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 landowners you may need to interact with when getting resource consent. Alternatively a summary document can be found here. 

Existing lake structures

Existing lake structures are those which existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act 2006 and remain unchanged. There are numerous existing structures sitting in, on, under or over Rotorua’s lakes. You need a current consent for these structures and to protect the environment, you cannot make changes to the footprint or carry out maintenance without applying for a new consent or notifying the Regional Council prior.

To transfer a resource consent to another party, please complete a Resource Consent Transfer Form.

Please note that this definition differs from that in our RMA and Building Charges Policy which states that when re-consenting existing unchanged lake structures – the $775 application deposit fee applies to all previously consented, unchanged lake structures whether or not they existed prior to the 2006 Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement.

Renewing my lake structure consent

Many resource consents for lake structures in the Te Arawa Rotorua Lakes area are due to expire by December 2020. If no changes are being made to the footprint of the structure, consent holders can apply for a new consent. To make the replacement consent process as easy as possible for consent holders, we are simplifying and streamlining it on behalf of the 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. These forms need to be returned to the Regional Council within six weeks of receiving them.

Applying for a replacement consent

To simplify the replacement consent process, we are sending out customised information packs to consent holders. Separate lease forms will also be included in these packs on behalf of lake/lakebed 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.

Lake Structures built post the 2006 Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement, unconsented lake structures, lake structure extensions or removal of vegetation (in conjunction with maintenance) all require a new consent and are not included in the streamlined process.

Existing unconsented retaining and protection walls are an exception, and you can apply for consent for these if you are already going through the replacement consent process for other structures. It’s best to apply for these at the same time so that you will not 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 could impact 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 use of a structure, 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 landowner/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, an assessment of cultural effects must be undertaken. 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.

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 (for example, half or a quarter) in a lake structure, they will be required to nominate a contact person and share correspondence with the structure’s other consent holders or owners. 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 report must include dimensions, materials, a structural assessment and cover any environmental effects.

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 obtained. 

The Unconsented Existing Retaining and Erosion Protection Walls application form and information on Applying for consent for existing retaining and erosion protection walls can be found on our Consent forms page under the heading "Construct a culvert or bridge, other instream works, lake structures".

A list of Rotorua based consultants including engineers can be found here.

Will I need to sign and return several leases, Agreements for Occupation or Right to Occupy documents?

Yes, in some cases you may require a lease, Agreement for Occupation (AFO) or Right to Occupy from several different parties. For example, if your lake structure crosses the DOC marginal strip and LINZ boundary and was installed prior to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act (2006) you would require a joint AFO 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 consents.queries@boprc.govt.nz.

Compliance

Lake structures are currently inspected on a 10-yearly basis and consent holders will receive one charge at this time. All charges are on an actual and reasonable basis including those arising from a complaint or compliance issue.

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 is unchanged and existed prior to the lakebed settlement (24 October 2006) there is no need to obtain separate affected parties’ consent from TALT.

If you have erected or changed your structure without lakebed owner approval and resource consent post the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement (24 October 2006), you need to contact Council to discuss the way forward.

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has provided blanket affected parties approval for all lake structures which existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed settlement (24 October 2006). This is with the condition that structures retain the existing footprint and any maintenance works be undertaken outside of the bird breeding season (1 September – 24 December).

Landowner approval is a different process to an affected party’s approval. For more information on this process, please contact ; Community Team Supervisor on rotorua@doc.govt.nz or 07 349 7400.

Rotorua Lakes Council

A blanket affected parties approval has been provided by Rotorua Lakes Council for all previously consented, non-commercial, unchanged lake structures that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement.

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 for unchanged ‘Retaining Walls’ that were pre-existing prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement (24 October 2006), provided the retaining walls are structurally sound and fit for purpose with an accompanying engineering report.

They have also provided blanket approval for all previously consented structures.

Term of renewed consents

Resource consents will generally be granted for a term of 30 years. Contracts between consent holders and landowner/administers will be granted for a period of 10 years and will require renewal throughout the consent term duration.

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 determined once the consents are processed, but applications that do not raise specific issues are not expected to exceed $1500 per application (Please note the $1500 does not apply to existing, unconsented lake structures such as retaining walls which will incur additional processing costs because they were not previously consented).

Fixed versus natural boundaries

Most of Rotorua's lakeside properties have natural boundaries rather than fixed boundaries, which are 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 the landowner 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, it is the moving boundary which controls the extent of the parcel at any given point in time.

For example, if land area is reduced due to water erosion it becomes part of the lakebed/stratum, then it will become property of TALT/LINZ.

natural lake boundaries

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

Lake Rotoiti Level Control Trial

For information on the Lake Rotoiti water level control trial, please visit the Lake Rotoiti page.

