Commission farewells champion of public access

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission sends its condolences to the family and friends of public access advocate Alan McMillan, who passed away recently in Dunedin after a period of illness.

Mr McMillan was chairman of advocacy group Public Access New Zealand (PANZ). He had also been a member of the Walking Access Advisory Board, where his wise counsel and advice was appreciated and valued.

Speaking at Mr McMillan's funeral in Mosgiel on 27 January, New Zealand Walking Access Commission chief executive Mark Neeson said Mr McMillan was a strong and passionate advocate for public access to New Zealand's outdoors.

“Alan was the polite, objective, calm and enthusiastic voice of PANZ and provided it with clear and insightful leadership. His proposals and approaches were considered and thoughtful."

Mr Neeson said he regularly communicated with Mr McMillan to share ideas, views and opinions on access-related topics.

“Alan was someone one could discuss topics and share ideas in confidence and I had full trust and respect for him. In later years illness slowed him down and despite that, he worked many hours each week writing to district councils, government agencies and the New Zealand Walking Access Commission urging and challenging them to uphold the law and fulfil their duties concerning access. He was very persistent."

In 2013 Mr McMillan received one of the Commission's inaugural Walking Access Awards for his contributions to public access.

Mr Neeson said Mr McMillan's thoughtfulness, wisdom and leadership would be sorely missed.

* Photo caption:  Alan McMillan (front left), with Mark Neeson (centre) and fellow Walking Access Award recipient Bryan Hayes (right). Credit Otago Daily Times.