As the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown continues into its second week, Rotorua's camping hot spots have been deserted.

Rotorua Lakes Council sport, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley said monitoring of the site had shown "generally good compliance".

"Very few campers have been encountered as most appear to have either moved out of the district, to holiday parks or to have taken up the temporary accommodation services."

All facilities at council camping sites had been closed and monitoring by security contractors had shown the sites were not being used, he said.


Freedom campers were given information about how they could undergo the necessary self-isolation before the national lockdown and this was done in conjunction with the agencies responsible.

The usually bustling freedom camping spot near Polynesian Spa is deserted. Photo / Stephen Parker
The usually bustling freedom camping spot near Polynesian Spa is deserted. Photo / Stephen Parker

Since then, the few campers encountered had also been given that information, he said.

"It appears that they have taken the advice given to them and used the other services available."

A police spokesman said the focus was on "prevention through education and encouragement".

Police were using a "standard practice" to speak with freedom campers and educate them on the lockdown restrictions and encourage compliance.

"Self-contained campervans can be used for self-isolating at alert level 4. People in campervans cannot travel across the country during the self-isolation period."

Anybody staying in a campervan during the self-isolation period should be aware of other health risks they may face like access to water and disposing of waste, the spokesman said.

Watch Dog security director Brett Wilson said staff had done some work in the first half of the week, providing information and advising campers of the rules.


There had been "a few tourists waiting around for planes out" but most had complied with advice from staff and the regular spots were now mostly empty. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Freedom Camping New Zealand Facebook group administrator Jamarl Thomson said some people jumped to conclusions about people's specific circumstances and freedom campers were sometimes unfairly judged.

He had observed this online on public posts in the group and understood some people had experienced it while out and about.

Freedom campers in Taupō. Photo / File
Freedom campers in Taupō. Photo / File

At the beginning of the lockdown, there had been a lot of confusion and concern among freedom campers about what the rules were, but this had since settled down, he said.

"Generally, everyone wants to comply. Everyone wants to be safe."

According to its website, the Temporary Accommodation Service - run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - was working with other government agencies to assist in providing temporary accommodation to those required to self-isolate who were unable to do so in their own homes.

It also applied to travellers visiting New Zealand, including those who did not have suitable self-isolation accommodation arranged.