Being responsible

It is important that those enjoying the outdoors understand what is meant by reasonable and responsible behaviour. This section of the Code identifies seven areas of responsibility and provides guidance on how to take personal responsibility for one’s own actions. In particular, it covers respecting the interests of other people and taking care of the environment.

While many already understand what behaviour is appropriate, the topics covered in this section will provide information so that everyone can make informed decisions. This will help to avoid damage such as breaking a fence, disturbing stock, causing interference such as blocking a gate with a vehicle or recklessly disturbing birds or other wildlife.

Being aware of others and making room for them can help avoid conflicts between different outdoor pursuits, for example, walking, mountain biking and horse riding on the same track or fishing and boating in the same reach of a river.

There is a large body of legislation that deals with the kinds of inappropriate behaviour of concern on both public and private land. Many aspects of poor conduct are covered by existing laws and by-laws, for example, littering, vandalism and excessive noise. A list of relevant statutes is given in Appendix 2. Landholders or access users who are faced with serious and/ or persistent anti-social behaviour should contact Police, local authority or the Commission for advice.

Appendix 2: Relevant legislation

Rahui Maori Pou Maitai Bay Karikari Peninsula

Tikanga Māori and Māori relationships with land

It is important to provide guidance on Māori cultural practices for access users, as access users may not be knowledgeable about tikanga Māori or Māori relationships with land and waterways.

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beach campfire


Where fires are permitted and appropriate, their impact should be minimised – for example, by ensuring that any fires are fully extinguished before leaving.

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Anakiwa Mist

Caring for the environment

Our environment is an asset, and needs to be treated with care. We support the New Zealand Environmental Care Code, Toitu te Whenua and Leave No Trace New Zealand

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Photo by Yuki Dog on Unsplash


The right to walk with a dog, including hunting dogs, depends on the existing rights that run with access.

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sheep farm

Respecting other people’s property

With an increasingly urban population, there is often a lack of understanding of issues to be aware of when walking in rural areas, especially on farms.

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Fly fishing Ruamahunga River trout

Fishing and hunting

Fishing and hunting activities both require permits in addition to any permission required for walking access.

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Motor vehicles

Not only are vehicles often necessary to get to walking locations, but that there are rights to take vehicles on certain types of public access ways.

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