New walking access champion for top of the south

2016 RFA Penny Wardle 165

16/02/2016 4:18pm

Newly appointed New Zealand Walking Access Commission regional field advisor Penny Wardle is a firm believer in the power of individuals to make a difference.

It’s a quality the Blenheim woman expects to see in action in the community as she takes on the role at the top of the South Island.

A keen tramper and freelance communications consultant, Ms Wardle will champion public access in Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough and Kaikoura. She is working alongside newly-appointed Inger Perkins (West Coast) to promote access to the outdoors. The two replace former regional field advisor Chris Tonkin of Wakefield in Nelson.

Ms Wardle believes good walking access outcomes come from recognising that there are different points of view and resolutions cannot be forced.

“I like the way the Commission works with people to come up with solutions everyone can be happy with. Successful outcomes rely on people coming together and finding solutions that are agreeable to all sides,” she said.

Ms Wardle has helped clients including Environment Canterbury and the Marlborough District Council encourage biodiversity protection on private land. She was part of Marlborough Environment Awards farming and forestry judging teams and has worked as both a freelance journalist and for the Marlborough Express.

“I am especially interested in sustainable management of natural resources from the perspective of people who make a living from them and those charged with the protection of these resources. I’ve enjoyed working with a range of people from farmers to national and local government representatives and community groups.”

New Zealand Walking Access Commission chief executive Mark Neeson said Ms Wardle’s appointment will help strengthen the Commission’s presence, especially in Marlborough where she lives.

“Ms Wardle’s enthusiasm and experience will be of great value to the Commission’s work and we’re very pleased to have her on board,” he said.

Ms Wardle joins the Commission’s team of 12 regional field advisors across the country, charged with negotiating access, helping to resolve disputes and raising awareness of responsible behaviour and New Zealand’s outdoor heritage.

“I’ve walked the Northland section of the Te Araroa trail, as well as other trails here and overseas,” she said. “I’ve seen the benefits of access in areas that weren’t previously accessible.”

Ms Wardle looks forward to getting to know the top of the south better.

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