Review of the Walking Access Act 2008

We reviewed the Walking Access Act 2008 and released the findings in September 2019.

Background to the review

The Walking Access Act 2008 (the Act) is about providing free access to the outdoors for walking and for types of access that may be associated with walking, such as access with firearms, dogs, bicycles, or motor vehicles. The review of the Act was mandatory. It's written in the Act that a review must be held after 10 years.

  • In December 2018, we held workshops with a range of stakeholders to do some early scoping of the issues.
  • Between 17 May and 2 July 2019, we asked for public feedback about the Act. We ran an online survey, held public meetings and hui, and invited you to tell us what was working well and make suggestions for improvements.
  • MPI worked with a panel of 3 experts to help us complete the review.

Review report – what we found

The review report was presented to the House of Representatives on 25 September 2019.

Report on the findings of the Review of the Walking Access Act 2008 [PDF, 4.1 MB]

Public feedback documents

Public feedback paper [PDF, 3.8 MB]

Summary of public feedback paper [PDF, 5.9 MB]

Find out more

Questions and answers (September 2019) [PDF, 129 KB]

Next steps

A formal policy process will be carried out to test the findings from the review.  This will include public consultation on  proposals for change. In 2020 we'll update this web page with details about the timing of this next stage.

How we carried out the review

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) assessed what changes might be needed to the Act – both for now and for the future of public access. This included considering access to the outdoors in cities, towns, rural areas and further afield, and access to wāhi tapu and other areas of cultural significance.

The review considered:

  • whether the Act is needed
  • the operation and effectiveness of the Act
  • whether changes to the Act are necessary or desirable.

Find out more in the terms of reference [PDF, 336 KB]

The expert panel

MPI worked with a panel of 3 people, chaired by Dr Hugh Logan, to complete the review. The other 2 panel members were Leith Comer and Sandra Faulkner. The panel members have experience in public access to the outdoors, Māori access issues, government, and connecting with rural landholder communities.

Dr Hugh Logan

Dr Logan has had wide experience at national, regional and local levels that involve major outdoor access stakeholders. This includes environmental, conservation, primary industry, local government and recreation organisations. He has worked as chief executive for the Ministry of the Environment and the Department of Conservation.

He has a lot of experience in multi-stakeholder processes at national level. This includes chairing the Land and Water Forum. He has also been involved in community level local groups, including the Mackenzie Trust and the Canterbury Mountaineering Club.

Leith Comer

Leith Comer (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, Te Arawa, Ngāti Rangitihi, and Ngāti Pāhauwera) is the Chairman/Executive Director of Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Education Trust and the Chairman of Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi). He served in the military for over 20 years and is a current trustee of the Fallen Heroes Trust and the Chair of the Veterans' Advisory Board. He is a member of the New Zealand Parole Board. 

Leith is also a former Chief Executive of Te Puni Kōkiri. He helped establish and was an inaugural member of the Rotorua District Council Te Arawa Standing Committee. In 2018 he became a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for services to Māori, the State, and local government.

Sandra Faulkner

Sandra Faulkner owns and runs Wairakaia Station (a 600ha sheep, beef, cropping, and citrus operation south of Gisborne) along with her family. Together they won the 2014 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards. She is a member of the Institute of Directors and a trustee of the Campaign for Wool (NZ).

Sandra has extensive connections with rural landholder communities through being the Gisborne/Wairoa Provincial President for Federated Farmers of New Zealand, and an Executive Committee member of Farming Women Tairawhiti Inc. She is also a Director of Arohiwi Station (which is owned by Presbyterian Support East Coast), and is Vice-President of Gisborne Riding for Disabled Inc.

About the Walking Access Act 2008

The purpose of the Act is to provide the New Zealand public with free, certain, enduring, and practical access to the outdoors. It is also the piece of legislation that established the New Zealand Walking Access Commission.

The Commission leads and supports the negotiation, establishment, maintenance, and improvement of walking access and types of access that may be associated with walking, such as access with firearms, dogs, bicycles, or motor vehicles. The Commission works with private landowners, local government, the Department of Conservation and others to carry out this work.

New Zealand Walking Access Commission website

Walking Access Act 2008 – NZ Legislation website

Media releases

25 September 2019: MPI publishes findings from its review of the Walking Access Act 2008

17 May 2019: Public invited to have their say on access to the outdoors

29 November 2018: Mandatory review underway

Who to contact

If you have any questions or comments about the review, email walkingaccessreview@mpi.govt.nz 

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