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Camping praise where praise is due

Responsible Campers Association Incorporated are delighted by the announcement by Dunedin City Council to open up additional overnight parking to cater for self contained campers while the City holds a number of major events during February 2020.

This approach is often also regularly taken by Porirua City Council in response to major events being held in Wellington City - a mere 20 minute train ride away. Porirua City Council also provide additional bins and turn a blind eye to campers who are not “certified’ as self contained which is a site rule. The site also has good provision of public toilets due to the sports field’s surrounding it.

It is also pleasing to see Dunedin City Council acknowledge that “certified self containment” does not ensure responsible camping due to the lack of any education of the people camping. The days of placing ‘all’ the onus on facilities within a camping vehicle are numbered now the NZS;5465 (self containment) is found to be in breach of the Bill of Rights on just about every level possible - Relevance, Coverage, Least restrictive and being justifiable in a fair and democratic society. It is also very exclusive only being available to Motor-homes & Caravans.

RCAi is concerned that monitoring of self containment will be carried out by members of New Zealand Motor Caravan Association as a number of their members are not educated in the difference between self containment and ‘certified’ self containment.

The way forward for Responsible Camping will involve education in both the requirements to be self contained (not- certified, and which is the basic ability to retain waste until it can be disposed of properly - in facilities that are fit for purpose. So NOT overflowing rubbish bins etc), and education in the expectations and principles of being a Responsible Camper.

This education shall be supported by a questionnaire that will prove the Accredited Camper has understood that education and agrees to abide with said education. This camper shall be free to determine for themselves what they need to retain all waste therefore making the program inclusive to all. Even travelers can take the program to show responsibility while travelling.

Such a program was launched after being developed with assistance from most Councils and other stakeholders in February this year.

DOC said

"can clearly see the amount of effort and research that has gone into producing the website and the level of detail is impressive"

While Tasman District Council stated

"The Responsible Campers Association Incorporated has been created to develop, promote and support a Responsible Campers Accreditation Programme which provides education and competency cards to campers who can successfully answer questions on responsible camping. This self-containment accreditation system focuses on the education and competency of the camper, rather than a standard that applies to facilities on a vehicle".

It is available at

We wish Dunedin well with its upcoming events, and hope other Councils will take a leaf out of Dunedin and Porirua City Councils books.

Praise is certainly due to any Council that acts proactively when major events are occurring in order to accommodate additional visitors who may not otherwise be able to be accommodated.

Responsible Campers Association has become an Incorporated Society.

Our constitution demands we act for all kiwi campers in an unbiased manner.


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