New approach to concessions

A draft concept of Path New Zealand's proposed accommodation in Fiordland National Park. DOC Te Anau operations manager Greg Lind said the proposal had already received a high level of interest. IMAGE: Cheshire Architects

Public feedback will have a more prominent role as the Department of Conservation reviews a proposal to build commercial accommodation in Fiordland National Park.

A relatively new change to the way DOC assesses concessions means public consultation on a hotel proposal in Fiordland National Park will be happening alongside DOC's own internal review of the proposal, not after it.

Last week news broke that Path New Zealand founder Abbe Hutchins, a granddaughter of Real Journeys founders Les and Olive Hutchins, put in a request for lease and license to build and operate a 40-person commercial accommodation venture near the Eglinton Valley along the Milford Road.

DOC Te Anau operations manager Greg Lind said DOC had changed its model for assessing concessions applications last year. 

The change meant the public would be given the opportunity to have their say on the initial proposal itself, not on DOC's analysis of the proposal or its intended course of action.

He said the Path New Zealand request was the first completely new venture for Fiordland National Park that would be looked at under the new way of doing things.

Under the previous model, the Department would have determined whether it approved the proposal in principle, and if it did, only then would it go to seek public feedback, Mr Lind said.

Now submissions in the report to Southern South Island operations manager Aaron Fleming, who is the decision maker for this proposal, will be one of the tools used to assess the application and whether it should be granted.

The feedback period closes on July 20. While DOC receives feedback, it would also be researching and asking more questions about the nuts and bolts of the proposal. 

Consultation documents and information on how to send a submission can be found online at


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