Oratia Paper Roads – Horses, Cycles and More!

Oratia listed in it’s Local Area Plan this  objective

A17. Establish legal status of paper roads connecting existing Parker
Road with Scenic Drive and Cochrane Road with Scenic Drive in
order to evaluate the potential for pedestrian and cycle ways

Auckland Transport’s Unformed Legal Roads Policy   has recently been put before the local board.

A link to Walking Access Map shows all New Zealands legal formed and unformed roads  .  It’s also a pretty cool tool with a map clearly showing places  for horse riding, fishing, mountain biking or walking.

An unformed legal road or paper road is no different in law from a formed road. The public has the right to use them without hindrance. Whether the road is physically formed or just a line on a map, it is still classified a public road. A paper road is simply a legal road that has not been formed, or is only partly formed. It may be a walking track or just two wheel ruts in the ground – but it is still a legal road and members of the public have every right to walk or drive on it, so  if they do not damage the road it can  include  mountain bikes, dirt bikes and horses.   The right to access means no locked gates or obstructions to use including trees and the  NZ Horse Association has been a strong advoate for recreational users.

It could present some issues and concerns.  Many of the unformed roads are across rural land, or sometimes walking tracks appears as unformed roads – which could mean a legal right to wider recreational types.

Auckland Council Rural Advisory Panel (Minutes Here) raise questions regarding community consultation, managing tensions between land owners and stock safety particularly around urban dogs, fencing. biosecurity, enforcement of the laws eg not hunting, not damaging road, no fires, trespassing on adjacent private land.

And our own local board make a submission here.  including addressing environmental concerns particularly around Kauri Dieback and they would like the rules and powers  regarding unformed roads to be managed by Auckland Council.

What is a paper road?

A paper or unformed road is a legally recognised road that provides public access to a particular area or feature and whose ownership lies with either a territorial authority or the Crown.
They are generally undeveloped and often known only to the local community.
These roads can cross farmland or private land and are found in both urban and rural areas.
Why are they there?
The majority of paper roads were established in the early days of settlement – in particular, in the  period of provincial government (1854 to 1876). Before a piece of Crown land was sold into private hands, land was set aside as roads to ensure public access would be available once the land was  developed.
Roads were shown on survey plans but were frequently not built or used, these include the paper roads we have inherited today.