Parts of the mainland and minor islands have been set apart for the preservation of flora and fauna and as bird sanctuaries, with provision to restrict public access. There are 32 such areas totalling 447,252 acres. Important sanctuaries include Little Barrier Island, in the Hauraki Gulf, near Auckland; Cape Kidnappers gannet colony, in Hawke's Bay; Kapiti Island (q.v.) off Paraparaumu, near Wellington; the white heron colony near Okarito, in Westland; and the albatross colony at Taiaroa Heads, Otago Peninsula.
Provision is made in the Reserves and Domains Act for the creation of private scenic reserves under which land remains in private ownership but obtains the protection of the Reserves and Domains Act.
Native bush is also protected on public domains, of which there are 911, totalling 61,324 acres. Under the Forests Act of 1949, State forest land may be set apart as forest sanctuaries to preserve indigenous flora and fauna and for scientific purposes. The main area set apart is Waipoua State Forest of 22,500 acres, near Dargaville in North Auckland, the last remaining substantial stand of kauri trees.