Maintaining and modifying existing lake structures

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 (email notify@boprc.govt.nz) prior to any maintenance taking place. Maintenance must not extend beyond the existing footprint (including height) and it must be replaced ‘like for like’.

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 most lakebeds in the Rotorua area but some structures are within DOC owned marginal strips or Rotorua Lakes CouncilRLC reserve. Consent from TALT after modifications have taken place will not be approved. Harry Carlson or Nicola Douglas are the best contacts at TALT to ask about modifying an existing structure. Contact details 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.

Rotorua Lakes Council Public Lake Structure update

The Kennedy Bay jetty renewal was completed in May 2020, including fenders at the end and down the ramp side. Due to Covid-19 supply issues, there are a few missing fenders which will be installed as soon as they arrive. Work on the Gisborne Point boat ramp and jetty has also begun. For more information, please contact Janine Field from Rotorua Lakes Council on 07 348 4199 or email Janine.Field@rotorualc.nz.

Lake structure repair and/or maintenance contractors

Steve Ross
Peliconstruction Ltd
Email: peliconstruction_ltd@hotmail.co.nz
Mob: 021 251 3442

Stuart Dennis
Urban Green
Email: stuart@urbangreen.co.nz
Mob: 027 478 7848
Note: can get a barge in if required
Ross Keyworth
Tarawera Builders
Email: rossnsuzy@slingshot.co.nz
Phone: 027 710 2052 or 07 362 8404
Note – can get a barge in if required
Mark Pemberton
Traditional Landscapes
Email: trad.landscapes@gmail.com
Mob: 027 499 7794
Lance Black
Email: lance.black07@gmail.com
Phone: 07 347 9860 or 027 410 0291
Peter Hitchens
Pete’s Landscaping and Maintenance
Email: petehitland@gmail.com
Mob: 027 500 6886

Installing a new lake structure

To minimise the impact of lake structures on the environment, their construction and maintenance 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 reviewing your application.

If you still want to proceed 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, please call our Duty Consents Officer 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. We recommend reading these before preparing any consent application. Depending on the location of the structure, the relevant Plans may include:

Here's information on how much a resource consent would cost.

Consultation

When you’re ready to apply for resource consent, we recommend starting by discussing your proposal and obtaining written approval from the relevant lake owner(s)/administer(s) and affected parties. This will reduce the consent processing time and costs associated.

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

  • Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT), owners of the lake beds for most of Rotorua’s lakes. Please contact Harry Carlson at harry@tearawa.iwi.nz or 07 346 1761 for queries. The Te Arawa Lakes Environmental Plan (Te Tūāpapa o nga Wai o Te Arawa) will super-cede/replace the "TALT Lake Structure Policy" and "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, Portfolio Manager, 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 administrators 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 have listed some of the potentially affected parties above and another example is the Bay of Plenty Harbourmaster, Peter Buell. He can be contacted on extension 0800 884 881 ext. 8411. Fish and Game are another affected party and Matt Osborne can be contacted on 07 357 5501 or via email mosborne@fishandgame.org.nz.

In addition to lakebed owner approval from TALT you will also be required to consult with local iwi and hapū; we can advise whom you will need to contact and provide contact details.

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 lakebeds 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 post 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 Lease/AFO (Agreement for Occupation)?

The Department of Conservation (DOC) administers reserves and marginal strips at various locations around Rotorua Te Arawa lakes. If your structure occupies DOC administered land then you require an Agreement for Occupation (AFO) from DOC. You will need to sign the AfO and return with your resource consent application form.

Why do I need a Rotorua Lakes Council Right to Occupy?

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 Right to Occupy from the Rotorua Lakes Council. You will need to sign the Right to Occupy and return it with your application form.

What support is available?

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 Rotorua-based consultants below.

Consultant Contact details and/or notes
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 1281 Hinemoa St
PO Box 553, Rotorua 3040
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.
WSP 1105 Arawa Street
PO Box 1245, Rotorua
07 343 1400
  • Will complete resource consent applications, including engineering reports.
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.
Marine Flex Ltd Mike & Donna Baker
12 Kent Street, Picton 7220
027 4452 379
  • For mooring reports
Greenfield Diving Services 55 Winchester Terrace, Bethlehem, Tauranga 3110
027 2499 923
  • For mooring reports

Fixed versus natural boundaries

Most of Rotorua's lakeside properties have natural boundaries rather than fixed boundaries, which are 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 the landowner 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, it is the moving boundary which controls the extent of the parcel at any given point in time.

For example, if land area is reduced due to water erosion it becomes part of the lakebed/stratum, then it will become property of TALT/LINZ.

natural lake boundaries

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

Forms

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.