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The Future of Camping

Icon CampingCamping is a popular and traditional pastime throughout New Zealand, and is one of our favourite holiday options, particularly over the summer months. Our look at camping across Central Hawke’s Bay will include locations, facilities, and local government framework and legislation.  

We need to review our entire portfolio of campgrounds, with leases and resource consents coming to an end, investment required in the near future and changes to Bylaws required to be fit for purpose and  meet legislative requirements. 

Why are camping and camping sites important? 

Camping is in our DNA. The Central Hawkes Bay District is the gateway to nearly 40 kilometres of the Ruahīne Forest Park ranges, features a network of fresh waterways and has over 70 kilometres of rugged and diverse coastline, all with a range of camping and recreation opportunities. The District is also home to a wealth of Māori and colonial history.   

Many of us camp in our own backyard and have for generations:  heading to the beach for summer or making the most of the Ruahīnes. Making sure we continue to have access to these places in ways that protect our environment is critical. Tourism is one of several important economic focus areas for the district moving forward. COVID-19 provides an opportune time to review tourism in Central Hawke’ Bay and offer ‘something different’. Central Hawke’s Bay may increasingly become a prime destination to Kiwis who now, more than ever, are looking for destinations where they have never been before with spectacular natural landscapes and scenery and opportunities to relax and refresh at the top of their lists.  


Why are we having this conversation?  

Increased visitation will put additional pressure on our facilities, environment and on our communities, which are already facing several district-wide and location specific issues. This document looks to discuss a way forward to unlock several key barriers to make it easier for visitors and locals to access and explore our backyard. 

Some of our biggest challenges are: 

  • The capacity and quality of our aging existing infrastructure and facilities. 

  • Several location specific issues, including expiring leases and consents, water supply issues, climate resilience, anti-social behaviour, and equitable access.  

  • The lack of clear, concise, and accessible information on camping in the district. 

  • Determining how to pay for camping investment - should everyone contribute or more focus on users.  

What does success look like? 

With the help of others, we’ve done some early thinking and think that success for the future of camping is to:

  • Make sure our camping experiences will reflect the ‘Tamatea Way’ – being distinctly unique to Tamatea Central Hawke’s Bay putting our people and our environment first. 

  • Ensure camping is provided and managed in a way that protects, respects, sustains, and enhances our natural environments and future proofs our facilities. 

  • Have a Freedom Camping Policy to guide where and how people can freedom camp across the District. 

  • Ensure camping solutions are fit for purpose and reflect the values of each community. 

  • Diversify camping opportunities throughout the district, relieving pressure on existing sites. 


Want to know more? 

To understand more about the future of camping, what we are trying to achieve and who is involved, read our full Discussion Document on the future of camping


Let us know your ideas? 

We’re still in the early phases of this work, however we are keen to hear your ideas to support camping in Tamatea - Central Hawke’s Bay.  You can do this by completing our online survey or emailing us on 


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