The Kiwi Way

The Kiwi Way

As Kiwis, we’re lucky to have a rich cultural, historic and natural heritage.

A big part of who we are and identify with, regardless of our ethnic background, is our natural environment. Whether we’re into walking, tramping, fishing, hunting, kicking back on a beach with a picnic or hangi, or enjoying a sunset over the hills, we’re never far from beautiful scenery.

This tradition of ready access to the outdoors is an iconic part of Kiwi culture that we want to pass on to our children and grand-children. Which is why it’s so important to maintain our links between rural and urban New Zealand and to treasure and take good care of what we have, so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come. What we’re preserving, and passing on, is a cornerstone of our identity. Whether we are Māori, Pakeha, or from another part of the world, we thrive on the connectedness with our land.

So when we’re out and about, enjoying the outdoors – our spectacular mountains, scenic tracks and trails, beautiful beaches and countryside – let’s all remember to follow the Kiwi Way.

The Kiwi Way is about responsible behaviour in the outdoors. It’s about following a few common sense rules so that we can all get the most of the outdoors, while being considerate of others and of our environment. These rules are straightforward and can be found in our Outdoor Access Code. The Code explains how we can take personal responsibility for our individual actions, respect the interests and rights of other people, and take care of our surroundings.

Outdoor Access Code cover image for FtKWNew Zealand Outdoor Access Code

The Outdoor Access Code aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of responsibly behaviour in the outdoors and raise awareness of access rights and responsibilities. It is practical and informative.

>>Read it online (PDF)



The Kiwi Way - a beginners guide

  • Always ask permission before accessing private land.
  • Leave gates as you find them – if they are shut please close them after you go through and if they are open leave them open.
  • Don’t damage fences. If there’s no gate or easy way to get over a fence, go through the wires or climb over at the main posts.
  • Don’t try to catch or disturb farm animals or walk through crops.
  • Please report any damage or injured animals to the landholder.
  • Take extreme care with fires and be sure you have permission or a permit, if required. Put out your fire properly before you leave.
  • Do not litter. Please take any litter home and bury toilet waste away from waterways.
  • Keep dogs under control and don’t leave their faeces behind.
  • Be considerate when driving motor vehicles and stick to formed roads.
  • Be aware of others using the road and slow down near walkers, cyclists or people on horses.
  • Control your speed when cycling or horse riding and let others know you are passing.
  • Be extra-safe with firearms. Follow the Firearms Safety Code.
  • If you want to access Māori land, Māori Land Online can help you find who to ask for permission. Māori Maps is a useful resource if you are looking for marae locations.
  • Respect sites that are culturally significant to Māori and learn local customs. These may differ from place to place.

Following the Kiwi way means we can all continue to enjoy the outdoors, and to hold on to our way our life. It means that our natural heritage will be preserved and that future generations can have the same memorable experiences we have access to.

Taha Rua - our inspiration

This website is inspired by Taha Rua, the adventurous young kiwi you see in the website's logo. Taha Rua had been living in the same neck of the woods since he was a wee bird, or so the story goes. He would always watch the other types of birds fly from place to place and felt sad because he wanted to travel too, but with walking being his only option, he was afraid he would head down a path and get stuck before reaching the other side. Then, a wise weta told him about the Kiwi Way, and there were all these paths he could follow to take him to amazing new places. And now that he's started following these paths, he hasn't stopped.


School children to nominate their Top Outdoor Spot

School children to nominate their Top Outdoor Spot

31 Jan 2018
School children across New Zealand are photographing, drawing and describing their favourite places as part of a national competition celebrating enjoyment of the great outdoors.The Top Outdoor Spot competition began today on the Walking Access Commission’s Both Sides of the Fence education website.The website provides resources for teachers to use with their students to promote responsible behaviour in the outdoors."It’s always great to see the wonderful drawings, photos and poems that students write about their favourite outdoor spots," said Eric Pyle, Chief Executive of the Walking Access Commission."New Zealand is lucky to have so many beautiful places we can go, from beaches to rivers, from mountains to forests, and seeing them through children’s eyes brings a new sense of wonder.