All New Zealanders value access to the great outdoors and landholders, as stewards of the environment, have a tradition of granting access to those who ask.
To help make this process easier, the New Zealand Walking Access Commission is working with Federated Farmers New Zealand and Rural Women New Zealand to provide signage for landholders to use to mark agreeable and voluntarily granted access routes for the public to use when crossing landholders' properties (see below for downloadable guidelines and to request signage). This type of voluntary signage project was first proposed by Federated Farmers New Zealand in 2010.
The Commission is sponsoring these projects as part of its goal of increasing access to the outdoors. The Commission recognises the importance of property rights to New Zealand society and economy, and works to ensure property rights to both private land and public land are respected. This approach is supported by Federated Farmers New Zealand and Rural Women New Zealand.
The Commission lists the locations of landholder-approved access points as a layer of information on its online Walking Access Mapping System. A form for landholders fill in, providing the location of their property, is provided with each sign as part of this process.
The signs must be used only to indicate approved routes across private land, not to show the location of public land to which the public already has a right of access.
Other organisations including LandCorp Farming, Fish and Game New Zealand and some local authorities have expressed interest in the joint signage project, and may use a similar sign in future.
The signs developed as part of the Commission's partnerships with Federated Farmers New Zealand and Rural Women New Zealand offer a number of advantages for landholders.
By showing an approved route across a property, the signs can help reduce possible conflict over public access to private land. The signs also make it easy for landholders to provide contact details for walkers, hunters, fishers and other recreational users, thereby enabling them to more easily to ask landholders for access when permission is required.
Access to privately-owned land is a privilege, not a right. Landholders can exclude anyone from their land for whatever reason at any time. The sign demonstrates the willingness of landholders to make their land available to the public.
The signs are small and designed to hang upon a fence, or similar structure, to show an access entry point and/or route. Provision is made for the landholder to include contact details so people can ask easily ask permission to access their property.
The signs are in colour, and carry the New Zealand Walking Access Commission logo alongside the logos of other sponsor organisations. The signs are printed in colour fast inks on aluminium composite material and are designed to be durable in outdoor conditions.
Interested landholders who are members of Federated Farmers New Zealand or Rural Women New Zealand can obtain a sign at no cost and by contacting one of our Regional Field Advisors. Click here to find your nearest field advisor.
The New Zealand Walking Access Commission has led this project. This includes funding the preliminary development work, developing a design brief, preparing specifications for the manufacture, covering the cost of the initial manufacturing run and developing guidelines for use in consultation with Federated Farmers New Zealand and Rural Women New Zealand.
For further information, please contact Ric Cullinane, New Zealand Walking Access Commission Operations Manager on 04 815 8509.
Guidelines for use:
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