Te Araroa trail walkers trespassed after taking 'dangerous' shortcut through active Southland logging site

Looking south from a hill on Mt Linton Station over Te Araroa Trail.
Looking south from a hill on Mt Linton Station over Te Araroa Trail. Photo credit: RNZ

A pair on the Te Araroa national trail, which traverses the entire country, have been trespassed from a section of a Southland farm which the trail passes through.

Just outside Invercargill, the track goes through a combination of DOC owned, public, and private land, including privately owned, Mt Linton Station.

"One walker was heading south through the station and deliberately left the marked trail to take a short cut through an active logging site," trail manager Dan Radford said on social media.

"The second was caught crossing the station by bike to meet the other walker."

The pair were subsequently trespassed from Mt Linton Station after the incident on Wednesday.

Te Araroa Trust, the group which manages the national trail, said it supported the decision.

"These decisions were a result of failing to read, comprehend and respect the trail notes, which Te Araroa Trust provide to keep walkers safe," Radford said.

It was worsened by the nature of where they took the shortcut, he said.

"It is dangerous - statistically, logging and agriculture are two of the most dangerous workplaces in NZ, and both occur regularly along Te Araroa."

Trust executive director Matt Caldridge said it was very unlikely the shortcut was taken by accident.

The pair would have had to ignore warning signage, advice provided by the trust, and gone off a marked trail, he said.

"The information is clearly laid out and in this case there is absolutely no excuse for what the walkers did."

He said despite the unfortunate nature of the incident, it was an anomaly amongst walkers.

He could not recall another time when a walker on the Te Araroa trail had been trespassed.

"We had 3000 walkers on the trail last year and this season and so to have two trespassers - the first time we believe walkers have been trespassed, so its incredibly rare."