‘Piles of poo’ com­plaints ex­ces­sive

Taranaki Daily News - - News - PIPPA BROWN

A group of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist beach users say talk of free­dom campers us­ing the area along a coastal Kaiko¯ ura road as a ‘‘toi­let’’ have been greatly ex­ag­ger­ated.

Res­i­dents have be­come di­vided over whether free­dom campers should be us­ing pop­u­lar free­dom camp­ing spot Kiwa Rd in Ha­puku, north of Kaiko¯ura, which is renowned for its surf breaks.

Cezanne and David Lyons who moved in to their house over look­ing the beach in Oc­to­ber run the Kiwi Surf Ex­pe­ri­ence and the Kaiko¯ ura Surf Groms youth pro­gramme from their home.

The cou­ple made an of­fi­cial com­plaint to Kaiko¯ura District Coun­cil and com­plained of ‘‘piles of poo’’, naked­ness, and used toi­let pa­per scat­tered on the ground. The area at the front of their prop­erty on Kiwa Rd was a health hazard and should be a ‘‘no camp­ing’’ zone, they said.

How­ever, other res­i­dents saw it dif­fer­ently.

Juanita Edel­mann, who owns Seaward Pot­tery & Ac­com­mo­da­tion, said the stretch of beach had been an es­tab­lished camp­ing ground since 1974, and campers weren’t a prob­lem and should stay.

Oth­ers said the is­sue has been blown out of pro­por­tion.

One group of free­dom campers, all keen surfers and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, lived in self­con­tained camper­vans and worked in Kaiko¯ ura.

Many lived there be­cause the rents in town had be­come too ex­pen­sive as work­ers on the 2016 post-quake road and rail re­build snapped up ac­com­mo­da­tion and pushed rents up.

Con­nor Stapley had to va­cate his rental ac­com­mo­da­tion in town for the sum­mer when tourists com­peted for ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Stapley said the group all lived by the ‘‘leave no trace’’ phi­los­o­phy.

Marcela Acosta said she was in Kaiko¯ura to make a dif­fer­ence en­vi­ron­men­tally.

‘‘I choose to live here be­cause of na­ture and I surf ev­ery day. It gives me some­thing and I give some­thing back.’’

Ge­or­gia Phelps felt the is­sue had been ‘‘over ex­ag­ger­ated’’ and ‘‘blown out of pro­por­tion’’, to get rid of free­dom campers.

‘‘I’ve been here for two months now and I’ve never seen any ex­cre­ment. I’ve never seen any poo around the long-drop,’’ she said.

Phelps thought the naked­ness had been mis­con­strued with peo­ple get­ting changed out of their wet suits af­ter surf­ing be­fore head­ing back home.

‘‘It’s not peo­ple walk­ing around with no clothes on, it is peo­ple get­ting changed to go for a surf, who are lo­cals as well,’’ she said.

Phelps said it has been very busy dur­ing Christ­mas and New Year when the camp­sites, 15 min­utes fur­ther south in town, were booked out.

‘‘It’s an amaz­ing spot and it’s free, so of course peo­ple will come and use it.’’

Phelps said more toi­lets would be ben­e­fi­cial.

‘‘A lot of us choose to live out here be­cause we want to live by the beach to surf. Theres a mas­sive de­bate at the mo­ment about free­dom camp­ing, and I feel quite pas­sion­ate about it.’’


Surfers and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, from left, Kon­stantin Kleimann, Marcela Acosta, Con­nor Stapley and Ge­or­gia Phelps work in Kaiko¯ ura and reg­u­larly help cleanup the Kiwa Rd beach they call home.

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