Our people

The Walking Access Commission branches into eight teams:

  1. Regional field advisors — the public face of the Commission in the regions and the first point of contact for access issues or questions.
  2. Maps and GIS team — manages our digital maps and spatial data, as well as our IT systems.
  3. Operations — administers and implements our national strategy on outdoor access, creates and monitors our walkways, and resolves disputes.
  4. Corporate services — keeps our office running smoothly, dealing with finances, administration, IT systems and our corporate responsibilities.
  5. Communications and engagement — tells the Commission's stories, and builds relationships to help them improve public access to the outdoors.
  6. Management team — see below to meet our management team and organisational structure.
  7. The board — our independent governing body, appointed by the Minister for Agriculture.

Management team

The senior management team is led by our Chief Executive Ric Cullinane and includes Deputy Chief Executive Phil Culling, Communications Manager Stephen Day, National Operations Manager Kirsti Douglas, Strategic Relations Manager Doug Macredie, GIS Manager Matt Grose and Executive Director – Te Araroa Matt Claridge.

Ric Cullinane

Chief Executive | Tumuaki


Ric CullinaneRic Cullinane is the organisation's Chief Executive. Prior to his appointment, he was Operations Manager for the Commission for eight years, and built the Commission’s structure and processes from new beginnings into the organisation it is today. Ric’s career has taken him around the world with the Royal New Zealand Air Force and across our country during his time at Fish & Game NZ. Ric is trusted and respected with both the recreational and farming sectors, and understands the Commission’s role as an honest and independent voice for public access to the outdoors.

Phil Culling

Deputy Chief Executive | Tumuaki Tuarua


Phil CullingPhil Culling is our Deputy Chief Executive and manages our corporate services team. The corporate services team keeps our office running smoothly, dealing with finances, administration, our IT systems and our corporate and statutory responsibilities.

Kirsti Douglas

National Operations Manager | Pouwhakahaere ā-motu - Kōkiri


Kirsti Douglas has a wealth of institutional knowledge, having worked for the Commission for the past 11 years. Kirsti manages the operations team and the Commission’s regional field advisors. The operations team develops and implements policy advice, systems and procedures that enhance and extend public access to the outdoors.

Stephen Day

Communications Manager | Kaiwhakahaere Whakapā


Stephen looks after the Commission's communications and partnerships team. The team tells the Commission's stories and makes sure people have the information they need about outdoor access. It is also responsible for building strong and enduring relationships with the Commission's partners.

Doug Macredie

Strategic Relationships Manager | Kaiwhakatere


Doug provides strategic relationships insights and tactical application for the Commission across all its activities. Foundational to Doug’s role are Te Tiriti partnerships and relationships with Mana-whenua. These compliment Doug’s wider role, to influence optimisation broadly for the Commission.

Matt Grose 

GIS Manager | Kaiwhakahaere Mahere Raraunga 


Matt is here with us on a one-year secondment from the Department of Conservation. He brings with him many years of experience in geospatial work in Aotearoa and the UK. Matt manages the Maps and GIS team who are responsible for creating and developing our GIS and mapping data.

Matt Claridge 

Executive Director – Te Araroa | Tumu Whakahaere – Te Araroa


Matt Claridge is responsible for Te Araroa, New Zealand's longest trail that stretches from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Te Araroa is made up of dozens of smaller walks, linked together to form the journey of a lifetime. Alongside volunteer-based trusts and the Commission's staff, Matt works to improve the trail and help connect it with more New Zealanders.