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Awards celebrate New Zealand's public access champions
Four of New Zealand's public access champions were celebrated today at the inaugural New Zealand Walking Access Commission Awards in Wellington.
The awards, presented during a ceremony at the Commission's National Forum 2013, 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 coincide 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.