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Walking access champions sought for awards

17 June 2014

Walking access champions sought for awards

People and organisations across New Zealand are being urged to send in their nominations for the 2014 Walking Access Awards.

The annual awards, run by the New Zealand Walking Access Commission, recognise the leadership, achievements and contributions of people and organisations that are enhancing access opportunities in the outdoors or strengthening New Zealand’s walking access heritage.

Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said all significant contributions to walking access were eligible for recognition.

“These awards are the Commission’s way of saying: ‘your work is not going unnoticed. New Zealanders from all walks of life will benefit from your efforts - and we are saying thank you on their behalf’”.

Nominations are open to individuals, community organisations and central or local government agencies.

Mr Neeson said nominees might include people whose dedication sees them maintaining a particular walkway, a community group that has worked hard to open up a track or a territorial authority that has gone “above and beyond” to enhance or maintain access, actively resolve a dispute over public access or undertake a significant programme to enhance access opportunities.

The recipients of the inaugural awards last year were Nelson farmers Ian and Barbara Stuart, Dunedin public access advocate Alan McMillan, and legal advisor and author Brian Hayes, who divides his time between Wellington and Dunedin.

The Stuart’s were one of the first private landowners to create a formal public walkway across their farm when Ian’s father established the Cable Bay Walkway in 1984. Brian Hayes is the author of numerous research reports and papers on the law regarding access, especially on unformed legal roads and rivers. And Alan McMillan is chairman of community organisation Public Access New Zealand and works tirelessly to uphold public rights of access to the outdoors.

Mr Neeson said the New Zealand Walking Access Commission wants to cast the net wide in its search for deserving recipients of these awards. “If you know someone or an organisation that deserves one of these awards, please consider putting their name forward.”

Nomination forms and information about the awards can be found on the Walking Access Awards page of the Commission’s website: www.walkingaccess.govt.nz.

Nominations close at 5pm on Friday 18 July. Winners will be announced at the Commission’s National Forum in September 2014.

ENDS

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