Awards celebrate NZ's public access champions
Four of New Zealand’s public access champions were celebrated recently at the inaugural New Zealand Walking Access Commission Awards in Wellington.
The awards, presented during a ceremony at the Commission’s National Forum 2013 on 23 September, recognised significant contributions towards improving public access to New Zealand’s outdoors.
Those honoured were Nelson farmers Ian and Barbara Stuart, Wellington and Dunedin legal advisor and author Brian Hayes and Dunedin public access advocate Alan McMillan.
New Zealand Walking Access Commission Chairman John Forbes said the four award recipients had made their land available for the public to enjoy or given their time, knowledge and skills to make it easier for Kiwis and overseas visitors alike to enjoy the outdoors New Zealand is famous for.
“The Stuart family, Brian Hayes and Alan McMillan are some of our country’s great access champions. Their monumental efforts over many years have helped create the access we enjoy today and will no doubt play a major role in ensuring future generations continue to enjoy the same.”
The Stuart’s were one of the first private landowners to create a formal public walkway across their farm when Ian’s father established the Cable Bay Walkway in 1984. The 30th anniversary of the walkway was celebrated recently and it is now used by more than 100 people a week.
“Ian and Barbara have continued that spirit of goodwill and embody the values many of us grew up with. Their belief in stewardship and willingness to share the section of our country that they inhabit is something to be admired,” Mr Forbes said.
Brian Hayes is a former Registrar-General of Land and the author of numerous research reports and papers on the law regarding access, especially on unformed legal roads and rivers.
“His foundation reports were compiled and published in the book The Law on Public Access, which has fast become an invaluable resource for anyone interested in access to the New Zealand outdoors.”
Alan is chairman of community organisation Public Access New Zealand and works tirelessly to uphold public rights of access to the outdoors.
“He is a prime example of access leadership at the community level and has had an impact on New Zealand’s public access landscape through numerous submissions to local and central government,” Mr Forbes said.
The New Zealand Walking Access Commission Awards coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Commission’s establishment under the Walking Access Act 2008. The Act was granted Royal Assent on 29 September 2008 and passed into law the day after, creating the Commission with the role of leading and supporting the negotiation, establishment, maintenance, and improvement of walking access and types of access that may be associated with walking access, such as access with firearms, dogs, bicycles, or motor vehicles.
New Zealand Walking Access Commission Award recipients
Ian and Barbara Stuart
The Stuart family was one of the early private landowners to establish a public walkway on their farm when they formed the Cable Bay Walkway in 1984. Their property also has three covenanted areas of coastal bush, totalling 200 hectares, and a family-owned holiday park enjoyed by people from all over the country.
Ian’s father Fred was the inspiration for the walkway and began the family support for combining and managing productive farm operations, nature protection and recreation. Ian and Barbara have continued this tradition and embody the values of stewardship and community that so many New Zealanders grew up with.
The 30th anniversary of the Cable Bay walkway was celebrated in September and the walkway is now walked by more than 100 people a week. The Stuart family are also supportive of approaches they receive from many other recreational groups that wish to cross their property, whether they be climbers who come to scale the bluffs, or hunters, kayakers and 4WD groups that request permission to explore the area.
Ian and Barbara reflect the values that the Commission encourages – enhancing New Zealand’s “access culture” in New Zealand means building strong networks with the community, non-government organisations and local government in particular. Barbara and Ian have done this through their work and contributions to Federated Farmers, the NZ Landcare Trust, schools, the Tasman Environmental Trust and the Horoirangi Marine Reserve Management Board.
Ian and Barbara are committed to the ongoing support and education of local and rural community and in engaging private landowners in constructive outcomes for issues sensitive to private land.
Brian is the author of numerous research reports and papers on the law regarding access, especially on unformed legal roads and rivers. His foundation reports were compiled and published in the book The Law on Public Access, which has fast become an invaluable resource for anyone interested in access to the New Zealand outdoors.
Brian has spent a professional lifetime in land law and is widely acknowledged as an expert on access and New Zealand’s land registration system. He was Registrar-General of Land from 1980 to 1996, having been earlier appointed a District Land Registrar in 1967. His expertise as a former Registrar-General of Land, with an extensive professional background in land law, is readily apparent.
His research supported the work of the Land Access Ministerial Reference Group and the Walking Access Consultation Panel, to which he made a unique contribution particularly in relation to the legal status of roads and water margin issues.
Brian’s investigations into the Queen’s Chain highlighted the legal and practical difficulties in achieving continuous access along the banks of rivers, around lakes, and along the coast. His work on the complexities of water margin access, ownership of riverbeds and unformed legal roads reflect his lifetime professional interests. These areas had been neglected in the professional literature and have in the past been the subject of much public confusion and misunderstanding.
Alan is a prime example of access leadership at the community level. He has played a leading role with community group Public Access New Zealand and now serves as Chairman of its Board of trustees.
Public Access New Zealand is a small, very active organisation operating throughout New Zealand. Alan has made important contributions to numerous Public Access New Zealand submissions to local and central government over the past two decades, helping to shape the public access landscape for current and future generations.
He is a former president of the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers and has extensive knowledge of recreational access thoughout the country.