What we do

Our role

The Northland Regional Council is one of Northland's main environmental guardians. We aim to protect our region's land, water, coast and air while still allowing for sustainable development.

The council is also responsible for promoting Northland's economic, social and cultural wellbeing, which is reflected in our motto 'Putting Northland first'.

Our 1.25 million hectare region takes in everything north of a line that stretches from south-east of Mangawhai – on the east coast – to Kaipara Harbour in the west and covers more than 3000km of coastline.

What we do – and how we pay for it

Our responsibilities include environmental management, flood and land management, biosecurity, emergency management, pollution control, public transport planning and funding, and coastal navigation and safety.

Our nine elected councillors decide the overall council policies and staff carry these out. The council employs 140 people who work across the region from four offices – our main office in Whāngārei and regional offices in Dargaville, Ōpua and Kaitāia.

The council's income comes from rates and charges, investments and government grants.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/whatwedo

Awards and funding

The Northland Regional Council has funding available to assist with a variety of eligible environmental, educational and cultural initiatives undertaken by the community. Individuals, landowners, community groups, schools and iwi are among those able to take advantage of regional council funding and advice.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/funding


NRC staff member holding pest plant.Biosecurity is about protecting our environment, economy and way of life from the harmful impacts of pest animals, pest plants and diseases. The council works with landowners to target regional pest plants and animals and helps the rural economy by controlling possums to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/nasties 


Education and public information

Specialist council staff host seminars and field days designed to educate Northlanders about a variety of topics linked to the environment, while others visit schools to deliver environmental education initiatives.

The council also produces a wide range of publications and self-help guides covering most aspects of our work.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/schools and www.nrc.govt.nz/publications

Emergency management

The council co-ordinates the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group for the region, working with a range of organisations and service providers to minimise the potential effects of emergencies. Our aim is to prepare ourselves and the community to respond to emergencies and to help the community recover.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/civildefence

Television interview during oil spill exercise.

Environmental planning, resource consents and monitoring

The region's natural resources sustain our lives so we help people to use these resources appropriately and sustainably.

Our regional plans contain rules about different types of activities in Northland. Activities not permitted by our plans require resource consent which allows people to use or take resources, discharge into air, water or onto land and to carry out work in the Coastal Marine Area.

Through these regional plans, resource consents and monitoring, we work with the community to care for our environment – air, land, water and coast.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/environmentalmonitoring and www.nrc.govt.nz/consents

Flood management

The region's rivers can put homes, farmland, jobs, livelihoods and property at risk from flooding. We help communities protect themselves from the effects of flooding.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/rivermanagement


The regional council looks after the navigational safety of all vessels in Northland's harbours – from Kaipara in the south to Pärengarenga in the north – and around the region's coastline. We encourage safe boating behaviour and are ready to respond in case of a marine oil spill.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/onthewater

Test driving ARGO vehicle.


We work with regional and national agencies to help ensure the provision and security of core regional infrastructure like transport, energy and telecommunications.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/projects

Land management

We encourage landowners to recognise the economic and social value of managing land in a way that will protect the resource and meet the needs of current and future generations.

The council works with landowners to develop sustainability and property conservation plans and with rural community groups to promote soil conservation.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/land

Pollution control

Safe handling of hazardous substances.The council maintains a 24-hour incident response service, conducts environmental assessments of industrial and commercial sites and maintains a register of sites with hazardous industries or activities.

To report pollution incidents call our 24/7 freephone 0800 504 639. For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/waste  

Economic development

We support economic development, including the promotion of Northland tourism, through Northland Inc Ltd, the regions's economic development agency. It is a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) of the Northland Regional Council and a limited liability company.

The council has established an Investment and Growth Reserve which will be used to fund projects that increase our region's economic performance. The initial criteria for the use of the reserve was published in our Long Term Plan 2012-2022 and subsequently updated in February 2014. The criteria is available to download from the Economic Development page on this website.

For more information go to the Investment Opportunities section on Northland Inc's website: www.northlandinc.co.nz


The regional council helps plan Northland's roading network and administers Whāngārei's public urban bus service.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/transport and www.nrc.govt.nz/bus

Water management

We ensure there is enough water for everyone – a difficult task with so many competing needs; water allocation, use and monitoring help control the situation.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/water

Your regional councillors

NRC Councillor, Craig Brown.The council has nine members elected every three years from the seven regional council constituencies in Northland - Te Hiku, Hokianga-Kaikohe, Kaipara, Coastal North, Coastal Central, Whāngārei Urban and Coastal South to represent the community.

Councillors – and staff – are freely available to discuss council issues. The public is also welcome to attend council meetings, which are usually held on the third Tuesday of each month (all upcoming council and committee meeting dates, venues and times are advertised in the Northern Advocate newspaper and on the council's website).

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/councillors and www.nrc.govt.nz/agendas


You can also subscribe to the council's website to receive updates, meeting announcements, media releases, job vacancies, etc. For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/subscriptions

Regional and district councils – who does what?

Northland's three district councils – Kaipara, Whāngārei and Far North – are responsible for essential community services within their own areas. These include road maintenance, land-use and subdivisions, community health and community services like libraries, swimming pools and recreation areas.

Natural resources and their use often cross district boundaries, which is why the regional council manages these resources for the benefit of the whole region.

For more information go to: www.nrc.govt.nz/districtcouncils

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Contact us

Find your local Regional Council office and our contact details to get in touch.