Walking Access Survey 2015

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission repeated its Walking Access Survey in early 2015. This survey builds on the findings of previous Walking Access Survey’s conducted in 2013 and 2011. These surveys are designed to gauge public perception of access topics and assess the Commission’s progress towards achieving the goals laid out in its Statement of Intent. As part of this process, the survey investigated participation in outdoor recreational activities and the public’s understanding of responsible behaviour when accessing the outdoors.

The Walking Access Survey also looked at awareness of the Queen’s Chain and the report provided some comparisons with Scotland’s People and Nature Survey 2013-14 to provide an international benchmark for awareness of access topics. These comparisons can be viewed on pages 11, 13, 14 and 34 of the survey highlights report, below.

The survey was conducted for the Commission by Colmar Brunton.

Key findings

  • 95% of respondents said free and easy access to the outdoors was important.
  • 88% of respondents said the outdoors was an important part of their everyday life.
  • 94% of respondents agreed New Zealanders and overseas visitors could access our country’s outdoors.
  • 68% of respondents felt access to the outdoors is being strengthened and valued.
  • 93% of respondents had used the outdoors for recreation in the past year.
  • Most respondents had an understanding of the basics of how to act responsibly in the outdoors. Nearly all respondents know they should always take litter home (96%) and a closed gate should always be left closed (93%), but fewer were aware that an open gate should always be left open (68%).
  • 64% of respondents said they would feel nervous about asking private land owners for access to their land. However, of those who had asked, 92% said they had been granted access.


A 15 minute online survey received responses from 1,150 members of the public between 24 February and 16 March 2015.

Results for a sample size of 1,150 are normally subject to a maximum margin of error of +/- 2.9 per cent. Results for sub-groups mentioned in the survey (e.g. 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

PDF Download Download: Walking Access Survey 2015 Highlights.pdf
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