This page contains a brief summary of the past summer's Freedom Camping Ambassador programme and some of the positive outcomes from our volunteer ambassadors.
11/03/2020 3:14 p.m.
Whangārei’s Responsible Freedom Camping Ambassadors have handed out their last camper information packs for the season, wrapping up a summer that took freedom camping management in our District to the next level.
“This is the second consecutive season of Ambassador patrols for these community-minded volunteers, who this summer managed to deliver more of everything,” says Whangārei Mayor, Sheryl Mai.
“Maintaining an evening presence at 16 of our most popular freedom camping sites - five more than last season - during an operational period extending three weeks longer, they doubled last summer’s freedom camping site visits to just over 1000 and increased information pack distribution by around 750 to approximately 3750.”
The Ambassadors also collected data, answered questions and guided campers to responsible freedom camping practices. They worked closely with Council’s Armourguard enforcement officers who themselves doubled their daily patrols at targeted freedom camp sites over the peak freedom camping period.
“I want to thank our Responsible Camping Ambassadors for their part in that, and encourage them to take time themselves, now, to enjoy the remains of the summer they worked so hard to help our people and their visitors to enjoy,” says Mayor Mai.
She says both the Ambassadors and officers reported a significant change in camper attitudes this season, the vast majority showing greater awareness of responsible camping behaviours.
This summer’s Responsible Freedom Camping Programme was funded by a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) grant made available to councils experiencing enormous strain on their infrastructure and resources in recent years due to a huge increase in freedom camper numbers.
“The grant also allowed us to upgrade infrastructure at some of our freedom camping spots and increase enforcement officer presence,” Mayor Mai says.