The Outdoor Access Code identifies eleven areas of responsibility and outlines actions for each one. It covers respecting other people’s interests and caring for the environment.
- Caring for the environment
- Staying safe
- Respecting farms
- Respecting forests
- Tikanga Māori and Māori relationships with land
- Fishing and hunting
- Motor vehicles
- Mountain biking
Most of the time, appropriate behaviour is common sense. This code provides information so that everyone can make informed decisions. This will help to avoid damage such as breaking a fence or disturbing stock, causing interference such as blocking a gate with a vehicle, or recklessly disturbing birds or other wildlife.
Being aware of other people and making room for them can help avoid conflicts between different outdoor pursuits, for example, walking, mountain biking and horse riding on the same track or fishing and boating in the same reach of a river.
Existing laws and by-laws cover many aspects of poor conduct, such as littering, vandalism and excessive noise. Landholders or access users who face serious or persistent anti-social behaviour should contact the Police or their local authority for advice.
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Follow any reasonable advice offered
- Consider and respect other people
- Care for the environment
- Seek permission for access to private or Māori land
- Learn and respect tikanga Māori
- Know how to plan a safe trip
- Be aware of natural hazards and weather
- Get permits for hunting and fishing
Caring for the environment
Public access to the outdoors connects us to te taiao, our unique natural world. NZ’s nature is precious, and many of our native species are endangered or at risk.
Exploring NZ’s outdoors can be an adventure, but there are risks that you might not experience in other places. Preparation can help you keep yourself safe.
Farms are private land, and you need permission to access them. But many farmers are keen to showcase hospitality, openness and generosity.
Respecting commercial forests
Commercial forests are working sites, and there are times such as when forest operations are taking
place or there are elevated fire danger levels, when access can create high risks for people.
Tikanga Māori and Māori relationships with land
It is important to provide guidance on Māori cultural practices for access users, as access users may not be knowledgeable about tikanga Māori or Māori relationships with land and waterways.
Where fires are permitted and appropriate, their impact should be minimised – for example, by ensuring that any fires are fully extinguished before leaving.
The right to walk with a dog, including hunting dogs, depends on the existing rights that run with access.
Fishing and hunting
Fishing and hunting activities both require permits in addition to any permission required for walking access.
Generally, you cannot use motor vehicles on formed walking and biking tracks. Even where vehicle access is legally allowed, it is polite to inform the adjoining landholder.
In many cases, mountain bikers share space with horses, walkers, trampers and joggers. Riding safely and respecting others’ rights is important.