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.

Collectively, members have significant experience in farming, forestry, public service, land management, law, Māori 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.

Chair

John Forbes is Mayor of Opotiki District and a former 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 long 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. Barbara is currently the Nelson Tasman Coordinator for Rural Support Trust, supporting rural people under stress and going through adverse events. She is also a member of the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board.

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Board member

2015PennyMudfordforwebPenny Mudford is a Wellington based arbitrator and mediator and a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand.  She is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors, a member of Global Women New Zealand, and has held various governance roles. Penny has a background in agriculture with 20 years’ experience as a dairy farmer and rural property owner in Manawatu. She is National Chair of Rural Women New Zealand and a former provincial president of Federated Farmers. 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 Tairāwhiti iwi and currently works as the Māori Health Manager at Tairāwhiti DHB. He is a part-owner of a whānau 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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