Unformed Legal Roads
People are often unsure about the legal status of unformed legal roads, colloquially known as paper roads.
Types of legal public access
There are many different types of legal public access. This page details some of the main ones you are likely to encounter.
Overseas Investment Act
One of Herenga ā Nuku's interesting jobs is to look at applications by overseas investors to buy sensitive land.
Walking on Crown-owned land
Conservation land administered by DOC is usually open to walking access but there are some exceptions to this.
Cyclists and mountain bikers
Herengaā Nuku helps negotiate public access to trails for cyclists and especially mountain bikers.
New Zealand offers an abundance of walking tracks providing opportunities for access to the great outdoors. These tracks fall into many categories.
Resolving disputes over access
Herenga ā Nuku can help facilitate resolutions when there is a dispute between two or more parties over access to the outdoors.
The Country and Outdoor Recreation Calendar
A downloadable calendar showing common farming, fishing and hunting seasons. The calendar has been jointly created by Herenga ā Nuku, Fish & Game and Federated Farmers.
Walking over private land to get to public land
There is no general right of public access across private land. If there is any doubt about access you should seek permission first.
Can a landholder stop me using an unformed legal road?
No. Landholders do not have the right to refuse access over adjoining public land. This includes unformed legal roads.
Forms of legal access across private land
There is no general right of public access across private land. Owners of private land have the right of exclusive occupation and enjoyment of that land.
The right to walk with a dog, including hunting dogs, depends on the existing rights that run with access.
Motor vehicle on walking tracks
Generally, you cannot use motor vehicles on tracks. Even where vehicle access is allowed, such as on an unformed legal road, it is polite to inform the landholder.
Types of walkways
Gazetted walkways are those walking tracks that have been established under the Walking Access Act 2008 and the New Zealand Walkways Act 1990.
Bikes, dogs and horses on walkways
Unless there has been special agreement with the landowner or public land administrator bikes, dogs or horses may not be taken on a walkway.
Greenways, property developers and the use of incentives
Holly Stevens’ research highlights incentives to encourage Auckland’s property developers to allow public access through their land for greenway development.
What a wellbeing framework means for access to the outdoors
Treasury’s Living Standards Framework means a new way of talking about the value of tracks and trails. Tracks contribute to well-being in a multitude of ways.
Landholders can refuse the right to walk over land
Landholders may refuse access to their land, even if such access may have been traditional and the request seems to be reasonable.
Downloadable GPX files make accessing hidden spots easier
People accessing the outdoors can walk along public access that borders or passes through private land. And they can be more confident that they are in the right place.
Herenga ā Nuku advocates for shared pathways for cyclists, walkers, horse riders and other active transport users as a part of our support for outdoor recreation.