People are encouraged to ‘follow the Kiwi way’ over the holidays by showing respect for neighbouring landholders when accessing the country’s beaches, forests, rivers and mountains.
New Zealand Walking Access Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said New Zealand’s striking outdoor environments provided fantastic opportunities for people to get out and enjoy themselves this summer but understanding how to act responsibly in these areas was necessary to maintain New Zealand’s special access culture.
“Most landholders are happy to grant access across their property when asked. However, it is important that people using the outdoors for recreation repay that trust by acting responsibly.
“People who are unaccustomed to rural life are often unaware of behaviours we take for granted. A little extra knowledge can make all the difference.”
Mr Neeson said the New Zealand Outdoor Access Code, available on the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s website, offered practical advice and information for accessing the outdoors, including simple steps like asking permission before crossing private land, walking in single file around stock and leaving gates as they are found.
People planning trips into the outdoors this summer could also make use of the Walking Access Mapping System – a free online tool developed by the Commission to help people identify publicly accessible land.
Research conducted by the Commission last year found that 92 per cent of New Zealanders had been in the outdoors for recreation during the past 12 months, with picnics and family outings as the most popular outdoor recreational activity (66 per cent), followed by short walks (63 per cent) and swimming (49 per cent).
The Walking Access Code is here.
The access mapping tool is here, though it’s still a work in progress.
Most visitors adhere to it without the need to be told, respecting property rights and sticking to the exhortation to take only photos, leave only footprints.
It’s usually just a few who deliberately or through ignorance, let the majority down.