Our objectives and key initiatives

ACAT's mission

Our mission is to create sustainable crag access through strong relationships between climbers, communities, and the environment. 

ACAT’s objectives

These are the overall purposes that are enshrined in ACAT’s Trust Deed, our founding document. All decisions will be directed toward achieving these purposes.

Promoting public access to all climbing areas in Aotearoa

Protecting climbing access in Aotearoa is all about community and relationships. ACAT’s goal is to help the climbing community become better coordinated and more actively investing in our sport. To protect the future of climbing in New Zealand we need strong relationships within the climbing community, with farmers, iwi, DOC, Councils, and other stakeholders such as environmental groups. 

Fostering protection, stewardship and conservation of climbing areas

Climbers care about the environment. ACAT aims to help channel that goodwill into tangible outcomes. We will support environmental projects around climbing areas wherever possible, starting with the native restoration effort at Waipari / Froggatt Edge

Encouraging safe and responsible use of climbing areas 

Climbers generally do a great job of following landowner requirements and keeping themselves and others safe, but there are always exceptions. The entire climbing community plays a role in managing crag behaviour, and ACAT will champion efforts to prevent environmental impacts, unnecessary accidents, or damage to landowner relationships. 

Providing education regarding climbing access issues, safety and conservation

Communication and education are integral to all of ACAT’s work, be it educating climbers about crag behaviour, or landowners about what climbers do and how we can make a positive contribution. We aim to help the climbing community be its best, address inaccurate and negative perceptions of climbing, and establish climbers as a legitimate and well-regarded recreational user group.

ACAT’s key initiatives

We are working on a range of issues that affect crags on public conservation land, farmland and Māori land. Our key initiatives are designed to help achieve ACAT’s overall charitable purposes.

Access information

Historically there has been no reliable channels or policies for sharing information about access issues within the climbing community. ACAT will provide access news and updates through our website, social media channels, and email newsletters. We are building a repository of information about crags throughout NZ to help support crag developers and respond effectively to access issues. 

Landowner relationships 

Most good landowner relationships in NZ are due to volunteers who have taken on the responsibility of managing a crag for the climbing community. ACAT can provide these volunteers with resources, support, and advice on how to deal with any issues that may arise. ACAT may also deal directly with landowners where required. 

Addressing liability concerns

Based on our experience to date, many farmers are concerned about potential liability if there is an accident on their land, be it through climbing or other recreational activities. In reality the risk of liability is extremely low, but this is not widely understood. A priority project for ACAT is to develop resources for landowners that clearly explains the law as it relates to climbing. This information should help to alleviate farmers' concerns, and will give us an opportunity to provide something valuable to landowners to help strengthen these relationships.

Engaging with DOC 

Many of New Zealand’s finest crags are on public conservation land. This land is managed by DOC, often with involvement from tangata whenua and other stakeholders. ACAT is working towards engagement with DOC to establish climbers as a legitimate recreational user group and develop agreements about climbing on public land. 

Investing in permanent access solutions

Occasionally there are opportunities to permanently protect high-value climbing areas by investing in land acquisitions, or legal protections such as easements. We intend to build an access fund so that we can make the most of future opportunities of this type. ACAT welcomes large donations or bequests that will contribute to this goal.

Engaging with iwi

Climbing on Māori land is a privilege. We need to show that climbers can make a positive contribution to Māori communities. ACAT aims to engage with tangata whenua with respect and a commitment to developing meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships.

Safe and responsible climbing

This includes good crag behaviour and complying with landowner requirements. Nothing loses access faster than climbers leaving gates open or bringing dogs onto farmland. ACAT will continually encourage good crag behaviour to help maintain positive landowner relationships.

Environmental stewardship

Our passion for climbing takes us to many beautiful outdoor places. A core part of ACAT’s vision is that climbers will help to protect and restore the whenua. Climbers are already involved in many environmental protection projects around the country. ACAT intends to support these, and foster new projects.