Gazetted walkways are publicly accessible tracks established under the Walking Access Act 2008, or one of its predecessors, and declared as walkways in the Government’s official newspaper, the New Zealand Gazette.
Not all gazetted walkways are easily identifiable as such from their name or signposts, and there are tracks with ‘walkway’ in their name that aren’t gazetted walkways.
Gazetted walkways are usually open to the public. The landholder can close the walkway on reasonable grounds, for no longer than necessary. In some cases, the easement for the walkway provides for it to be closed at certain times, most commonly for forestry and farming activities.
Where a gazetted walkway is on private land, the landholder retains the right to access and use the land, though must not obstruct the walkway.
As a walker, you must not:
- bring vehicles or firearms onto the walkway
- do anything that could damage or obstruct the walkway
- disturb or annoy other users or adjoining landholders.
There are fines of up to $10,000 for improper walkway use.
If you encounter livestock on a walkway, walk in single file and avoid disturbing them. If you feel threatened or in danger, you may wish to contact the authority in control of the walkway. Any stock in difficulty should be reported to the landholder.
Bikes, dogs, horses and vehicles
You should assume that bikes, dogs, horses and motor vehicles are prohibited on a gazetted walkway unless it has a sign saying otherwise. Exceptions exist for mobility vehicles and disability-assist dogs, including seeing-eye dogs.
Walkway easements appear under the Public Access Areas layer on our maps. They show as a dusky pink.
Those surveyed before the digital survey platform launched do not yet show in this layer, though may appear under the tracks and trails layer.
Creation and administration
Gazetted walkways over private land are created by registering a walkway easement against the land. This is a collaborative process between the landholder who wishes to create a walkway on their land and our team at Herenga ā Nuku.
Sometimes, landholders agree to a new walkway as a condition of a land purchase by an overseas party (in the context of the Overseas Investment Act 2005).
We manage the legal process to create the walkway. We appoint a controlling authority and assign the walkway a name. This information is also included in a walkway declaration notice published in the New Zealand Gazette.
Herenga ā Nuku has overall responsibility for gazetted walkways, but the controlling authority is responsible for the walkway’s day-to-day management and maintenance (see section 37 of the Walking Access Act 2008). Its website will provide track access information.
Gazetted walkways are not affected by changes in the ownership of private land.