Regional Field Advisors
The Walking Access Commission has regional field advisors located throughout New Zealand. The advisors are the public face of the Commission in the regions, and the first point of contact for access issues or questions about land that is accessible to the public.
The Commission welcomes invitations for its regional field advisors to meet with local organisations or to speak about the Commission's work at regional events or club evenings. Media enquiries should be made to the Commission's communications manager in the first instance.
- John Gardiner - Northland | Te Hiku-o-te-Ika
- Dot Dalziell - Auckland | Tāmaki Makaurau
- Felicity Brough - Waikato
- John Gibbs - Taupō and Bay of Plenty | Taupō me te Moana-a-Toitehuatahi
- Kevin Ross - Manawatū, Whanganui and Taranaki | Manawatū, Whanganui me te Taranaki
- Nicola Henderson - Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa | Te Matau-a-Māui me te Wairarapa
- Chris Ward - Wellington | Te Whanganui-a-Tara
- Penny Wardle - Marlborough, Kaikōura, Nelson and Tasman | Te Waiharaheke, Kaikōura, Whakatū me te Tāhimana
- Inger Perkins - West Coast | Te Tai Poutini
- Geoff Holgate - Canterbury | Waitaha
- Amie Pont - Otago, Waitaki and the Catlins | Ōtākou, Waitaki me te Catlins
- Ange van der Laan - Queenstown Lakes and Southland | Tāhuna me Te Taurapa o Te Waka
- Bevan Woodward - Based in Rodney, North Auckland working on a local project with Auckland Council and the Matakana Coast Trails Trust.
- Chris Charles - Based within Auckland Council as programme manager securing better public access to walking, cycling and horse riding in communities between Puhoi and Pakiri.
Northland | Te Hiku-o-te-Ika
Dip. Parks and Recreation
John was raised on a farm in South Canterbury before commencing his 40-plus year career with the Department of Lands and Survey, and then the Department of Conservation. His earlier years were spent as a ranger in several national parks, a period at DOC head Office, and management of two farm parks, before moving to Northland in 1978. He recently retired as the DOC Whangarei Area Manager. John has extensive experience working with land management legislation and negotiation with landowners to establish walkways, access easements and protection covenants over private land. He has worked closely with Northland’s recreation groups, landowners, communities, local authorities and Iwi on a broad range of projects and issues.
09 436 0966 | 027 242 2181
Auckland | Tāmaki Makaurau
Dot has had a scenic career, taking in bus driving, Anthropology study and early childhood education in Wellington and Dunedin, Māori language immersion in Kirikiriroa, museum collection management in Napier and Auckland, walking and cycling advocacy in Waitākere, and, recently, community environmental partnerships and strategy at Auckland Council. Her core interest is in sustainable development at local and regional scales. She has seen first-hand the positive impacts of public access on community connectivity, resilience and environmental stewardship in West Auckland. Dot is fascinated by landscape trails and cultural heritage, from seasonal migrations to heroic journeys. Coupled with her passion for cartography and digital mapping, and her love of walking and cycle journeys, being an RFA is an ideal focus for Dot’s energy, enthusiasm and interests.
021 379 132
Waikato | Waikato
MSc (Management Science), Manchester (UK)
Farming is an integral part of Felicity’s life. She grew up on a coastal Wairarapa farm and now runs and owns a sheep and beef farm in the King Country with husband Mark. Their on farm tree planting programme is a particular interest of Felicity’s and she is also involved in a wide range of community organisations. Off farm, she has worked for a range of corporates and not for profit organisations in various roles including rural banking. Felicity enjoys tramping, mountain biking and gardening. Many of her family members are hunters and fishermen with a keen interest in access to the outdoors.
027 381 3430
Taupō and Bay of Plenty | Taupō me te Moana-a-Toitehuatahi
John Gibbs is the Commission's regional field advisor for the Taupō and Bay of Plenty regions. Raised on a Taihape hill country farm, John has had a 46-year-long career in roles with both the New Zealand Wildlife Service and Department of Conservation. Most of John’s work has been in trout and salmon fishery management and freshwater conservation, based in Rotorua, Te Anau and Taupō where he was Taupō Fishery Area Manager for DOC at the time of his retirement in 2010. Much of his work involved managing access issues for anglers and he has had a broad experience working with landowners, iwi, local, regional and central government agencies and the corporate sector on this and related issues. John has been a lifelong angler, hunter, tramper and outdoorsman and is also a keen gardener, walker, boatie and motorhomer.
021 380 726
Manawatū, Whanganui and Taranaki | Manawatū, Whanganui me te Taranaki
Kevin has an extensive background in local government spanning over 30 years with the Whanganui District Council. Initially employed as a regional planner he progressed through the organisation, ultimately serving as the chief executive for 7 years, before retiring at the end of 2015. In his various roles within the Council he has had considerable experience dealing with most sectors of the community and in later years has focused on developing genuine and committed partnerships with local iwi. Kevin currently chairs the Tararua District Council Audit and Risk Committee.
He is passionate about enjoying and exploring the outdoors, being a keen tramper/walker himself, and a member of the local tramping club. He is also a member of the Whanganui Bushy Park Sanctuary Board, the NZ Artificial Limb Center Board and a member of the 2017 World Masters Games Company that brought 25,000 athletes to Auckland, participating in some 24 sports.
