Responsible Camping Bylaw Adopted

sign snip

Council unanimously adopted a Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw on Wednesday 27th November. The bylaw will be legally enforceable from December 18th and will introduce controls for all camping for free on council controlled or managed land.

Under the final bylaw:

  • All camping for free must be in a certified self-contained vehicle where the toilet is accessible at all times, including when the bed is made up.
  • There are five designated responsible freedom camping sites where camping is allowed for a maximum of one night in any four-week period.
  • One of the five sites (Pohowera) is closed from mid-August-February to protect the banded dotterel birds (Pohowera) which are a threatened species and nest there.
  • The sites provide a total of 48 spots from mid-August – February, increasing to a total of 63 spots between March – mid August while Pohowera is open.
  • There are three areas where camping for free is prohibited;
    • The urban area (except in designated responsible freedom camping sites),
    • The coastal strip south of town from South Bay Parade to the Kowhai river (except in the Pohowera designated responsible freedom camping site),
    • The Kiwa Road area at Mangāmāunu.
  • In all other areas camping for free is allowed for a maximum of three nights in any four-week period in any one area or within 500m of that area
  • Council can fine or clamp people for camping in ways that don’t meet our rules.

Over the next few weeks Council staff will be organizing signs, preparing sites, training enforcement staff and starting research into the impact of freedom campers on the Kaikōura economy.

Alongside the bylaw, work to develop a Masterplan for the Kiwa Road area at Mangāmāunu is continuing.

The bylaw grew out of a need to protect the Kaikōura environment. A working group of representatives from across business, iwi, area users, interest groups Police and government agencies took the best part of a year to put this bylaw together. To develop the draft, the group reviewed bylaws from 27 Councils across New Zealand and looked at the suitability of 60 sites across Kaikōura for camping.

As part of formal consultation, Council received and considered over 180 submissions.

Council would like to thank all those involved for their time and effort.

More information will be released over the coming weeks.

Final bylaw


Useful links 


4 December 2019