A Northland campground has been smoke-free for eight years without a murmur of complaint from guests wanting to light up.

Earlier this week Russell's Top 10 Holiday Park announced it would ban smoking from May 31, making it the first in the Top 10 group and possibly the first commercial campground in the country to go entirely smoke-free.

Some community-run camping grounds have, however, been smoke-free for years, such as the campground on Aroha Island, a nature reserve in Kerikeri Inlet.

Aroha's smoking ban goes back to at least 2008.


One of the trustees at the time, Rolf Mueller-Glodde, said there were many reasons behind the ban, including the health effects of smoking, insurance, and a ban on lighting fires in the island's QE2 reserve.

One of the biggest factors was the fire risk on a small island that had a lot of dry manuka and was a long way from the nearest fire station. A blaze would wipe out years of replanting work along with the island's kiwi population.

Some trustees were concerned that visitors could be discouraged by a smoking ban, so it was agreed that anyone who really needed a puff could do so while standing in the water at least 10 metres away from the island.

Mr Mueller-Glodde was not aware of any guests resorting to standing in the inlet for a smoke.

Aroha Island Charitable Trust chairwoman Yvonne Sharp said the island's smoking ban was a "non-issue" for guests.

She suspected the kind of people who wanted to stay at Aroha to enjoy the setting and the native flora and fauna, especially the resident kiwi, took the campground's smoke-free status as a given.

"People accept Aroha for what it is, a special place with a strong ecological focus," she said.