do something that may have an effect on our environment. Structures (existing or new) that sit in, on, under or over the bed of the lake are identified as having an environmental effect in sections 9 and 13 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Managing these structures through the resource consent process helps ensure the number of structures is limited, they are kept to a safe standard and any environmental impacts are kept to a minimum.

While a resource consent provides for the occupation of space within the lake, under the RMA, your structure(s) also occupies land or lake bed/and/or the water column which requires permission from the landowner or land manager. Therefore, in addition to obtaining a resource consent, all consent holders are required to sign a contract with the relevant land owner/manager. Lease forms for the relevant lake/lakebed owners have been included in the information packs. 

Cultural effects 

As set out in the RMA, to fully understand the potential effects of a proposed activity on people and the environment you need to carry out an assessment of cultural effects.To streamline this process for local iwi, Regional Council has commissioned a report from the Te Arawa Lakes Trust on behalf of applicants to inform the consent process. As reports are finalised they are uploaded online. To access the completed reports please scroll to the downloads section at the bottom of this page.

Note. Applicants do have the option of not paying the $50 report contribution fee and providing their own assessment following consultation with Te Arawa Lakes Trust at their own cost.

Multiple structures on single consent

If you currently hold several consents for lake structures in the same location, you can take this opportunity to condense them into a single consent. On the application form please identify which structures you wish to condense into the one consent.

Shared structures

Where applicants have a share (1/2,1/4 etc) in a lake structure they will be required to nominate a contact person and then communicate correspondence with the other parties who hold other share/s in the structure. They will also be required to manage payment for the costs associated with the administration, monitoring and supervision of the consent.

Unconsented existing retaining and protection walls 

If you are applying for a new consent for your existing retaining and/or protection wall, as part of the replacement consent process, like any new application you will need an engineering report. This repot must include dimensions, materials, a structural assessment and cover any effect to the environment. 

An assessment of environmental effects is a key component of a resource consent application. By applying for this new consent as part of the replacement consent process, your new application may ‘piggy back’ off the blanket assessments already formed. Access our online consent forms and guidelines for lake structures here. Look for the application form called Unconsented Existing Retaining and Erosion Protection Walls

Te Arawa Lakes Trust

Lakes Rotorua, Rotoiti, Ōkāreka and Tarawera are some of the Lakes owned by Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT). If your retaining wall existed prior to the lakebed settlement (18 December 2004) there is no need to obtain separate affected parties consent from TALT.

If you have erected your structure post the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement (18 December 2004), you need to contact Council to discuss the way forward.

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation (DOC) have provided a blanket affected parties approval for all Lake structures that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement (18 December 2004) with the provision that structures retain the existing foot print and any maintenance works be undertaken outside of bird breeding season. If your lake structure sits on DOC administered Crown land, please note on your form ‘DOC has already provided blanket approval’.

Landowner approval is different to an effected parties approval. For all structures (retaining walls, jetties, boat sheds, etc.) located on DOC land, an approval is required from the Department. These approvals will be processed on a case by case basis. To find out more information about this process contact:

Rotorua Department of Conservation Community Team Supervisor. 
Email: rotorua@doc.govt.nz.

Rotorua Lakes Council

A blanket affected parties approval has been provided by Rotorua Lakes Council for all lake structures that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement; regardless of them being previously consented or not.

The Council’s 'Right to Occupy' will be issued in conjunction with the resource consent for any Lake structures located within the Council’s lake/land parcels that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement.

Land Information New Zealand

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has provided Council with blanket affected parties approval for all Lake structures that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement; therefore there is no need to obtain separate affected parties consent from LINZ.

If the existing structure is situated within the Crown Stratum (water and air space) and a resource consent is approved, LINZ (as the administering department) will issue a lease in the name of the resource consent holder.

Fish and Game New Zealand

Fish & Game has provided blanket approval to ‘Retaining Walls’ that were pre-existing prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement (18 December 2004), as long as the retaining walls are structurally sound and fit for purpose (for example have accompanying engineering report).

Term of renewed consents 

Resource Consents will generally be granted for a term of 30 years. Contracts between consent holders and land owner/administers will be granted for a period of 10 years and will be required to be renewed throughout the life of the consent term.

Replacement consent costs

A deposit of $775 (GST inclusive) is required with all resource consent applications. All communications beyond the first hour, and officers processing time, is charged at $160/hour (GST inclusive). To avoid unnecessary charges we encourage applicants to thoroughly read the website prior to making contact.Total costs are unknown until consents are actually processed, but applications that do not raise specific issues are not expected to exceed $1500 per application. 

