The Department of Conservation has admitted it made a mistake by promoting its Cape Kidnappers track as an iconic day hike for tourists without properly assessing the risk of slips.
DoC director of heritage and visitors Steve Taylor said it shouldn't have advertised the walk to tourists, two of whom were seriously injured in a massive slip on the way to the track on Clifton Beach in January, without first assessing the risk.
"DoC accepts there were significant failures ... we should not have promoted it as a Day Hike as this may have led people to believe it was without risk," Taylor said.
"Most visitor sites have some degree of natural hazard risks which cannot be totally eliminated.
"DoC's role is to assess them properly so people can make an informed choice about whether to participate or not. We accept we did not act on this assessment in the way we should have.
"It's clear that this was a complex case involving multiple landowners and varying levels of risk.
"DoC needed to have a better overview of all the different pieces before pushing ahead with promoting the walk," Taylor said.
The admission comes after DoC reports from 2017 and 2019 both labelled the Cape as an "unacceptable risk".
The 2017 report came out just a day before the launch of a multimillion-dollar campaign promoting Cape Kidnappers as a Great Walk.
Seventeen months later a slip swept two South Korean tourists out to sea and seriously injured them.
DoC's investigation report into the incident showed that those tasked with assessing the risks to visitors limited their thinking to just 1.5km - the DoC-managed land - of the total 9km walk.
"The report is clear that some of our systems let us down and needed to be improved," Taylor said.
"We are working to make sure this happens as soon as possible and will be actioning all of the recommendations in the report."
Taylor said DoC was "sorry that people were caught in this natural rockfall".
"No one wants to see anyone get hurt," Taylor said.
"Until we have a full understanding of all the risks associated with this walk, the DoC section of the walkway [about 1.5 km] will remain closed and we will not be promoting it."
DoC is supporting a Quantitative Risk Analysis, initiated by the Hastings District Council, to fully assess the risk of further rockfall on the Cape Kidnappers walk.
Hastings District Council has reopened its section of the walk, along Clifton Beach, but is warning those who go they risk injury and death in doing so.