Innovative technology and tools to better manage freedom camping

A package of new and expanded technology and other tools will encourage responsible camping and help communities and local councils better manage freedom camping this summer, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.

“Our Government has been investing to improve the freedom camping experience for everyone because we want to support our regions to thrive and our country to benefit from sustainable tourism growth,” Kelvin Davis said.

“In August I announced funding of $8 million to 38 local councils to support a wide range of activities including education and enforcement projects, ambassador programmes, as well as temporary facilities.

“Today I am announcing the continued progress we are making in this space, with a package of innovative technology and other tools in place this year,” Kelvin Davis said.

Technology pilots:

  • A new Ambassador App will help responsible camping ambassadors employed by councils provide information and advice to campers, and record the number of vehicles at sites which can be used for reporting purposes. Around 20 councils have already signed up to use the app.
  • A new zoning pilot across the Kaikōura district to show campers where they can and can’t camp.  The zones are colour-coded and available to campers via the CamperMate app.  
  • An expanded pilot of AI solar-powered cameras will monitor capacity at a minimum of 10 camping sites. Campers using the CamperMate app will see in real-time whether the campsite they are interested in is full. This was successful last year with 90 per cent of people who checked a site’s availability choosing another site when their first choice was full.

Other initiatives:

  • Free access to the self-contained vehicle standard, saving users around $70 each. Local councils, campers and those who fit-out self-contained vehicles can easily see what’s required for certification as a self-contained vehicle.
  • Tourism New Zealand’s successful education campaign from last year has been expanded. It encourages campers to stay at sites that have facilities, and includes materials for all councils, Regional Tourism Organisations and i-SITES to help guide camping behaviour. 
  • Research is being commissioned to understand the number, profile and value of New Zealanders and international visitors who are freedom camping this summer. 

“With these things in place, I am confident councils, communities and campers have everything they need to have an enjoyable summer,” Kelvin Davis said.

Information about the responsible camping funding recipients for summer 19/20 is available on the MBIE website.