Fixed verse natural boundaries

Most of Rotorua's lakeside properties have natural boundaries as opposed to fixed ones, straight lines between points or pegs established by surveys.

Natural boundaries are defined by ground features such as the banks of rivers, lakes and tidal waters. A natural boundary means that when accretion (land has gradually accumulated) or erosion take place (a slow and imperceptible change) the land owner may become entitled to more or less land than that originally comprised in their title.

This means that the land title register and plans which support it do not control the extent of the parcel on the ground, the moving boundary controls the extent of the parcel at any given point in time.

This means if land is eroded away then the land lost by the action of the water is lost to the registered proprietor and becomes part of the lake bed/stratum which is owned by TALT/LINZ.

natural lake boundaries

In some cases, where there is an esplanade reserve between the property parcel and the lake, because of the moveable boundary the lake structure now occupies lakebed owned by TALT and water stratum owned by the crown. Therefore a ‘Right to occupy’ from Rotorua Lakes Council may not be required and lake structure owners will instead need to apply for a lease from LINZ.

Esplanade reserve

Maintenance

Members of the public have a right to access and use any private jetty and to access public areas. For safety reasons owners must keep them maintained to a safe standard and notify Bay of Plenty Regional Council in writing (emailnotify@boprc.govt.nz) prior to any maintenance taking place. Maintenance must not extend beyond the existing footprint (including height) and it must be ‘like for like’ (not a radically different structure).

Modifying existing lake structure

If you are looking to modify the lake structure so it’s no longer ‘like for like’, or so it sits outside of the existing footprint, then resource consent and approval from the lakebed owner would be required prior to any works being carried out. TALT own the majority of lakebeds in the Rotorua area but some structures are within DOC owned marginal strips or RLC reserve. Consent from TALT after modifications have taken place will not be approved. Deliah BalleNicola Douglasare the best contacts at TALT to ask about modifying an existing structure. Contactdetails for the Te Arawa Lakes Trust can be found here.

Building code

When you are undertaking maintenance works, you need to ensure that building code requirements are met. Maintenance works on boat sheds or lake structures do require building consent where:

  • a component has failed to meet the durability of the requirements of the Building Code - 50 years for structural components and 15 years for the likes of cladding systems.
  • the footprint of any structure is altered (unless the structure is a jetty with a fall height of under 1.5m).

For more information on building code requirements please contact Rotorua Lakes Council.

To minimise the impact of lake structures to their environment, the construction and maintenance of  lake structures requires a resource consent from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. This also helps ensure  that structures are appropriately maintained and safe, are not eyesores and do not interfere with important  cultural aspects of the Rotorua Lakes.

Applying for consent

Before you consider applying for a resource consent for a new structure (or extension to existing structure), make sure you check out what existing structures are around. The lake owners and consent authorities will consider this when looking at your application.

If you still want to go ahead with a new lake structure (or extension to existing structure), and you’ve never applied for resource consent before, it pays to familiarise yourself with the resource consent process. When you’ve done this give our Duty Consents Officer a call on 0800 884 883. The first hour is free and they can help you make an informed decision about the best way forward, saving you time and money in the long run. 

Please note that any application for a new lake structure (or extension to existing structure) will be assessed against the polices set out in the Regional and District Council plans. It’s a good idea to check these out for yourself before preparing any consent application. Depending on the location of the structure the relevant Plans may include:

Consultation

When it comes time to apply for resource consent, we recommend the first thing you do is discuss your proposal and obtain written approval from the relevant lake owner(s)/administer(s) and affected parties. This will reduce the processing time and costs associated. 

There are a number of parties you may need written approval from if your proposed structure occupies a lake/lakebed they own, manage or administer. They include:

  • Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT), owners of the lake beds for the majority of Rotorua’s lakes. Please contact Deliah Balle on 07 346 1761 for queries. Please click for TALT Lake Structure Policy or TALT Lake Structure Policy Summary
  • The Crown owns the water and air space above the lake beds (referred to as the stratum). The stratum is administered by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) on behalf of the Crown. Please contact Jan Webster on 04 460 2786 for queries. 
  • Department of Conservation (DOC), administers reserves and marginal strips at various locations around the lake/lake beds. Please contact the Community Ranger on 07 349 7400 or rotorua@doc.govt.nz.

Rotorua Lakes Council, owners of reserves at various locations around the lakes. Please contact Robert Atkinson, Open Spaces Operations Advisor on 07 348 4199. 

Approval may be via letter or lease/right to occupy form.

Who are the affected parties?

