The eBook

Kia ora!

Welcome to the 

Both Sides of the Fence eBook

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What's in this eBook?

In this eBook, you can find out about 

  • the Outdoor Access Code and about being responsible outdoors
  • some outdoor access issues, and what the Code says about these
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The Outdoor Access Code?

We all have responsibilities when we go out to enjoy our walkways.  For example, we need to think about things like:

  • caring about wildlife and stock
  • making sure we shut gates
  • and being respectful of the rights of the landholders or managers.
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The Commission has published a book to describes these rights and responsibilities. 

It is called the New Zealand Outdoor Access Code.

Ask your teacher if it's OK to have a look at it online: http://www.walkingaccess.govt.nz/OutdoorAccessCode

Page 13 "Being Responsible" is really interesting. It will help you be ready for the next part of this eBook.

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Have you seen these signs?

The Commission sometimes helps landholders to put up signs to show where there are public access tracks.  

The signs help people know the right track to use.  Look out for them next time you are in the countryside.  Their orange colour helps them to stand out and be seen by everyone.

Are you ready to think about some outdoor access issues?

The Outdoor Access Code describes how it is important to be fair and responsible when accessing the outdoors. In the next section of the book there are some access issues for you to think about, as well as information about what the Outdoor Access Code says. Remember to think about things from 'both sides of the fence'.

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A. What would you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

Sometimes people want to cut through private land to get somewhere quicker.

The other side of the fence

Sometimes private landholders don’t allow access to their land.

The Code says:

There is no general right to walk across private land. If it is is fenced off or seems private and there are no signs indicating access, then ask permission.  For example, sometimes farmers close access during the lambing season.

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B. What do you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

Dog owners often like to walk their dogs where they can run free – for example along tracks by rivers and beaches.

The other side of the fence

Private landholders sometimes put up signs saying “no dogs allowed”.   

What the Code says:

On private land, permission must be obtained to take a dog.  Dogs should be kept under proper control, and not allowed to frighten other people, worry farm animals or disturb birds or wildlife.

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C. What do you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

Some people enjoy taking their cars and jeeps off-road and away from sealed roads.

The other side of the fence

Sometimes landholders will allow walkers to cross their land, but not allow access for motor vehicles.

What the Code says:

Car tyres can damage farmland and churn up tracks.  Even where vehicle access is legally allowed, such as on an ‘unformed legal road’, it is a courtesy to inform the adjoining landholder, especially where the access crosses unfenced farmland. 

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D. What do you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

People often open gates or climb fences to cross open land.

The other side of the fence

Private landholders will often fence off land, and put locks on gates.

What the Code says:

Where access is allowed, it is courteous to leave gates as they are found – either open or closed.  If there is no gate, don’t climb over unsupported fence wires - look for fence posts areas.  People should also walk around areas where crops are planted, not through them.

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E. What do you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

Many people think there’s nothing nicer than a warm campfire on a cold night in the outdoors.

The other side of the fence

Private landholders will sometimes put up signs absolutely forbidding open fires.

What the Code says:

Fires should not be lit without permission, and all fires must be fully extinguished before leaving.

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F. What do you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

People in New Zealand like camping and spending time outdoors.

The other side of the fence

Private landholders sometimes restrict camping on their land.

What the Code says:

The natural environment is an asset to be treated with care by:

  • not disturbing stock or damaging vegetation, wildlife, historic places, pasture or crops
  • taking litter home
  • burying toilet waste away from waterways.
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G. What do you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

Most people in New Zealand who like to use the outdoors will follow guidelines.

The other side of the fence

Private landholders and managers may be approached by those wishing to access their land. 

What the Code says:

Landholders should respond reasonably when people request permission for walking access and respect people’s rights of public access, such as the use of unformed legal roads and marginal strips. 

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H. What do you think about this issue?

Read each 'side of the fence' view and then see what the Outdoor Access Code says about this.  Click the picture to find out.

One side of the fence

Māori land is often of historical, cultural or geographical interest to the general public.

The other side of the fence

Having respect for the land is a core belief for many iwi and hapū. 

What the Code says:

Whaia nga tapuwae o nga tupunafollow in the ancestors’ footprints.  Māori land, under the Te Ture Whenua Act, does not generally have public access rights.  Permission must be sought from the owners or those authorised by them, and the relevant tikanga learned and followed.  

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Thank you for reading the eBook.

Have you checked out the scenarios on the Explore interactive map yet?

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