Starter guide

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission has created this online resource to assist teachers and students to explore the theme of responsible use of the outdoors and the value of access to the Kiwi way of life. It also introduces schools to the work of the Commission, and the Outdoor Access Code. Both Sides of the Fence supports outdoor education and education outside the classroom (EOTC) activities and can assist teachers in creating lesson plans or planning for school camps.

This website provides three areas for students to explore with their teacher. These are:

  • the eBook
  • The Explore map
  • The Top Outdoor Spots image gallery.

The eBook


The eBook introduces students to:

  • the Commission's Outdoor Access Code
  • responsible outdoor behaviour and how the Outdoor Access Code assists in providing guidelines in this area.

The Explore map

The Both Sides of the Fence interactive map includes educational scenarios for students to explore. Each scenario presents a story with an outdoor access topic for students to think about. Students should be encouraged to explore the interactive map to interact with the scenarios. 

  • the scenarios encourage students to consider that there are often two points of view about land access – those of people wishing to access land, and those of the landholder or manager.
  • clicking a marked spot launches the video player in a lightbox.
  • the video player has stop, play, forward, back, volume, and full screen controls along the bottom edge of the player.
  • each scenario contains two parts.   
    • the first part presents a topic and ends with an on-screen question to encourage in-classroom discussion.
    • the second part presents the landholder's point of view and ends with on-screen questions that encourage students to reflect on their first thoughts, now they have more information.
  • when the first part has played, it will present an on-screen question for the student to consider. Click the green arrow to hear the story from the other side of the fence. 
  • clicking on the 'X' on the bottom right-hand side of the lightbox will close the video player screen and return you to the map.

Top Outdoor Spots


The Top Outdoor Spots area provides students with:

  • an invitation, working with their teacher, to research and share a picture and short description (up to 60 words) of somewhere special to them in their region or school
  • a gallery in which submitted student contributions can be presented
  • an upload form to submit student's work - to be completed by the teacher.


walking access logo cut

We, and visitors to our country, like to participate in a wide and diverse range of outdoor activities. We expect to have open access to our favourite places.

However, while access to the great outdoors may be expected, or even taken for granted, it is not always guaranteed. This is where the New Zealand Walking Access Commission plays a part.

The Commission provides leadership on walking access issues and administers a national strategy on walking access, including walkways. It also undertakes mapping of walking access, provides information to the public, oversees a code of responsible conduct, assists with dispute resolution and negotiates new walking access. The Commission is based in Wellington and has a Chief Executive, a team of staff and a Board of Directors. It also has a network of regional field advisors located around New Zealand.

The regional field advisors have backgrounds in areas like farming, forestry, public service, land management, law, Māori interests, public consultation, local government, and recreational access. The regional field advisors are the public face of the Commission in the regions, and the first point of contact for access queries in many cases. Their role includes promoting the objectives and functions of the Commission in their regions, and offering avenues to independent advice and assistance.

You can read more about the Commission on its website:

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