Walking Access Survey 2013

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission repeated its Walking Access Survey in early 2013. This survey builds on the findings of the first Walking Access Survey in 2011 and is designed to help assess the Commission’s progress towards achieving the goals laid out in its Statement of Intent. As part of this process, the survey investigated the most common recreational activities undertaken by New Zealanders and their views and understanding of responsible behaviour when accessing the outdoors. The survey was conducted for the Commission by Colmar Brunton.

Key findings

  • 95 per cent of respondents said free and easy access to the outdoors was important.
  • Almost all survey respondents (92 per cent) said they used the outdoors for recreation, and 35 per cent had searched for access information in the past year.
  • Less than half of survey respondents said it was easy to find information on land ownership or status. However, the number of people who said it was easy to find information on land ownership or status has increased since 2011.
  • Most respondents had an understanding of the basics of how to act responsibly in the outdoors. ‘Not leaving litter’ and ‘leaving the environment as it is found’ were the first things respondents tended to think about. Most were also aware they should ask permission to cross private land, and knew to leave closed gates closed.
  • There continues to be a strong demand for better distribution of information about access, and a desire for the “rules of access” to be communicated more. Respondents said they would like to see information electronically, in print and on signage.


A 15 minute online survey received responses from 1,300 members of the public between 21 January and 5 February 2013.

Results for a sample size of 1,300 are normally subject to a maximum margin of error of +/- 2.7 per cent.  Results for sub-groups mentioned in the survey (eg, landowners/managers or outdoor club members) will be subject to wider margins of error.

Caution is necessary when interpreting the results of this survey due to the wide ranging and open-ended nature of many of the questions and the small sample size of some sub-groups providing answers to some of the questions.

Further information

  • To view findings of the 2011 baseline survey, please click here.
  • Click the icon below to download the highlights report. A full copy of the Walking Access 2013 survey is available on request.
PDF Download Download: Walking Access Survey 2013 Highlights.pdf
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