Te Arawa says they will continue to welcome tourists including freedom campers but want campers to understand cultural values before coming to their region.
Freedom camping has been a concern in Rotorua but Te Arawa iwi representative on the Rotorua Lakes council, Rawiri Waru believes not all freedom campers are bad.
“The problem is that we have tourists from overseas, registering the camper vans, going to camper van areas, leaving rubbish and driving away,” says Waru.
Tourism brings $806.5mil to Rotorua annually. It's one of the region's key sectors and provides jobs. The council is currently looking at avenues to better help visitors.
Waru adds, “Before coming to our region we would like to point out our regulations should you wish to visit geysers, areas or whatever.”
Rotorua Lakes Council is not the only council dealing with issues around freedom camping but knows something has to be done about it. “Because we do have thousands of tourists that come to this place,” says Waru.
According to Rotorua Tourism, on average campers stay for no more than two nights in the town before heading off to their next destination.