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WAMS is dead. Long live WAMS

Last year, Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa, the Outdoor Access Commission, became the new name for what was the Walking Access Commission. This year, the Commission has quietly renamed its popular mapping system without changing its acronym, WAMS.

“WAMS has a modest but crucial and long-standing user base that loves to discover public access to the outdoors. Many of these people advocate for access in their own corner of NZ and help raise awareness of access issues,” says Ric Cullinane, Herenga ā Nuku chief executive.

WAMS originally stood for Walking Access Mapping System. But the Commission works to improve free, certain, enduring and practical access to the outdoors for a variety of people, including cyclists and horse riders.

From now on, WAMS can be thought of as Whenua Akeake Mahere System – our mapping system of enduring public lands. This Māori name captures the deep connection New Zealanders have to the whenua.

“This is not a big rebrand,” says Cullinane, “and we know WAMS may be an abstract word to many users. We wanted to keep the acronym – or backronym as you might call it now – and update the official meaning to reflect the breadth of work we support”.

Outdoor access maps (WAMS)