Update 3 March 2012: For background to the issue of freedom camping in Hapuku read Hapuku Local Damaged Road To Deter Freedom Campers
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We’re saddened to hear of another malicious act against camping tourists in New Zealand, this time in the township of Kaikoura, famous for its whale watching activities and beautiful scenery. An ideal spot for a holiday to get away from it all, or so you’d think.
This appeared in the Cops Corner section of the Marlborough Express on 7 March 2012. Note the tourists had their own toilet facilities
“A campervan had two tyres slashed out at Hapuku on Thursday the 1st March.
Now I understand that freedom camping has its downside to the community, but this was a fully self contained campervan occupied by two middle-aged women from Switzerland.
These visitors were camping respectfully, not causing any issues to anyone or the beautiful environment.
This is not the sort of image that we want to portray to tourists who will be certain to spread the word of this incident in their homeland…”
Hapuku is a remote area about 14 kms north of Kaikoura township (see Streeview showing a campervan below)
There have been a number of attacks on Freedom Campers in New Zealand, some locals aren’t too pleased when they don’t use regular campsites.
This is not just because campsite owners are losing out on fees but because of the insanitary mess some campers leave behind. Especially in vans that don’t have an built-in WC, unlike those used by the Swiss women.
We think a good PR campaign aimed at both tourists and local people will go a long way to sorting out the misunderstandings, and ensuring visitors get to enjoy their New Zealand holidays.
Open Season declared on Freedom Campers
The situation got so heated at one point that the president of the NZ Motor Caravan Association called for freedom campers to be shot. This is from a blog in February 2010
The president of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, Dick Waters, may have wounded himself in his own foot after issuing another call yesterday for freedom campers to be “shot” if they use vans that don’t have their own toilet facilities. Mr Waters, is reported as having said yesterday that “Messy freedom campers who trundle around the country in sleeper vans without toilets or self-contained utilities should be “shot”. It followed similar comments he made in January
His remarks will probably touch a raw nerve with campers who have suffered assaults and robberies whilst camping in New Zealand (see posts tagged Campsite Assaults)
Effectively declaring open season on certain types of campers isn’t going to do much to enhance the country’s tarnished reputation for visitor safety is it? Even if the comment was meant to shock, rather than be taken literally, it may cause certain elements of NZ society to feel less than ‘gracious’ towards visitors, who may be now viewed as little more than vermin…
Sadly it seems that’s what may have happened in Kaikoura.
We hope that the women made it home safely to Switzerland and next time they decide on a camping holiday they chose somewhere a little more tolerant of its guests.
…A couple camping in Tamatea Point in Pakawau were lucky to escape with their lives after someone ” shot at, smashed and attempted to set fire to their campervan” at 5.50 one morning, presumably they were sleeping in it at the time.
The holidaymakers, a “44-year-old male New Zealander and a 36-year-old New Zealand-residing Chinese woman,” from Hamilton…
A group of freedom campers at Waitapu Bridge in Golden Bay was threatened with violence by local residents with pig (hunting) dogs, if they did not leave the site. (link) and in another incident a couple of campers at Haast Beach were threatened and when they moved into Haast township were threatened again.
For posts about Kaikoura click here
For posts about Swiss tourists click here
Reddit thread: WTF is wrong with Kaikoura…?