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Proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw – Central Hawke’s Bay

Proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw – Central Hawke’s Bay 

Te Kaunihera a rohe o Tamatea / Central Hawke’s Bay District Council (CHBDC) has now closed public consultation on the Proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw. We thank everyone for their input and valuable feedback. 

Please read the Proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw Statement of Proposal and/or Proposed Prohibited, Restricted and Permitted Areas for more information on the above at, Council office 28-32 Ruataniwha Street, Waipawa or one of our hubs and libraries.

Freedom camping is an increasingly popular sector of the tourism market. We are committed to encouraging the benefits it brings, while managing the increasing pressure it places on key coastal and river publicly owned sites, particularly at peak times of the year.

The proposed bylaw sets out areas where freedom camping will be permitted, restricted or prohibited within the district to protect the environment, health and safety of residents and access to key public sites. It covers staying overnight in vehicles on public land controlled by the Council, which includes most local roads and some carparks.

Click here for our interactive map which details the proposed areas where, under the bylaw, freedom camping would be permitted, restricted or prohibited.

Alternatively, you can view static maps for each of the following:

About the proposed bylaw

Council currently manages freedom camping by educating and engaging with campers through our compliance team. Voluntary kaitiaki groups also assist us along our coast through the peak season.

However, we have no enforcement powers when asking campers to move on if they are adversely impacting others or the environment. The proposed bylaw contains rules that will help to prevent irresponsible camping along with other laws and bylaws.

The Freedom Camping Act 2011 allows for a bylaw when they are ‘appropriate’ and ‘proportionate’ to address the problems experienced. Based on the number of freedom camping related complaints, feedback received during our Thriving Places and Spaces consultation in 2022, and consultation to date, the need for a bylaw is both appropriate and proportionate.

The proposed bylaw has been designed to address the following:

  • Allow freedom camping in suitable areas where the impacts are low and can be managed.
  • Set stricter rules in areas where they are required and their protection is justified under the Freedom Camping Act 2011 to protect the area, public health and safety, and/or access to the area.
  • Introduce general rules for other areas that protect our environment and public health; protect access for everyone to shared amenities and parking; and ensure that kaitiakitanga principles are upheld.

The proposed bylaw also gives Council enforcement powers and the ability to apply penalties for offences.

Introducing restricted, prohibited, permitted areas

The proposed bylaw manages freedom camping on land it covers within three categories: 
  • Prohibited areas where no freedom camping is allowed. The council is proposing to introduce prohibited areas in Waipukurau, Waipawa, Takapau, Otāne and a number of rural areas and reserves as well as coastal towns and reserves. When considering these areas council has considered public health needs, impact to the environment and public safety and other factors.

  • Restricted areas, where freedom camping is allowed for certified self-contained vehicles, including seasonal restrictions and a maximum number of nights. We have identified sites in Kairakau Beach, Pourerere, Aromoana Shoal Beach Reserve, Pōrangahau/Te Paerahi, Whangaehu Beach, Waipukurau, Waipawa, Takapau, Tikokino, Ongaonga and Otāne. 
  • Two permitted areas where freedom camping is allowed: Pourerere Beach Road and Te Paerahi Beach (Pōrangahau) Freedom Camping adjacent to Recreation Reserve. The draft bylaw proposes introducing a permit season between 14 December - 29 February. This is currently in place for Pourerere Beach Road but not Te Paerahi. Outside this season the bylaw proposes prohibiting freedom camping for non self-contained vehicles and tents. 

Freedom camping: Background to the bylaw

In 2022, Council adopted the Central Hawke’s Bay Camping Strategy 2022 as part of the Thriving Places and Spaces Consultation.  The consultation informed the strategy and its overarching strategic goal:

Camping is in our DNA – the Tamatea Way, looking after locals, welcoming visitors, offering mountains to beach opportunities and protecting our natural environments.

This strategic goal underpins the intent of the proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw.

Through the same 2022 consultation, Council also adopted a Reserve Management Plan that covers 80 reserves and the desired future development and investment for each site, including toilets and carparking. The public submission process and Council decisions made during the Thriving Places and Spaces Consultation have informed whether key camping sites are included as prohibited, restricted or permitted camping under this proposed bylaw.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council is currently developing a proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw for public consultation soon.

This was a result of the Central Hawke's Bay Camping Strategy 2022, as part of the Thriving Places and Spaces Consultation.


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