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Kiwis encouraged to enjoy the outdoors responsibly these holidays
New Zealanders are being urged to “Follow the Kiwi Way” by picking up a copy of the New Zealand Outdoor Access Code before heading into the outdoors this holiday season.
New Zealand Walking Access Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said the summer months were the ideal time for people to enjoy beaches, lakes, rivers and mountains, but the increased foot traffic could result in friction with rural landholders neighbouring popular outdoor spots.
“Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders will enjoy recreational activities in the outdoors with family and friends this summer. The secret to an enjoyable trip is being respectful and learning the basics of how to behave around farms, farm animals and forests.”
Mr Neeson said most landholders in New Zealand were happy to grant access across their private properties when asked. However, it was important that people using the outdoors for recreation repaid that trust by acting responsibly.
Research conducted by the Commission earlier this year found that 92 per cent of New Zealanders had been in the outdoors for recreation during the past 12 months. The most popular outdoor recreational activity was picnics and family outings (66 per cent), followed by short walks (63 per cent) and swimming (49 per cent).
“Enjoyment of the outdoors is a great part of the New Zealand way of life but the trend towards urban living means that an increasing number of people using the outdoors haven't grown up around rural environments,” Mr Neeson said.
“Over time that societal change can result in a decline in awareness of responsible behaviour in rural environments, so we are encouraging people to brush up on their knowledge of the Outdoor Access Code before venturing out.”
Among the Outdoor Access Code's top tips are: consider others when enjoying the outdoors, take care when using firearms or lighting fires, and ask permission before crossing private land. People accessing private land with the permission of a landholder should make sure to leave gates as they are found and be careful not to unduly disturb or drive stock. A full copy of the Outdoor Access Code is available at walkingaccess.govt.nz.
The Commission has also developed a curriculum-aligned education website called Both Sides of the Fence to help school children and their teachers understand different perspectives around access and its importance to the New Zealand way of life.