Affected parties are people or organisations who are not already identified as lake/lakebed owners, managers or administers and might be more interested in, or more affected by, your activity than the general public. They are usually your immediate neighbours, but can also include people who are farther away. We’re already mentioned many of the potential affected parties above but another example is the Bay of Plenty Harboumaster, Peter Buell. He can be contacted on extension 0800 884 881 ext. 8411.

Approval from an affected party may be by letter or by filling in an Affected Person’s Form referenced at the bottom of this page.

Why do I need a lease?

Te Arawa Lakes Trust are landowners of the Te Arawa lake beds and they administer and manage the Te Arawa Stratum. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) administers the Crown Stratum on behalf of the Crown.  The stratum includes the water column and airspace stratum (see diagram below). If your structure was installed the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act (2006) you will require a lease from Te Arawa Lakes Trust and LINZ. A signed lease agreement is required with your application form.

Why do I need a Department of Conservation (DOC) Lease/Right to Occupy (RTO)?

The Department of Conservation administer reserves and marginal strips at various locations around the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes.  If your structure occupies DOC administered land you will require a lease/RTO form from DOC. You will need to sign the management agreement and return with your application form.

Why do I need a Rotorua Lakes Council Lease/Right to Occupy (RTO)?

The Rotorua Lakes Council are owners of reserves at various locations around the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes. If your structure occupies council reserve land you will require a lease/RTO from the Rotorua Lakes Council. You will need to sign the lease and return with your application form.

Will I need to sign and return several lease or Right to Occupy documents?

Yes, in some cases you may require a lease or RTO from several different parties. For example if your property is on a DOC marginal strip and was installed prior to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act (2006) you would require a lease/RTO from both DOC and LINZ.

Please note: To simplify this process the Regional Council has a Transfer Agreement with Rotorua District Council which means that the Regional Council assess resource consent applications under both the District Plan and the Regional Plan for most lake structures.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is the primary contact for lake structure resource consenting queries. If you have general queries regarding your application for resource consent please contact the Consents Duty Officer on 0800 884 880 or email info@boprc.govt.nz.

Support

There are a range of qualified professionals that can support you through the consent process and getting the required technical information like engineering reports or ecological assessments. We’ve listed some of these below.

Rotorua consultants

PREC Paul Richardson Engineering Consultants
1460 Hinemoa St, Rotorua 3010
07 349 1210

Can provide engineering reports.

Stratum Consultants
1268 Haupapa Street, Rotorua
rotorua@stratum.nz
07 347 7840

Will complete resource consent applications, including engineering reports.

Sigma Consultants Ltd
PO Box 553, Rotorua 3040
1281 Hinemoa St
07 347 3456

Will complete resource consent applications, including engineering reports.

Cheal Consultants (Canmap Hawley Ltd)

1180 Amohia Street
PO Box 396, Rotorua 3040
07 349 8470

Will complete resource consent applications, including engineering reports.

Wildland Consultants Ltd
99 Sala Street
Rotorua 3010
07 343 9017

Ecological assessments only.

APR Consultants
1209 Hinemaru St
Rotorua 3010
info@apr.co.nz
07 349 8333

BSK Engineers
314 Malfroy Road
admin@bsk.co.nz
07 348 5394

Can provide engineering reports.

Mooring Reports

Marine Flex Ltd
Mike & Donna Baker
12 Kent Street, Picton 7220
0274 452 379

Greenfield Diving Services
55 Winchester Terrace, Bethlehem, Tauranga 3110
0272 499 923 

Fixed verse natural boundaries

Most of Rotorua's lakeside properties have natural boundaries as opposed to fixed ones, straight lines between points or pegs established by surveys.

Natural boundaries are defined by ground features such as the banks of rivers, lakes and tidal waters. A natural boundary means that when accretion (land has gradually accumulated) or erosion take place (a slow and imperceptible change) the land owner may become entitled to more or less land than that originally comprised in their title.

This means that the land title register and plans which support it do not control the extent of the parcel on the ground, the moving boundary controls the extent of the parcel at any given point in time.

This means if land is eroded away then the land lost by the action of the water is lost to the registered proprietor and becomes part of the lake bed/stratum which is owned by TALT/LINZ.

natural lake boundaries

In some cases, where there is an esplanade reserve between the property parcel and the lake, because of the moveable boundary the lake structure now occupies lakebed owned by TALT and water stratum owned by the crown. Therefore a ‘Right to occupy’ from Rotorua Lakes Council may not be required and lake structure owners will instead need to apply for a lease from LINZ.

Esplanade reserve

Access our online consent forms and guidelines for lake structures here

Forms relating to a change, surrender or transfer of consent are located under Other forms.