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Ngā mihi mo ngā hararei Season’s greetings

It’s been a big year, and it’s been a year when more New Zealanders have discovered a need to connect to good outdoor access. COVID-19 has seen more of us out walking, biking and exploring the outdoors.  

This has made the Walking Access Commission realise how valuable the work we do is. To support the benefits outdoor recreation and active transport can give to our mental and physical health, transport needs and connection to te taiao, we need good access to the outdoors. 

2021 is nearly over. Here is our Walking Access Commission Wrapped playlist for 2021: 


Our mapping team were super-busy launching our new Pocket Maps App and sharing all our GIS info in an open data portal. We also took time to update the NZ imagery basemaps

Te Araroa 

Te Araroa turned ten. While fewer international tourists walked the trail, more NZers took their place walking either part or all our longest walkway. We worked with a bunch of organisations and community groups to make that walk easier and more fun – for instance in North Waikato and Auckland. We also showcased Te Araroa in a virtual field trip for school children around the motu. 

Outdoor Access 

As well as big tracks like Te Araroa we also helped with access to smaller walkways. For instance, we helped people explore Kerikeri. And, in Buller, the Kawatiri Coastal Trail continues to wind its way west. Locals estimate the trail will benefit the Buller District by $18 million in its first 12 years. There will be 30 jobs created during the construction period and 100 jobs created in support of the trail.  

Trail Building Groups 

This year we launched our nationwide network of trail building groups – they’ve already held two meetings with the support of our network of regional field advisors. We built a resource library to help them with compliance tasks so they can have more time for building trails.  We were delighted to present Rick Edmonds with this year’s Outdoor Access Champion Award for the work he and his team have done over nearly two decades building the Link Pathway from Picton to Havelock. 

Advocacy and Advice 

As always, we provided local advice and support to people with outdoor access issues such as locked gates over unformed legal roads, and respecting land and the people who care for it. We made many submissions to councils about protecting and enhancing outdoor access, such as this one which helped the West Coast commit to a stronger focus on walkers and cyclists. And, for the first time, we established a relationship with the Iwi Leaders Forum to discuss outdoor access legislation. 

Revisit our most popular webpages from 2021 

  1. Find My Adventure had a record number of visitors as people went looking for nearby walks and rides to explore 

  2. The most popular tracks were the North Shore Coastal Walk and the Paekākāriki Escarpment Track.

  3. As always, many people wanted information about unformed legal roads and access along rivers, lakes and the coast

  4. Our fact sheet ‘can I carry a gun?’ was popular as was our new Pocket Maps App

  5. And, of course, our people page for those of you who wanted to find a real person to speak to. 

Digital Christmas Card