Crown Forest PAEs on our maps

New map layer shows access through Crown forests

We have added a new layer to our maps showing Public Access easements (PAEs) created under the Crown Forest Asset Act. The new layer is on the Outdoor Access and Public Access Area maps. The PAEs are light pink on our maps.


The easements were created over Crown Forest Licences. The Crown Forest Licences were set up in the early 1990s. They enable the Crown to dispose of its commercial forestry, but to keep the land for future Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Once the land transfers from the Crown to an iwi and the title is issued the iwi controls all decisions about the land and the licence.

Although many of the licences have since returned to Māori ownership, the public access rights still remain.

Public access exists over many Crown forestry licences

Each Crown Forestry Licence states whether a public access easement exists. These were usually created to allow for public access to and from conservation areas. All the Crown Forestry Licences and the public access easements are registered in Landonline and on titles.

Because the surveys for the public access easements occurred before 2005, they generally are only on individual survey plans. They are not captured as digital easement parcels in the cadastre (Landonline). The registered easement instruments, though, are in Landonline

We are working with Land Information NZ to back-capture the PAEs so we can show them on our maps. Land Information NZ has back-captured 40 per cent of the easements. We hope to have a complete dataset by the end of 2021.

The easements generally permit access by the public over the easement areas on our maps. The access can be on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or light motor vehicles.

The landholder may close the access:

  • during the hours of darkness
  • for reasons relating to safety
  • to the protect trees, buildings, plant equipment or related items on the land.

Managing obstructions on public access easements registered against Crown forestry licences

In the first instance, you should raise any obstruction to public access with the licensee – the forestry manager. This does not apply to licence terms to close access for operational or other defined purposes. If you cannot reach a resolution then speak with Land Information NZ and/or the registered owners.

The Commission can also help with enquiries.

As you can see the PAEs (highlighted light pink) show links between public roads (highlighted purple) and DOC public conservation land (highlighted dark green).

 See an example of the new layer at Rankleburn Forest, Otago:

Page last updated: Dec 22, 2020, 11:29 AM