Kiwa Road Camping Area Closure

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 30 May 2018: Temporary closure of Kiwa Road area  

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Kaikoura District Council has closed an area of road reserve and beach along Kiwa Road after advice from our Environmental Health Officer that the area poses a potential health risk to users.

The area will remain closed until other solutions for managing the health risk can be found. The affected area is shown as the red hashed area on the map.  Areas outside the closure are not deemed to pose a health risk.  

The purpose is to make sure all beach users, not just campers, are aware of the risk and are encouraged not to use the area. The closure is not a ‘camping ban’.

People who choose to ignore the signs and continue to use the area, do so at their own risk. Council’s will continue to carry out routine monitoring of the health risk.

Concerns and complaints

Concerns about continued use of the area should be dealt with in the following ways:

- To raise concerns about personal or public safety, drug or alcohol abuse, inappropriate behaviour, public nudity/indecency including toileting please contact the local police 03 319 5038

- Questions or complaints about NCTIR works in the area should go to or leave a voice message via freephone: 0800 NCTIR EQ (0800 628 4737

- To make a specific complaint about something that is Councils responsibility (for example requests for clean ups, public health issues) please use the online form here  or call Council at 03 319 5026.

Speaking of the closure, Mayor Winston Gray said “We know the closure will be frustrating for some residents and that others may feel we should ‘do more’. We’re asking residents to remember that this is a temporary solution to a specific health risk. It is not the final solution to our districts Freedom Camping issues. We will have a better solution in place for Kiwa Rd before the next busy season.”

What Council has done

A temporary fence/barrier of waratahs  and tape has been put up around the 12 access points between the road reserve and the beach in the affected area. These temporary barriers are the quickest way for Council to make sure users are aware of the closure.

 A temporary sign has been designed and is currently being made. These signs will go up at each of the beach access points and at the entry/exit points of Kiwa road. We hope to have these in place by the end of next week.

 We’re asking residents and visitors to support our efforts to temporarily close the area by not moving or damaging the fence or signs and by reporting anyone who does through our complaints form.   


On Thursday 24th May Kaikōura District Council’s Environmental Health Officer (EHO) and Building and Regulatory Manager inspected the area of Kiwa Road currently being heavily used by freedom campers.

Following the visit, the EHO advised Council that the extent and ongoing nature of the littering and unhygienic human toileting practices on the site mean that the area could pose a potential health risk to users and should be closed.

The EHO has been visiting the site regularly over recent months. This is the first time Council has been advised that the site should be closed due to the health risk.

As a result, Council temporarily closed the site. The closure began as soon as possible and involves a temporary fence/barrier around the area and temporary signs carrying health risk warnings. It has also been communicated across Councils Facebook, Website and newsletters as well as directly to affected residents and community groups where possible.

Mayor Winston Gray said, "We believe that if the site remains open it will continue to be abused and to present a health risk to residents and beach users. We have no choice but to close the area and keep it closed until other solutions for managing the health risk can be found."

Council will work with organisers of the Cold Water Classic surf competition that is on over Queens birthday weekend to understand how the closure may impact the event. Council expects the event to be able to run as planned but the camping areas will remain closed which may partially restrict access to parts of the beach.

Council recognises that issues like these are often caused by a few badly behaved visitors. Many of our visitors, including freedom campers, visit our District to enjoy our beautiful and pristine environment and camp responsibly.

"We’re disappointed that a small number of badly behaved individuals have continued to damage and degrade the site and that their behaviour has forced us to close an area that many people enjoy and use regularly.   

Visitors, including freedom campers are an important part of our local economy and Council is committed to developing a responsible approach to managing camping in our district that continues to encourage visitors whilst managing their impacts more effectively," says Gray.

Read more about freedom camping in Kaikōura here.

Steps taken by Council in the last 6 months to manage this issue without closing the area include:

  • Portaloo and sign installed at Kiwa Road to encourage responsible camping
  • Regular visits by Environmental Health and Regulatory Officers and other members of Council staff
  • Regular clean ups of waste/rubbish by contractors
  • Improved cleaning and maintenance of the existing toilet
  • Increased communications with visitors and residents
  • Submitted an application to Tourism Infrastructure Fund to gain funding for addressing responsible camping issues at Kiwa Road
  • Analysed existing material/research from KDC and national work and compared our approach to Freedom Camping to neighbouring Councils
  • Progressing/reviewing the Site Suitability Assessment – this lists all responsible camping sites in the District and begins to assess their suitability as camping sites based on a range of criteria (e.g. safety, cultural values and facilities)
  • Participating in national work to understand and address freedom camping.

Council remains committed to making sure that appropriate steps are in place to better manage the issue before the next summer busy season. Councils next steps are to form of working group and agree a process to identify appropriate community representatives, hold a workshop with staff and elected members to discuss and agree a process and criteria to identify freedom camping sites. Recommendations would then need to be brought back to Council for approval. The working group will also consider some of the problems being encountered at Kiwa Road and what long term solutions can be put in place. The latest report to Council was on May 23rd and can be found here.

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Last updated: 30 May 2018