Beginning in 2000 Lincoln University has completed biennial surveys of people's perceptions of the state of the New Zealand environment. The surveys use the Pressure-State-Response framework for state of the environment reporting to assess resources such as air quality, native plants and animals, native forest and bush, soils, beaches and coastal waters, marine fisheries, marine reserves, freshwaters, national parks, wetlands, urban environments, and the natural environment compared to other developed nations. They also examine participation in environmentally friendly activities, the most important environmental issues facing New Zealanders and a range of other issues. Individual case studies are also undertaken: in 2000 natural hazards; in 2002 the coastal marine environment, marine recreational fishing and preferences for expenditure on environmental matters; in 2004 freshwater and recreational angling; in 2006 transport and policies to internalise transport externalities. This paper reviews this research programme and its contribution to understanding state of the New Zealand environment and its management.