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Walking Access Commision Updates
Commision Appoints Regional Field Advisors updated 21.9.2010

Media release                  21 September 2010 


Seven regional field advisors have been appointed by the New Zealand Walking Access Commission, chief executive Mark Neeson said today.

He said the advisors – John Gardiner, John Wauchop, Nicola Henderson, Rod McGregor, Chris Tonkin, Geoff Holgate, and Noel Beggs – were located throughout the country. Mark Neeson said the regional field advisors’ roles are new and significant ones. “They are the public face of the Commission in the regions, and will be the first point of contact for access issues in many cases. Their role includes promoting the objectives and functions of the Commission in their regions, and acting as conduits for independent advice and assistance. “Their first tasks will be to make contact with regional stakeholders, and open lines of communication on access issues.”The Commission is the Crown Entity that promotes access to the outdoors. It aims to enhance free, certain, enduring, and practical walking access to our beaches, lakes, rivers, and mountains.
The Commission has published an Outdoor Access Code, which spells out the need for people to behave properly and to take responsibility for their actions in the outdoors.Mark Neeson said it also asks landholders to continue the traditions of New Zealand, which have seen it as customary for landholders to give access to people wanting to cross their land.“Generally, landholders have been traditionally happy to extend access to their land. In return, it is expected that recreational users will respect the environment and the requirements of farming life.
”Other Commission projects include a contestable grants fund, a National Strategy for Walking Access, and an online mapping system to identify publicly-owned land where people would have a reasonable expectation of being able to access.
Mark Neeson said the Commission was established at the end of 2008, after the passing of the Walking Access Act. “We have worked hard to set up the Commission, and now, with the appointment of regional field advisors, it is operational"

For more information, contact:
Cathie Bell
NZWAC communications manager
04 8158513 or 027 4998467


John Gardiner, Whangarei
John was raised on a farm in South Canterbury before commencing his 40-plus year career with the Department of Lands and Survey, and then the Department of Conservation.    His earlier years were spent as a ranger in several national parks, a period at DoC Head Office, and management of two farm parks, before moving to Northland in 1978. He recently retired as the DoC Northland Area Manager.  John has extensive experience working with land management legislation and negotiation with landowners to establish walkways, access easements and protection covenants over private land.  He has worked closely with Northland’s recreation groups, land owners, communities, local authorities and iwi on a broad range of projects and issues.

John Wauchop, Gisborne
John has been managing farms with his wife June for the past 38 years, and is now living in Gisborne.  He has held positions of National Chairman of Meat and Wool NZ’s Sheep and Beef Council and Chairman of Ruatoria Federated Farmers.   John has worked closely with district and regional councils, and has successfully dealt with a wide range of access issues across land he has managed.  John maintains a lifelong enthusiasm for walking and outdoor activity.   John has maintained a high level of community interests and roles despite the commitments of managing a large farm partnership, and has a wide network across the rural and urban sectors.

Nicola Henderson, Waikpukurau
Nicola grew up on a Southland farm and now lives and works in Central Hawke’s Bay on a sheep and beef farm where she and her husband Myles raised their  four children.  As a practising landscape architect, much of her professional work has been with farmers.  Nicola’s work also involves working closely with local and regional councils, and iwi.  She has appeared as an expert witness at council and environment court hearings.A keen walker and active in the outdoors, Nicola’s professional work involved inclusion of walking tracks at every opportunity in rural, peri-urban and urban situations.   Her community service brings Nicola into contact with a wide range of people.

Rod McGregor, Ahu Ahu Valley (Whanganui)
Rod was born and raised in rural Whanganui, and worked across the lower North Island on large sheep and beef stations before farming his own block of hill country near Whanganui. Rod has a young family who are home schooled.  He brings over 20 years of varied stock and farm management experience to the role. He has an academic background in law and resource management.   Rod has worked closely with local and regional councils on projects that have been contentious within the community, and continues to manage public access issues on his own property.   He has a history of working with land use changes and competing land uses, and working with stakeholders with different objectives and resources.      Rod is a keen hunter and angler, and has worked overseas in hunting, diving and tourism sectors.

Chris Tonkin, Nelson
Chris’s 30-year career with Acclimatisation Societies and recently the West Coast Fish & Game Council has built an extensive network throughout the South Island that includes landholders, recreation groups, Federated Farmers, DOC, local and regional councils, iwi and tourism operators. He has successfully negotiated a wide range of access opportunities across private land, and worked on behalf of hunters and fishers to develop recreation opportunities on public land.    Through work and recreation, he has gained a deep knowledge of the Nelson/Marlborough and West Coast regions.  Retired from the role of Manager, West Coast Fish & Game Council, Chris maintains a strong interest in outdoor recreation and will operate from Wakefield near Nelson.

Geoff Holgate, Christchurch
Geoff’s career of some 36 years has been primarily associated with land and resource management in the South Island high country. He grew up on a sheep and beef farm in South Otago, and after completing his study at Lincoln College with a masterate in plant ecology, he joined the Department of Lands and Survey. He held a number of positions including Scientist Range Management and Chief Pastoral Lands Officer before joining Landcorp when Lands and Survey was disestablished. Following managerial positions with Landcorp in Dunedin and Christchurch Geoff worked in Knight Frank and then DTZ with responsibility for Crown contract work associated with pastoral leases. Currently Principal of his advisory partnership WardHolgate, he has completed pastoral lease administration projects for LINZ, and undertaken tenure reviews of pastoral leases, while maintaining his interest in strategic sustainable development.  With his wife Mary-Ann, Geoff is an active tramper, and sometimes a cyclist.

Noel Beggs, Winton
Noel is a 4th generation Southlander and now farms an intensive small scale sheep operation near Winton with his wife Carolyn and two sons.  After completing his study at Lincoln College, Noel worked as a field officer with Lands and Survey before his OE which included a research post at Agricultural College, University of London.  His partnership in his current property began in 1989.Noel’s community involvement includes Farmer Chairman, ‘Maximum Profit Discussion Group’, Central Southland, Committee member Central Southland Monitor Farm Programme, member and chair of local school Board of Trustees, and other community groups.  His wide range of interests includes walking, tramping and mountain biking. NZWAC is the Crown entity which promotes access to the outdoors.

The Walking Commission are currently testing a Beta version of a online mapping system which shows all the DoC and public reserves which are open for public access. I have been asked to help test this site before it goes public later this year.
Restriction placed on me as a tester stops me making a public comments but it will be a great tool for all recreational users.

Alan Hejl

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