About Us

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission provides leadership on walking access issues and administers a national strategy on walking access, including walkways. It also undertakes mapping of walking access, provides information to the public, oversees a code of responsible conduct, assists with dispute resolution and negotiates new walking access.

The Commission has a small team in Wellington and a network of regional field advisors. It is governed by a five-person board.

Members were first appointed to the Board of the Commission in October 2008. Appointments were initially made for a relatively short term, to 28 February 2009, reflecting the conventions that apply during a pre-election period. Members were re-appointed in April 2009 for terms ranging from one to three years and subsequent appointments and re-appointments have been made since then.

Collectively, members have significant experience in farming, forestry, public service, land management, law, Maori interests, public consultation, local government, recreational access, and dispute resolution. For more information about the functions of the Commission please consult the Walking Access Act 2008.

2015 NZWAC staff and board for web

Chairperson

John Forbes is Mayor of Opotiki District and Co-Chair of the 2015 John Forbes for webRural/Provincial Sector of Local Government New Zealand. He has a good understanding of the agricultural, horticultural, forestry and rural sectors. As committee chairman of a rural council for 18 years and a Mayor since 2001, John has had significant experience in governance processes, public consultation and representing rural communities. He was a member of the Walking Access Consultation Panel and the Walking Access Advisory Board.

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Board member

2015 Barbara Stuart for webBarbara Stuart is a Nelson farmer and outdoor enthusiast with a background of community involvement. The Stuart family has a long standing history of supporting outdoor access. Barbara and her husband Ian and his parents were among the first private landowners to create a formal public walkway across their family farm, establishing the Cable Bay Walkway in 1984. In 2013, they received one of four Walking Access Awards for this and other outdoor access initiatives in their community 

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Board member

2015PennyMudfordforwebPenny Mudford is a Wellington-based dispute resolution specialist and a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand. She is an experienced director and coaches senior managers and directors in the areas of governance and conflict. Penny has a background in agriculture with 20 years’ experience as a dairy farmer and rural property owner in Manawatu. She is a former provincial president of Federated Farmers and was a supplier representative of both Tui and Kiwi dairy companies. Her position as a rural arbitrator ensures she continues to be involved in the farming sector. Penny was a member of the Land Access Ministerial Reference Group in 2003.

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Board member

2015 Peter Brown for webPeter Brown is affiliated to a number of Tairawhiti iwi and currently works as the Maori Health Manager at Tairawhiti DHB. He is a part-owner of a whanau land block which provides free public access to East Cape Lighthouse. Peter is also the chairman of a tribal farming incorporation, a director of a medicinal herb company and has his own orchard block. He holds qualifications in law, management and the environment and is certified in dispute resolution. Peter is also a former Waitangi Tribunal member.

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Board member

Robin McNeill for webRobin McNeill has had two decades of involvement in outdoor sector issues as a keen tramper, mountaineer and occasional hunter. He is a past president of Federated Mountain Clubs and served for ten and a half years on the Southland Conservation Board. Robin played an important role in development of the Walking Access Mapping System as a member of the mapping system's technical advisory committee.

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