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What is a lake structure?

What is a lake structure?

Any structure where some part sits in, under or over the lake. Examples include:

  • Buildings (boatshed or boat port)
  • Structures (jetty, ramp, boat ramp, slipway stairs)
  • Moorings
  • Walls and retaining walls built of any material, including rocks.


Why is Resource Consent required?

Resource consent is for an activity that affects the environment. Within the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), section 13 and in some cases section 9 require resource consent for all structures in, on, under or over the bed of the lake regardless of whether the structures are existing or proposed. Unlike activities on the land, there are no existing use right provisions for activities on lake beds.

While a resource consent provides for the occupation of space within the lake, under the Resource Management Act, lake structure(s) also occupy land or lake bed/and/or the water column which requires permission from the lake/lakebed owner or delegated manager. Therefore, in addition to obtaining resource consent, all consent holders are required to sign a contract with the relevant lake/lakebed owner/manager.

Lake/lakebed owners and managers are Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT), Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC) and the Department of Conservation (DOC). Land Information New Zealand administers the water column and airspace stratum above the TALT lakebed.

Public Use of Structures

The public are able to use most jetties on the Rotorua lakes at any reasonable time and for any reasonable period. There are exceptions for commercial, safety or
private lake ownership reasons.

How are resource consents transferred?

You can transfer your consent to another person or party if they will be operating the same activity at the same location. A common reason for transferring a consent is if you have sold the property which the consented activity is on or in the case of a lake structure adjacent to.

To transfer your consent a transfer form needs to be completed and signed by both the consent holder and the person/party it is being transferred to. This can then be forwarded to Bay of Plenty Regional Council along with the $90 (GST incl.) transfer fee. The transfer form can be downloaded from our website or obtained from one of our offices.

The consent holder is responsible for initiating the transfer and remains liable for the consent, including the annual charges and any non-compliance, until the transfer is accepted by Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Consent holders will also need to transfer right to occupy and/or lease documents held with the Department of Conservation, the Rotorua Lakes Council, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and Te Arawa Lakes Trust. The consent holder is advised to contact the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the relevant parties for assistance with this.

What happens if someone doesn’t want their lake structure anymore?

The lake structure consent holder is required to submit a surrender form and remove the structure from the lake/lakebed The surrender form can be found online here or you can collect one from one of our offices. There is no charge for surrendering your resource consent.

We need to accept a surrender before it is officially surrendered and before the structure is removed. The consent holder may have to complete remedial or other required works as directed by the allocated compliance officer.

What if a lake structure requires maintenance works to be undertaken?

Lake Structures are now on a 10 year auditing regime and there are currently no annual charges. Charges will only occur when the lake structure is audited unless there are ongoing compliance issues. This process can however change from year to year as it is subject to an annual submission process.

Consent Holders are required to keep their lake structure maintained in a structurally sound condition. Although maintenance works are permitted under Council rules and are included in the consent, notification to BOPRC is required prior to undertaking these works and any works must remain within the existing footprint (including height).

There are exclusion periods (1 May until 31 December) for undertaking maintenance works unless permission is obtained from the relevant agency.