Ensuring there is good access to the country's landscapes is the focus of Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron as he takes up a top role with the Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa.
Cameron has been announced as the new chairman of the commission and said he wants to address some areas in the Ruapehu district in particular.
"We have a lot of paper roads and we've got a lot of requests from people to either close them or open them," he said.
"The roads have been used mainly in the past for horses or stock movement but have since been taken over by land extension of farms or by farm sales. They're still available but the public haven't used them for many years because access to them has been nil.
"People are now looking at these very closely and seeing if they connect with other trails, and if they don't an application can be made to close them but if they do, people are really interested in connecting them."
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Cameron recently helped establish the Ameku Road cycle and walkway in Raetihi, and has experience in rural and recreational access issues which he plans to use in his next three years in the role.
"Ensuring there is good access, particularly to conservation areas and parks, because as we know there has been a number of cases of owners taking over land and blocking access off. In other cases there's been foreign owners who have bought large tracts of land and actually opened up new tracks.
"It's making sure there is that continued access to areas people want to recreate in."
Cameron takes over the role from long-standing chairman John Forbes. Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor, who appoints the independent board, named Cameron as chairman.
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The Walking Access Commission provides leadership on outdoor access issues and administers a national strategy on outdoor access, including tracks and trails. It maps outdoor access, provides information to the public, oversees a code of responsible conduct, helps to resolve disputes and negotiates new access.