Keep Waikeremoana pristine or risk limiting access
People have a duty to care for the land and its kaitiaki when they visit it, says Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa Chief Executive Ric Cullinane.
Cullinane says news that freedom campers and visitors are dumping rubbish and felling trees at Lake Waikaremoana is deeply saddening.
"Te Urewera is a unique and beautiful place. It now holds its own legal personhood status. We should treat it with the same respect and care that we treat people," says Cullinane.
Cullinane says Ngāi Tūhoe, who care for the land, should not be picking up after disrespectful recreational users.
"If we do not treat land with respect then the people who care for that land will increasingly call to limit public access," says Cullinane.
The Commission’s role to is increase and support public access to the outdoors. Advocacy for better public access is much more difficult if people do not show respect and care with the access they already have.
One of the responsibilities of the Commission is promoting rights and responsibilities of recreational land users and landholders. It publishes an Outdoor Access Code and regularly provides advice and education for recreational land users.