Responsible Camping

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The Responsible Camping Working Group met for the first time in mid-August. The first meeting focused on identifying and discussing sites within the Kaikōura District where people have camped or may wish to camp in the future.  The group also began developing criteria which will be used to help assess the suitability of these sites for camping.

Over the next few months, the group will develop recommendations for Council about how responsible camping should be managed in the district. The next meeting will be scheduled for mid-September.

We’d like to thank everyone who is participating in this group for their dedication, patience and passion around the issue.

Group members present at the meeting included; Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura, DOC, Police, KiwiRail, Canterbury District Healthboard, ECan, Kaikōura Youth Council, Te Korowai, NZ Motor Caravan Association, Kaikōura Camp Grounds, four public representatives

Group members invited but unable to attend the meeting included; NZTA, KiwiRail, Kaikōura Boardriders, Mangamaunu Marae, CamperMate

 Useful links 


The responsible camping working group has been brought together to help develop long term solutions to managing freedom camping in the Kaikōura District. The name responsible camping has been chosen because it highlights what the group is trying to achieve – a sustainable, responsible way of dealing with camping and campers across our district.

The group is a partnership of Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura, community members, business owners, Kaikōura District Council, Environment Canterbury and national bodies who have an interest in responsible camping within Kaikōura.   

Between them, group members have a wealth of local and national knowledge about camping.   

Mayor Winston Gray discussed the group saying, "Councils are sometimes criticised for having lots of meetings and making little progress. In some cases people may have a point, but when it comes to managing camping in our district Council knows that the only way we can succeed is if we bring everyone together to work collectively to create a solution that will work for us as a District, as a community and as a tourist destination.”

“We’ve chosen the name ‘Responsible Camping’ because Council believes that this is the best way to describe the attitude we’re taking – it’s also the outcome we are seeking for our community. We want to ensure that we act responsibly now to protect Kaikōura’s natural environment while also protecting the right of future generations of to enjoy camping responsibly as part of the kiwi way of life.”

“Even those who are most vocally opposed to freedom camping recognise that camping along our coastline is something many of our residents as well as our visitors treasure. Most also recognise that tourism is an important part of our local economy. What this means is that we have no choice but to find a way to manage the impact of badly behaved campers whilst encouraging responsible campers to enjoy our District sustainably” he said.

The working group will work with Council to agree how camping should be managed in Kaikōura. Members of the working group include agencies such as the Department of Conservation who have legal authority over some of the land used by campers within our district. They also include organisations who have an interest in the Kaikōura environment or economy, including our tourism and accommodation sectors. These organisations and individuals are being contacted and invited to take part.

Council expects the working group, supported by Council staff, to be able to make significant progress on the issue of responsible camping before the next summer busy season, but recognises that permanent solutions to some of the issues are likely to be some time away. Council remains committed to having improvements in place for our worst affected areas before next summer. 

24 August 2018