Popular Pastime. Temporary camping holidays by private car first became popular during the 1920s. Many farmers also offered camping on their land, usually for a fee, and campers were also welcome to pitch their tents for free in public places.
Government Support. In 1937 Bill Parry, the then Minister of Internal Affairs, a noted outdoors enthusiast, introduced the Physical Welfare and Recreation Act, which authorised local authorities to finance their communities’ recreational needs, resulting in more, and larger municipal campgrounds.
Annual Holidays. The 1944 Holidays Act granted all workers two weeks of annual leave, ensuring that almost everyone could afford an annual holiday. Today most have up to four weeks with other long weekends and school holidays.
Advancement. Later, in the fifties, sixties and seventies, rental cabins with powered spaces for caravans and self-propelled campervans were introduced. In recent years self-contained motorhomes have been increasing in the tens of thousands, the owners and tourists all looking to stop and rest or stay overnight.
Enjoy The Stop
Existing Rest Areas. On those long drives in the country, we all get a little tired, and if we are observant, we may notice a ‘Rest Area’ sign on the side of the road. However, most of the more than 500 existing rest areas rarely have any human enhancements such as picnic tables, and even fewer have toilets.
Lack Of Essential Facilities. Poor and thoughtless management by local authorities have resulted in overflowing rubbish bins, unkempt grass, nowhere to sit and enjoy the countryside and its fresh air and shameful lack of in most locations of toilet facilities,
Not So For Whakata. Enjoy the hospitality, relish, the kai: Oysters, mussel fritters, seafood chowder, bacon and egg sandwiches and yes, the 1950s favourite pie-cart specials pea, pie and spud or steak, eggs and chips.
Whakata. ‘Relax And Enjoy’ the scenery, and take advantage of the hospitality. Stay overnight and have a good sleep. Awake to the sounds of the birds. Drive to your next destination.
Meet The Need
Ageing Population. When you have to go, you have to go. Especially those unfortunates that have a bowel or bladder problem. If they are disabled and require wheelchair access, it makes no difference whether you travel in a car or a camper van.
Inconvenient Alternatives. Yes, you can visit a service station. Or stop at Mc Donalds. (Sorry, too hard to get to). Also, these locations are not scenic rest relax and enjoy convenient facilities.
Let’s Fix It. And yes, local economies benefit from the public dollar. Local businesses sell food, and food has to go somewhere, making logical sense for a slight increase in the food suppliers council rates to cover the cost of public rest area toilet facilities.
Provide The Facilities. The lack of public facilities, particularly at the tourist stop off rest areas for the travelling public whether in a bus, car or a campervan, is a public disgrace and embarrassment, particularly for the Government and local Councils very profitable tourist industry.
Public Survey. In 2005, DOC undertook a nationwide survey to identify all public conservation locations that would, if developed, make significant rest stops with public conveniences and camping areas. This survey identified 30 potential public conservation sites in the North and Central areas of the North Island.
Zero Action. Not one off-road potential rest and camping DOC site in attractive natural settings has been analysed and established. There has been controversy over who should provide such facilities, to the point that by law, a campervan requires a plumbed toilet. This has to be a sick joke?
Business Option. Such a leadership vacuum suggests that the real opportunities for rest and camping areas exist not in an urban environment but located directly off or beside the main roads in a rural setting to include privately owned Maori Freehold and Rural zoned farmland.
Job Creation. Developing the much-needed rural rest areas with public conveniences and overnight camping provides substantial business revenue and much-needed rural employment in the establishment, maintenance and ongoing management.
Provide The Solutions
Drastic Shortage. Most of the original motor camps have been sold for up-market redevelopment. The population has tripled, and hundreds of rest areas need to be immediately zoned and established.
Standover Tactics. Maori Freehold land, Rural farmland and DOC land (not zoned as urban) total 99.5% of New Zealand’s beautiful countryside. Yet, virtually all decisions about the zoning and the development of our beautiful rural countryside have historically been made by those living in an urban environment.
Stand Up. It’s time to solve the shortage of public facilities and let’s establish hundreds of privately owned Whakata rest areas. Enjoy our beautiful country. Stay overnight and enjoy a meal.
Enjoy. Wake to the sounds of the birds and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and after a good breakfast with the money saved still in your pocket, drive on rested, refreshed, replenished, and safe to your next destination.