Chief Executive’s report

As we come to the end of the financial year, I’ve been reflecting on the experience of participating in the review of the Walking Access Act 2008. Sitting in the room at public meetings and hui ā iwi, it was humbling to hear resoundingly positive feedback from many of our key stakeholders who we have worked with over the past ten years since the Commission’s founding.

What better measure of our success is there than the trust we have earned through our hard work, integrity and honesty over the past decade?

The review report also made clear that there is room for improvement, and an increased focus on how we partner with Māori, and how we work with our central government agencies. As the Commission plans to implement recommendations from the review, how we resource these areas will be crucial.

I’m also proud this year on the progress we’ve made on four major projects:

Following the development of the Taranaki 2040 Tracks and Trails Strategy, a regional trust is being established to coordinate the implementation of the projects identified. We will continue to support the Trust to build its capability and capacity, and to connect it with other agencies and trusts that can assist with fulfilling the vision for outdoor recreation in the region.

Quite astonishing progress in the Pūhoi to Pākiri Trail Programme has been made in the second half of the year following the engagement of a programme manager embedded within Auckland Council. This project has demonstrated that with commitment to a base-level of resources, other stakeholders will become actively engaged and contribute further funding and effort. In this way, a nascent project can snow-ball into a significant and enduring programme.

The first stage of the Connecting Franklin-North Waikato Project has been completed. This project brings together iwi, councils, developers, recreationalists, and central government agencies to develop agreement on public access needs in the fast-developing area in the south of Auckland and north of the Waikato.

Since launching in November 2018, Find My Adventure continues to grow and develop. Through partnerships with local authorities, this tool aims to become a one-stop shop for tracks and trails for walking, cycling, mountain biking and horse-riding. New functionality continues to be added alongside more tracks, and it was recognised recently as a finalist in the NZ Spatial Excellence Awards in the People and Community category.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the work of the Commission’s staff in Wellington and our network of regional field advisors. Their work requires in-depth technical knowledge, working with a diverse range of stakeholders with differing aims and statutory roles, often working in a part-time role, and all with minimal funding. They do all this and more, and do it professionally, with integrity, and cheerfully.

Ric Cullinane
Chief Executive Tumuaki