Outdoorspeople encouraged to 'follow the Kiwi way' these holidays

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission is encouraging New Zealanders to 'follow the Kiwi way' when accessing the outdoors this holiday season.

Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said free access to beaches, lakes, rivers and mountains was a wonderful part of New Zealand's culture, and it was important that people were aware of how to behave responsibly.

“Many thousands of New Zealanders will enjoy recreational activities in the outdoors with family and friends these holidays,” Mr Neeson said.

“Getting amongst our beautiful outdoors is part of what it is to be a New Zealander, and it's important that everyone remembers to follow the Kiwi way by being responsible and respectful of other people.”

The Commission has published the New Zealand Outdoor Access Code to help improve understanding of how to behave when accessing the outdoors. Among its top tips are: consider others when enjoying the outdoors, take care when using firearms or lighting fires, and ask permission before crossing private land.

A curriculum-aligned education website called Both Sides of the Fence has also been launched to help school children and their teachers understand different perspectives around access and its importance to the New Zealand way of life.

Mr Neeson said most people were well connected with the outdoors and continued to behave respectfully, but education was becoming increasingly important because a greater number of New Zealanders were growing up in cities and were not as exposed to rural life as some previous generations.

According to last year's Colmar Brunton Walking Access Survey, 92 per cent of New Zealanders access the outdoors in a typical 12 month period. Short walks, picnics and family outings are the most popular outdoor recreational activities, followed by swimming, photography, fishing and camping.