TIA spearheads the New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum to help manage community, social and environmental issues around freedom camping. The Forum has around 60 members from the private sector and central and local government.
Campers are an important sector of New Zealand’s tourism industry. They travel widely through the country, tend to stay a long time and spend money on a wide range of goods and activities.
The Responsible Camping Forum was set up by TIA in 2007. Since then the Forum has succeeded in achieving a unified stance on how best to manage freedom camping in New Zealand. While some degree of enforcement is required, we can reduce that through education and helping campers embrace the principle of kaitiakitanga (social and environmental responsibility).
Getting the message across
The camping.org.nz website provides a ‘one stop shop’ for camping, including information on eco-wise practices, keeping safe, regional camping, facilities and where to stay in New Zealand. The website was refreshed and relaunched in 2018.
There is also a Camping New Zealand Facebook page and an Instagram account that provide travellers with camping information.
The Forum has produced free resources to help rental vehicle operators and the wider tourism industry, visitor centres, councils and other organisations promote the responsible camping message.
The Motorhome/Campervan Operator Guidelines (updated April 2019) provide key messages and information to use when communicating with visitors about freedom camping. We encourage operators to use these guidelines and share them with frontline staff.
- The Forum commissioned a Freedom Camping Literature Review to assess and summarise the research available on freedom camping, plus identify where gaps in information and knowledge exist.
Published in April 2017, the study identifies 22 gaps in knowledge and information, highlighting not only the complex nature of this issue but also that a continuing focus on insight and information gathering is important as we work to reduce issues and maximise the benefits.
Knowledge gaps include details on freedom campers’ behaviour and motivations, how much they spend, and how much New Zealanders value the right to freedom camp. The research was shared with councils around the country.
- The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment provides insight on freedom camping by international visitors.