Rangipo Intake and Waipakihi roads
Herenga ā Nuku has recently received enquiries about public access from the Desert Road to Kaimanawa State Forest Park. Historically access for recreation has used formed roadways like Waipakihi and Rangipo Intake.
These formed accessways originated from the Tongariro Power Scheme. The Crown took the Waipakihi and Rangipo Intake accessways in the 1960s under the Public Works Act to develop the power scheme, and held them as Crown land. The Crown accepted public use during the time it held the land. The land is now being returned to the former or adjacent landowners.
These formed accessways were never dedicated as legal roads. Once the land that this formed access traverses is returned to the former or adjacent landowners, the formed access will be private access on private land.
Herenga ā Nuku has a statutory role of enhancing and maintaining public access. This includes supporting private property rights and advocating for public access rights where they exist.
Survey and title background:
The 1891 survey plan ML 3196 shows the original private land ownership of the wider area. This location shows no tracks or roads from the main highway east to the Kaimanawa Ranges.
In 1968 the Waipakihi access was surveyed (survey plan SO 27023). This was for work associated with the Tongariro Power Scheme. NZ Gazette 1968, page 1344, then gazetted the access under the Public Works Act as land taken for the development of waterpower.
The Ministry of Works also took a gravel extraction area at the eastern end of Waipakihi road at the same time as the accessway. This was for the shingle to build the dam. The purpose of the Waipakihi accessway was to access the gravel as part of the waterpower development. Genesis Energy would have no current need for an easement over this area. The Crown land taken for the development of waterpower, known as Waipakihi road, would not be needed for the original purpose anymore.
In 2009 the survey plan ML 421774 was approved to allow private freehold title to be issued. The accessway is shown through the middle of this plan and labelled ‘Part Rangipo North 7C Block’. The private land title parcels sit on either side of the access land. The access land is not part of the private land parcels.
The private freehold land Title 499478 was created in 2009. There are no easements or other access rights registered on this title.
We understand the Waipakihi accessway land is going through a process to transfer the Crown land back to the former or adjacent landowners.
Rangipo Intake road
In 1971 the Rangipo access and dam site were surveyed (survey plan SO 28281). This was for work associated with the Tongariro Power Scheme. NZ Gazette 1973, page 2681, gazetted the access under the Public Works Act as land taken for the generation of electricity.
The purpose of the Rangipo accessway was to access the dam site used for the generation of electricity. Genesis Energy needs to use the Rangipo accessway to get to the dam and intake site.
In 2009 the survey plan ML 426955 was approved as part of the project to capture private land spatially. The accessway is shown through the middle of this plan and labelled ‘Part Rangipo North No 6C Block’. ‘The private land parcels sit on either side of the access land. The access land is not part of the private land parcels.
In 2018 a survey plan (LT 454308) was approved that included the Rangipo Intake accessway and the intake/dam site. The survey report for this states the survey purpose as being:
The purpose of this survey is to issue title to Lot 1, which is a core asset allocated to Genesis Energy pursuant to the SOE Act. Lots 2-4 is land taken for Electricity Generation, that is returned to original owners, subject to a Right of Way being registered.
Lot 1 is the intake/dam site and is proposed to have title issued to Genesis Energy for it. Lots 2, 3, and 4 are the Rangipo Intake accessway, which is proposed to be returned to the owners. The survey plan also includes a right of way in favour of Lot 1 (Genesis Energy) to be registered over the Rangipo Intake accessway (areas A, B, and C). There is no public access easement being proposed with this survey.
The land was taken in 1968 under the Public Works Act 1928:
While section 42 of the Public Works Act 1928 provides for easements to be granted over Crown land taken under the Public Works Act, the Crown has been previously directed that the Crown cannot grant an easement for public access to another Crown department. While Crown land does not have an automatic right of public access, the Crown will generally tolerate the public using Crown land for access if it doesn’t conflict with any other use of the Crown land.
In the 1960s, the public use of this new access would have been for the public benefit of the local community. People would have seen that public access was available because it was Crown land and that the Crown had no objections to it being accessed. This use of the Crown land has continued until the land is/has transferred to the original owners. The owners can now determine how the land is used.
Section 4(1)(c) State Owned Enterprises Act 1986 (SOE Act) required the new State Owned Enterprise to have a social responsibility. This likely included continuing to facilitate the existing public use of Rangipo and Waipakihi accessways:
an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard for the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so.
Section 24(1) of the SOE Act provides that an Order in Council or Gazette Notice is required to transfer Crown land to a State Owned Enterprise. No evidence suggests that the accessways (for the development of waterpower) were ever transferred to the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand.
This is reinforced by section 25 of the SOE Act, which provides for land transferred to a State Owned Enterprise to have title issued under the enterprise’s name. No title is currently issued to Genesis for either Rangipo or Waipakihi accessways.
Both ‘roads’ were never taken as a road at any time but for a specific purpose associated with the development and generation of electricity. They were held as Crown land for that purpose. Our investigations have determined that the accessways are still held as Crown land.
Herenga ā Nuku will continue to research this further. We are engaging with others to understand matters fully. We will include any further information here that becomes available.