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Funding for camping kaitiaki officers

ENFORCEMENT officers will be out and about again this summer to monitor camping behaviour.

Gisborne District Council has again received funding from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment's Responsible Camping fund this year, of $300,000.

“This is a real vote of confidence in the work we have been doing in this area,” environmental services and protection director Helen Montgomery said.

“We started a new camping engagement initiative over the 2019-20 season, which resulted in much better results than we'd previously had with summer camping, and an excellent experience for our visitors.”

Ms Montgomery said over the peak season from October to April, the council planned to employ two full-time equivalent camping kaitiaki with enforcement powers.

“The staff in these positions will inform and educate visitors about responsible camping in our region and offer manaakitanga (hospitality) to campers. They will also monitor campsites and popular summer spots with a focus on improving campers' behaviour and experiences.”

Some of the funding will be put toward producing a local Camping in Tairawhiti-Gisborne guidebook, which will be distributed through kaitiaki, council and tourism outlets, with all the information campers need on services, and local information.

In 2019-20 more than 3600 campers enjoyed this region, more than double the previous year. That was in part due to the Tuia 250 events, and although it was uncertain whether Covid-19 would affect this season, the council is expecting fewer international travellers, but more domestic visitors.

“We are planning for up to 90 percent of last year's capacity,” Ms Montgomery said.