Royal recognition for access champions

Three New Zealanders who have made significant contributions to the public access debate were honoured recently in the New Year's Honours.

Former Registrar-General of Land Brian Hayes and former MP Eric Roy were made Companions of the Queen's Service Order (QSO), and former Rural Women New Zealand president Elizabeth Evans was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).

Mr Hayes' QSO recognised his contribution to New Zealand's land tenure system. He has been heavily involved in the public access debate over many years, including as a member of the Ministerial Land Access Reference Group, and was awarded a New Zealand Walking Access Commission Award in 2013 for his contributions to improving public access to the outdoors.

Mr Roy's QSO recognised his contributions as a Member of Parliament. He played an important role in shaping the Walking Access Bill that created the Walking Access Commission. He also served on the Ministerial Land Access Reference Group.

Ms Evans' ONZM recognised her contribution to rural women. Her involvement in public access has largely been through her role as president of Rural Women New Zealand, where among many other contributions, she championed the need for mutual respect and understanding between landholders and people seeking recreational access to the outdoors.

New Zealand Walking Access Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said it was “fantasticâ€