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New Freedom Camping Bylaw for Tasman District

December 15th, 2017

The Tasman District Council has adopted a new Freedom Camping Bylaw and will increase enforcement, add extra signage and improve the facilities in some areas where camping is permitted with restrictions.

The Freedom Camping Bylaw 2017 comes into effect on Sunday 17 December. It sets out the areas within the District where freedom camping is allowed with some restrictions, and where it is prohibited.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said managing the effects of freedom camping was challenging both locally and nationally.

"We want to strike a balance between being welcoming hosts to visitors to our region, while ensuring our communities can enjoy their neighbourhoods and recreational areas and making sure our environment is respected and protected. The new bylaw isn't a cure-all that will eliminate any problems with freedom camping in the District. However, we do believe it will help us manage the issues better within the limits of the existing legislation."

Consultation on the draft bylaw drew 383 submissions, and 68 of those spoke at public hearings on the issue. Richard said several changes were made to the draft bylaw in response to the public feedback. Those included removing existing camping rights in the Edward Baigent Memorial Scenic Reserve in Wakefield and removing the proposed use of the former Rototai tip site in Golden Bay as a freedom camping area.

"Some of the common themes that came through the feedback were that people realised this form of tourism was not going to disappear so we need to have places for freedom campers to go, and extra facilities available for them to manage the potential for negative effects such as litter and environmental damage," Richard said.

Richard said the new bylaw needed to be supported by sufficient enforcement, signage and facilities at freedom camping areas. Initial enforcement and signage costs were expected to increase by $70,000, and we have applied to the Tourism Infrastructure Fund for support to provide toilets etc.

Areas where freedom camping is permitted with some restrictions

  • Alexander Bluff Road Reserve, Ngatimoti
  • Waitapu Bridge, Takaka
  • Taupata Gravel Reserve, Collingwood - seasonal only


Restricted freedom camping areas

Number of campers, types of vehicle and length-of-stay restrictions also apply.
  • Motueka Beach Reserve - self-contained vehicles only
  • Motupipi Carpark, Takaka - self-contained vehicles only
  • Decks Reserve Carpark, Motueka - no tents


Prohibited areas - no camping of any form allowed
  • All cemeteries
  • Residential areas listed in the Schedule of prohibited areas with a speed limit of 70kmh or less (unless specifically listed as a permitted or restricted freedom camping area)
  • Reserves, parks and sportsgrounds (unless specifically listed as a permitted or restricted freedom camping area or permission is granted by the Council)
  • Roads in the Kaiteriteri, Stephens Bay and Split Apple Rock areas
  • The river side of any embankment, except the area at Waitapu Bridge
  • Hickmott Place, Motueka
  • Thorps Bush, Motueka
  • All public places and reserves in Takaka, except the 10 spaces allocated in Motupipi Carpark for self-contained vehicles
  • Pohara Recreation Reserve and Band Rotunda
  • Ligar Bay Esplanade Reserve
  • Tata Beach
  • George Quay, Motueka
  • Riwaka Resurgence Road Reserve
  • Lake Rotoiti, Kerr Bay Road Reserve
  • Waikoropupu Springs Road Reserve
  • Wainui Bay Road Reserve
  • Abel Tasman Memorial Road Reserve
  • The end of Staples Street, Motueka
  • Department of Conservation Offices, View Road, St Arnaud
  • Edward Baigent Memorial Scenic Reserve, Wakefield
  • All roads in Motueka township, speed limit 70kmh or less
  • Part of Riwaka township
  • Marahau township
  • Patons Rock township
  • All roads in Saint Arnaud township, speed limit 70kmh or less
  • Best Island


Note: Self-contained vehicles displaying the necessary warrant and stickers may camp in all areas of the District that are not specifically prohibited, provided they do not create a safety issue.



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