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This summer, follow the Kiwi way
New Zealanders and tourists should strive to ‘follow the Kiwi way’ as they head into the great outdoors this summer.
New Zealand Walking Access Commission chief executive Eric Pyle said the number of people accessing the New Zealand outdoors peaked during summer and this could place additional stresses on some landholders and rural communities.
“Many New Zealanders and their families head into the outdoors over the holidays and we also see a spike in the number of international visitors coming to our country. As a result, landowners have to contend with growing numbers of people walking and cycling in their areas and sometimes across their land, and this can create tensions.”
More than 3.3 million visitors came to New Zealand in 2015-2016 (10 per cent more than in 2014-2015), and the number is forecast to grow to 4.5 million by 2022. Domestic tourism is also on the rise.
Mr Pyle said it was more important than ever for people to be mindful of others when they are out enjoying the outdoors.
“New Zealand is a beautiful country and it’s no surprise that so many people want to explore and discover its spectacular scenery. We want to make sure people can continue to enjoy the outdoors, and raising awareness of responsible behaviours is part of the solution.”
The Commission has developed a website called Follow the Kiwi Way which provides information about accessing the New Zealand outdoors responsibly and respectfully. The site gives detailed guidance on topics such as asking permission before crossing private land, leaving gates as you find them, not littering, keeping dogs under control and taking care not to disturb farm animals or walk through crops.
It also includes activity guides for accessing the outdoors on bikes, horses and by 4WD, along with important information respecting sites that are culturally significant to Māori.
“Understanding what to be mindful of when accessing the outdoors will make a big difference in terms of preserving good relations between visitors and landowners in communities that see a lot of visitors,” Mr Pyle said.
“By following the Kiwi way, we’re making sure we can all continue to experience the best of what New Zealand has to offer.”