The Otago region covers around 32,000 km2 of land making it the third largest region in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Since settlement, land use and cover has changed dramatically with wetlands drained and forests cleared for the primary industries that still power this country. Yet, even in the last decades land use has continued to change. Since the first land use map in 1990 derived from the Land Cover Database (LCDB), land use has diversified with an expansion of land managed for conservation and an expansion of both dairying and horticulture.

Interactive Otago land use map

Disclaimer The map is derived from various datasets to inform the use of each land parcel. Proxies and assumptions were used when no land use information was available. The improvement of the map is an ongoing process.

While the use of land in Otago is diverse, it can be summarised into 8 broad categories:

Land use category

Regional extent (%)


Livestock farming


Land farmed for sheep, beef, deer and/or a mix of these and other animals.

Conservation and native


Land managed for conservation and native cover.



Land used for dairying and dairy support.

Plantation forestry


Land planted with forestry trees for the commercial harvest of timber.

Residential, commercial and infrastructure


Land in residential, commercial, public, and industrial uses; and road and rail infrastructure, small land holdings and lifestyle blocks.



Land used for short rotation cropping.



Land used for orchards, vegetable and flower growing, nurseries, and vineyards.

Pig and poultry


Land for the commercial rearing of poultry and pigs.



Rivers and lakes.

Land use information is important to understand the needs of the Otago community and helps us identify how different land uses can affect our environment.

Page last updated 11 July 2024.