Weather Watch - Heavy rain
Metservice has issued a heavy rain watch for Waikato and Waitomo. The watch is valid from 5am to 10pm Saturday (20 April). More info here

Illegal horse riding poses danger to public safety

9 Dec 2015

Waitomo District Council is warning local horse riders that if they ignore the rules set out under the Public Places Bylaw, then enforcement action will be taken against them.

People who continue to ride horses on public land in Te Kuiti are a risk to public safety. The riding of horses in Te Kuiti urban centre is not only a nuisance, it is highly dangerous, and public safety is compromised.

Mayor Brian Hanna urges people to think about their behaviour. “The places where horses are being illegally ridden in town are intended for pedestrians and the general public. It is an unacceptable activity because the environment is not suitable for horse riding.” he says. “Someone could be seriously injured and we don’t want that to happen”.

In May this year, Council installed fixed steel barriers at the entrance of the pedestrian bridges that are located along the Mangaokewa River Te Kuiti. The aim of the barrier was to protect pedestrians and other users from potential harm as a result of dangerous and illegal use of the footbridge and to protect the bridge itself.

Council’s decision to install the barriers was in response to public concerns.

However, as a result of significant public backlash, WDC removed the barriers on the foot bridges.

Customer Service Manager Helen Beever says the issue is concerning for the community.

“Unfortunately there is a very small number of individuals in Te Kuiti who choose to act in a way that potentially endangers public safety.”

“We have placed signs along the eastern bank of the Mangaokewa Stream to reinforce the fact that riding motorbikes and horses on public places and/or reserves, is prohibited under the Public Places Bylaw.”

“The Bylaw is aimed at protecting the public and maintaining a level of safety. Any person who breaches the rules outlined in the Bylaw could be fined up to $300.” says Mrs Beever

WDC is calling for the support of the local community to support Council’s efforts.

“If someone is riding a horse on the footpath or on grass reserve in town, that could be a sports field or the riverbank – then you need to call us immediately on 0800 932 4357 with a description and location. Council’s customer service operates 24-7 so it doesn’t matter what time of the day, we will receive your complaint and follow it up”. says Mrs Beever

Waitomo District Council’s aim is to ensure that an acceptable standard of convenience, safety, visual amenity and civic values are maintained for the wellbeing and enjoyment of residents, visitors and businesses within the district.


People can ride a horse on the road, given that they abide by the road rules. These rules will help ensure your safety when you are riding a horse on the road.

Safety rules for horse riders

  • Always wear a safety hat while riding. Otherwise, a fall from your horse could result in a head injury.
  • Ride your horse on the left-hand side of the road and as far to the left as possible.
  • Keep your horse on the side of the road whenever you can, but don't ride on footpaths, lawns or gardens.
  • Don't ride more than two abreast.
  • Don't ride on the right of any moving vehicle.
  • If you're leading another animal while riding, always keep it on your left, away from the traffic.
  • If you're riding a horse or leading animals at night, wear reflective clothing and carry a torch.

If you observe any person breaking the road rules while riding a horse call the Police on 111.

You can view information for horse riders as outlined in the official New Zealand road code here.