In his spare time, he continues to pursue a number of sporting opportunities focusing mainly on badminton, a sport in which he represented New Zealand in a number of decades ago.
021 246 6306
Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa | Te Matau-a-Māui me te Wairarapa
Dip. Hort., Cert Landscape Design, Fellow NZILA (retired)
Nicola grew up on a Southland farm and now lives and works in Central Hawke’s Bay on a sheep and beef farm where she and her husband Myles raised their four children. She spent much of her professional career as a landscape architect, working with farmers, local and regional councils and iwi. As a keen walker and outdoor enthusiast, Nicola is regularly involved in assisting groups and individuals with the creation of walking tracks in rural, peri-urban and urban situations. Her community service brings Nicola into contact with a wide range of people.
06 855 4866
Wellington | Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Chris is a keen tramper and mountaineer who spends a lot of his leisure time in the outdoors. This includes a weekly trip in the Eastbourne hills setting possum traps and an annual tramping trip with a group of friends. He has a background mostly in agribusiness and throughout his working life has very much appreciated the positive contact he has had with landowners who have generally been very open and reasonable about access over their land. His background has included work as a farm consultant, rural property manager, a role in the meat industry and lecturing in agribusiness.
027 286 0697
Marlborough, Kaikōura, Nelson and Tasman | Te Waiharaheke, Kaikōura, Whakatū me te Tāhimana
Penny is a journalist and communications consultant, based in Marlborough for over 30 years. She especially enjoys telling the stories of people who look after the environment while making a living from the land and sea. Highlights have included covering resource management hearings, helping judge farming and forestry sections of the Marlborough Environment Awards, communicating biodiversity and biosecurity messages for Environment Canterbury and researching stories for TV ONE rural business programme Rural Delivery. She enjoys the outdoors and in 2013 walked the Northland section of the Te Araroa trail which runs from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
03 577 8863 | 027 205 2339
West Coast | Te Tai Poutini
BSc (Jt Hons, Geography/Geology), Dip (Rec Management)
Inger has always been captivated by the landscape and great outdoors of New Zealand and left a career in recreation and golf management in the UK to explore most corners of NZ and to volunteer with DOC in three areas in 2003. This led to an offer of employment and she has worked for DOC on the West Coast for 11 years. Her role encompassed permissions, consents, and community relations, including advocacy, awareness and occasional access issues. Inger is also manager of the West Coast Penguin Trust, a community conservation trust working to conserve penguins, seabirds and the coastal environment in this region. Through both roles, she has worked with the various Councils, iwi, and landowners, managers and developers to advocate for and negotiate conservation outcomes across the Coast. Inger loves to be outdoors, whether gardening, walking, cycling or kayaking. She’s also a keen landscape and nature photographer.
03 755 8600 | 027 370 1876
Canterbury | Waitaha
B.Ag.Sci, M.Ag.Sci (Ecology), Member Resource Management Law Association of NZ, Member LEADR (Association of Dispute Resolvers)
Geoff grew up on a sheep and beef farm in South Otago. After completion of his study at Lincoln he joined the Department of Lands and Survey to work in the South Island high country. Currently Principal of his advisory partnership (dealing primarily with management of natural resources), Geoff’s extensive career has been principally associated with land and resource management in the South Island high country. Geoff enjoys tramping and cycling with his wife Mary-Ann.
Otago, Waitaki and the Catlins | Ōtākou, Waitaki me te Catlins
Amie moved to rural Maniototo after gaining a degree in Marketing Management and Design at Otago and travelling the world for two years. Living in a sparse geographical area with a population of just 1200, she found her focus moving towards community development, communications and promotions. Amie facilitates the local business group, is Chair of the local arts council and editor of the local paper Positively Maniototo. She especially enjoys sharing the positive stories of rural life and how unique the area is. Over the years she has walked the Routeburn, Hollyford, Coupland Track to Welcome Flat hut (twice), Rees Dart and parts of the Silverpeaks tracks and is looking forward to sharing these and many others with her children.
Ange van der Laan
Queenstown Lakes and Southland | Tāhuna me Te Taurapa o Te Waka
B. Env Management & Planning
Born and raised in Auckland, Ange started her working life as a horticultural apprentice. After a stint overseas she returned to New Zealand to work in visual media and moved to the Queenstown Lakes District. She continues a strong involvement with a range of community groups and has worked with a wide variety of stakeholders including DOC, landowners and farmers and local government. Together with her husband (an ex-sheep farmer from the Waitaki Valley), Ange enjoys skiing, biking and walking.
Based in Rodney, North Auckland working on a local project with Auckland Council and the Matakana Coast Trails Trust.
021 122 6040
Based within Auckland Council as programme manager securing better public access to walking, cycling and horse riding in communities between Pūhoi and Pākiri.
Chris formerly spent six years with the Department of Conservation (DOC) managing community and inter-government partnerships.
He now works alongside iwi, the Rodney Local Board, Matakana Coast Trail Trust, DOC and community groups to create walkway and cycleway connections between communities in the region.