The Department of Conservation actively manages 660 key sites that reflect many themes of New Zealand history.

A significant theme is Maori, encompassing archaeological sites that reflect most aspects of Maori life. The early European contact period is represented by exploration, sealing and whaling, and the New Zealand wars.

More recent sites focus on important people and events; such as Governor Grey’s mansion, the North Head fortifications and government buildings. A distinctive group are the 40 historic huts related to recreation, deer culling and mustering. DOC is a major manager of bridge heritage with 28 historic bridges. Other themes involve industrial and economic use; gold and coal mining, timber, farming and transport. Also there are themes which focus on the environment; conservation, recreation and tourism.

The main topics represented on land managed by DOC are: