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Following the Kiwi Way
In this column departing New Zealand Walking Access Commission chief executive Mark Neeson shares his memories of the past seven years and discusses some of the challenges and opportunities for the future.
It has been a privilege, a pleasure and challenge to work on, and be responsible for, access to New Zealand's coast, lakes, rivers andÂ outdoors generally. But all organisations need new people and ideas and it is time for me to leave.
There have been many achievements, and many challenges remain. Certainly the biggest and most exciting challenge was setting up the New Zealand Walking Access Commission. In doing so, I had plenty of support from the board and advisors, whose sound advice, wisdom and counsel was gratefully received.
Along the way we developed the Walking Access Mapping System and the Outdoor Access Code, created a regional field advisor network, undertook research on some significant access topics, provided a dispute management service, and managed over 3,100 cases.
Our objective, as an organisation, is to be recognised as independent, transparent, trusted and credible. I believe we have achieved that; certainly much of the feedback we receive is very positive, yet tinged, as always, with a bit of 'could do better'.
Early in the Commission's existence, in 2009, one observer suggested that the Commission was a â€œtoothless tigerâ€