Camping in the Waitomo district

Thursday, 06 August 2015

Camping on Council land is currently regulated under Council’s Public Places Bylaw which was adopted in 2009 and reviewed in 2014 according to which, people cannot camp in an area not set aside for that purpose.

Over the last two years, a small number of complaints have been lodged with us in regard to freedom camping. Our informal conversations indicate that freedom camping can be a problem at Awakino/ Mokau area during the whitebait season.  A nuisance is caused when campers stay for extended periods of time and leave behind rubbish and waste.  

Careful consideration needed

Council agreed at its meeting on 25 November 2014, to monitor the situation for a period of 12 months, before making a decision to consider developing a Freedom Camping Bylaw for the district.

As an interim measure, Council agreed at this meeting to install signage on Council reserves where camping is known to take place but is not permitted under the current Bylaw. Regulatory signs that identify ‘No Camping’ areas on Council land, were put in place in July 2015 on Council owned land in Kiritehere, Waikawau, Marokopa, Awakino and Mokau in an effort to increase public awareness and to control the activity. 

It was further agreed that this interim strategy will be monitored over a period of 12 months after which Council will be in a position to make an informed decision on the value and need for a freedom camping bylaw. We will be noting the freedom camping activity within our district during the monitoring period.

We feel that further discussion with our local community and campers is required to ensure our position is correct.

Waitomo District Council is also working with the NZ Motorhome Association to find ways that work for our local community and the people who legitimately want to responsibly freedom camp in our scenic district.

Currently, the Tainui Wetere Domain in Mokau has a dump facility for motorhomes available for a fee.

Seaview Holiday Park in Mokau is a camping ground with a dump station and access to power.  

There are many things we need to consider as a Local Authority including public safety, the effects on the environment, use and access to property and the availability of adequate services to support freedom camping activities such as dump stations.

If people have a view of freedom camping in the Waitomo district, please email info@waitomo.govt.nz

Camping in the Waitomo district