The Milford Opportunities Project (MOP) masterplan is the culmination of four years’ work by the Milford Opportunities Group, Boffa Miskell, Stantec and the wider project team.

Milford Sound Piopiotahi is one of New Zealand’s most visited tourist destinations, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; but it had become crowded, rushed, noisy and unsafe. It became apparent that these immediate challenges were set in the context of piecemeal and incremental development creep over the longer term.

The Milford Opportunities Project (MOP) was established to investigate and address these shortcomings and shape the future of Milford Sound Piopiotahi, with the commissioning of the Masterplan being a key action to progress that mandate.

Developing this Masterplan required significant collaboration and consultation between numerous stakeholders to meet and exceed the diverse expectations, particularly around economic growth, recreation, tourism, environment, and conservation.



Worked with

Milford Opportunities Project Group
Visitor Solutions
Fresh Info
Martins Jenkins
Natural Resources Law
Richard Aquino

Project date

2016 - 2021


Best Practice Award | Strategic Planning and Guidance | NZPI Annual Awards
Project Award | Masterplan | RMLA Awards
Outstanding Planning Achievement | Planning for Conservation of the Built and Natural Environment and Cultural Heritage | Commonwealth Association of Planners

Delivering the Masterplan will achieve the following key outcomes:

  • Protection of the essential character by managing access through time distribution.
  •  Ngāi Tahu culture and history is woven through a fully immersive experience of place and people.
  •  A world class experience for all visitors
  •  Improved governance and management of Milford Sound Piopiotahi activities and related infrastructure.
  •  Funding for Fiordland improvements and support of the World Heritage National Park, including bird recovery, predator free initiatives, flora and fauna, track standards and successful integration of culture and history.
  •  Zero emissions tourism with a focus on H2 or EV bus fleet, progressive standards on all other vehicles and hydroelectricity at Milford Sound Piopiotahi.

The Milford Opportunities Masterplan represents a rare exercise in comprehensive masterplanning at scale, addressing not only physical infrastructure, but also cultural and social impacts, and governance frameworks and legislative changes required to enable its ambitious programme.

The Masterplan provides an innovative set of strategies to address significant challenges that are facing not only Te Anau and the Milford Corridor, but also those other national parks, regions and smaller communities across Aotearoa New Zealand that have been impacted by the reduction in international tourism and have the opportunity to prepare for the post-COVID pandemic recovery.

The Masterplan has potential to influence World Heritage Sites internationally that have faced similar conservation and tourism pressures, providing a model for developing destination management plans as part of preparing for a more regenerative approach to tourism in a world more aware of climate change impacts.

The Masterplan is the critical middle stage of a three-stage process, bridging the gap and providing Guidance between the Vision (prepared by others) and the Implementation Stages. It has enabled Government ministers across Conservation, Tourism, and Transport portfolios to jointly coordinate and agree, through Cabinet, the allocation of $15 million dollars of establishment funding. This has, in turn, allowed the Project Partners to set up a governance structure, a dedicated implementation unit and then progress the planning, design and consenting of the Masterplan recommendations.

See the full Master Plan here

Our role was Masterplanning, Conservation Impact Analysis, Land Analysis.