Purpose, Governance, Board and Staff


The New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s purpose is to lead and support 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.

The Commission’s governing legislation is the Walking Access Act 2008.


The Commission is governed by a board appointed by the Minister for Primary Industries. The Commission is funded by Parliament through Vote Primary Industries and Food Safety and is accountable for its performance to the Minister for Primary Industries.

The Board is responsible for setting policy and strategic direction and for monitoring the overall performance of the Commission. During the year, the Commission established an Audit and Risk Committee to assist the Board in carrying out its duties in regard to financial reporting, legislative compliance and risk management. The Committee is made up of Chrissie Murray (Independent Chair), John Forbes, Lisa Chase and Helen Mexted.



John Forbes is Mayor of Opotiki District. He has a good understanding of the agricultural, horticultural, forestry and rural sectors. As a committee chairman of a rural council for 19 years and a Mayor since 2001, John has had significant experience in governance processes, public consultation and representing rural communities. He was a member of the Walking Access Consultation Panel and the Walking Access Advisory Board.
Term of appointment: April 2017-April 2020.

Board members

Hilary Allison brings a wealth of experience in local economic development and strong governance in Otago and Southland. Currently a Director of Beltex New Zealand, Hilary was previously the National Operations Manager for the Community Employment Group amongst other public sector economic development roles. She is a governance specialist, holding Board offices for Otago Hospice, Dunedin PHO, Otago Community Trust, a MANA Authority Board and a major Dunedin social service delivery agency. Hilary trained as a general nurse and a social worker.
Term of appointment: August 2018-August 2021.

Lisa Chase is currently a contract consultant, working with organisations including Massey University and Te Manu Atatu-Whanganui Māori Business Network. She has previously worked for Farmsafe, has a strong lifelong farming background and is part of Agri Women’s Development Trust-Escalator programme. Lisa has a Post Graduate Diploma and a Bachelor with Honours in Computer Graphic Design.
Term of appointment: August 2018-August 2021.

Pierre Henare is currently the director for Tairawhiti Pharmaceuticals, a position he has held for more than 27 years. He has also worked for a range of government departments in both advisory and management capacities.
Term of appointment: August 2018-August 2021.

Helen Mexted has a background in corporate, NGO and local government leadership roles, predominately in advocacy, marketing and communications with organisations such as Local Government New Zealand, Public Trust, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and Federated Farmers. Helen holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Studies and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors.
Term of appointment: August 2018-August 2021.

Raewyn Tipene established He Puna Marama Trust in 1997, and has been its Chief Executive Officer since 2006. Prior to this, she was a National Manager at Housing New Zealand, and an advisor with the Community Employment Group. She is completing a Masters in Indigenous Studies, and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, and a Bachelor of Science.
Term of appointment: August 2018-August 2021.


The Commission has a team of eleven staff (9.21 FTE) and twelve regional field advisors. The staff are based in the Commission’s head office in Wellington and include a mix of permanent and fixed-term staff. The field advisors are located around the country and are engaged on a part-time contractual basis.
Our people have a range of backgrounds including law, policy, land surveying, geospatial information technology, finance and administration. Some of our regional field advisors are farmers or have a background in farming. The Commission’s people have a keen interest in rural New Zealand and outdoor recreation.