An Ode to Public Rights of Passage

Public rights of passage

Public access to public land

These are the things we’re concerned about

Where we make our stand


For when our early settlers

Founded our country free

They did it with clear intention

Some things would surely be


Access for everyone

Not just those with wealth

The same opportunities for all

For our physical and mental health


Whatever your mode of transport

No arguments about

Getting outdoors is healthy

Of that there is no doubt


In a world plagued by ailments

Our government really ought to support

Those who seek the backcountry

For honest recreation and sport


Whatever is your choice

Whether by foot, bike, vehicle, boat or horse

(Although it must always be said

Respect is a given, of course)


One reason for public access

To keep wild animal numbers down

Wasteful to deny Hunters opportunity

And then have costs fall to the Crown


DOC’s a big part of the challenge

Sure they’re charged with conservation

But overlooking they’re also responsible

To facilitate public recreation


For those who would like to discriminate

Or worse deny our legal right

It should be no surprise

When we stand up and fight


Honouring those who fought and died

To keep our country free

Public access where it’s due

That’s all we want to see

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5 Responses to An Ode to Public Rights of Passage

  1. Tony Orman says:

    Access is so important. Unfortunately the introduction of pheasant preserve (paid shooting) has undermined the fundamental importance of fish and game law. For some strange reason 20 years ago, Fish and Game NZ sanctioned the setting up of pheasant preserves which fundamentally contravene Sec 23 Wild Life Act which says charging for shooting rights is prohibited.
    There is a matching regulation for trout and salmon fishing.
    Some unscrupulous fishing guides set up an arrangement with some land owners to buy exclusive rights, i.. anyone else was denied access.
    There is a loophole in the law which needs three little words (“or access thereto”) added to close the loophole. It has never been enacted. It needs to be ASAP.

  2. Nicholas Lorenz says:

    Fittingly the photo if my memory is correct was of the late John B Henderson, former NZ Deerstalkers Assn., president, that has been published in a recent book by Tony Orman, “Down a Country Road Two.” John Henderson was a tireless battler for the public estate and public ownership of fish and game.

  3. Dave says:

    Our outdoor recreational activities are slowly being eroded away but this will change and those who deny access now will be moved on. We must keep our backcountry open for all to enjoy whether it be fishing or hunting or enjoying the many rivers we have. New Zealand is for the people so why close it up.

  4. Malcolm Francis says:

    As a young boy growing up in England I never had the opportunity to fish for the Brown Trout that lived in the River Stour that ran through the Kent countryside as the access to this river was closed to the general public. In 1968 I made the choice to head out to New Zealand and discovered that anyone could going fishing for trout as long as they had a licence, since 1971 I have brought my licence so that I could experience the joys of trout fishing and have access to our great rivers. We are now seeing a major threat to public access and some areas of New Zealand the river access is being controlled by the highest bidder so that they can keep the water to their clients, I believe all New Zealanders should be able to access our great outdoors. That’s one of the key reasons that for the past 53 years New Zealand is the place I call home, regards Malcolm

  5. Jim Hilton says:

    Anybody who thinks there is easy access to our back country for recreational activities is mistaken. Many activities are now for the rich only. MP’s and the Government Departments which advise them have been seduced by the cunning. It’s time for free access to be enshrined in law like a proper written constitution and prosecution for those who deny it.

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