Coromandal Walkway
Photo by Robert Engberg

Landholder liability

Accident Compensation

All New Zealanders and visitors to New Zealand who get injured are covered by the no-fault accident compensation scheme ACC. In return, people do not have the right to sue landholders or others for injuries (other than for exemplary damages — damages awarded to punish or make a public example of the party at fault). This applies to overseas tourists too.

Health and Safety liability

Landholders are not legally liable for the health and safety of visitors who use their land, other than customers of their business, so long as they warn visitors of workplace risks they would not normally expect to encounter.

Obligations of landholders towards recreational visitors (Herenga ā Nuku)

Other liability

There may be landholder liability under the Occupiers Liability Act 1962. The extent of liability under this act is unclear. Still, the Walking Access Act (s66) limits landholder liability for loss or damage suffered using walking access on private land or gazetted walkways. This exemption does not apply to any loss or damage caused by a landholder’s deliberate act or omission.


If somebody interferes with a landholder’s rights by being on their land, there are remedies under the Trespass Act 1980. Disturbing domestic animals, setting traps, shutting an open gate and opening a closed gate on private land are all trespass offences. These provisions do not, of course, apply to publicly accessible land.

Trespass notices (Police)