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Can the travelling camper save NZ's small rural communities?

Gary Stoneley

As far back as the 1970's, perhaps earlier, many rural communities in NZ started to decline as families and workers headed to larger towns and cities for the opportunity for a better life. In some cases the pace and pressure of urban life was too much and a few returned. 


Nowadays many rural communities are but a skeleton of their former self while at the same time hundreds of thousands of urban dwellers get in their campervan, hook on their caravan or pack their tent and head for the wide open spaces. 


Smaller rural communities should be welcoming these thousands of travellers with open arms. If these communities create opportunities for travellers, including families, to camp or stay, spend money, get back to basics, learn and participate in the community, then both the small communities and the travellers will benefit. It's not a difficult thing to do. 


As I travel the country and go through small towns I see so many opportunities. Waiau in the South Island is a great opportunity —playgrounds, shops, and the new tavern with lots of overnight space for the travelling camper. It's definitely worth a stop; and why not stay a night or longer? 


I think NZ travelling campers can help to save these smaller communities. What do you think? 


Join me at Camp Fest at Bulls 2023 and let's share ideas. 

ckw.nz/camp-fest




Photos Tuatapere ©2023 Heather Auckram


If these communities create opportunities for travellers, to camp or stay...

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