Emma Dangerfield 12:44, Jan 10 2019
The plight of the banded dotterel
It's as vulnerable as the great spotted kiwi, but gets nowhere near the same attention.
The Kaikōura District Council has been criticised for establishing a freedom camping area at a significant breeding site for an endangered bird species.
Ailsa Howard, who has been monitoring the banded dotterel (pohowhera) at South Bay for four years, said the council's "lack of action" on freedom camping was putting the nationally vulnerable birds at risk.
The council set up a working group last year after the number of freedom campers on Kiwa Rd, near popular surf spot Mangamaunu, increased dramatically. The council has encouraged people not to camp there this summer so the area can recover from the environmental degradation caused by heavy use last summer.
The entrance sign alerts campers to the dotterels, but many are still unaware, researcher Ailsa Howard says.
The working group considered 50 alternative sites, but ultimately recommended the South Bay site – along with a smaller campsite on Scarborough St and a third south of Kekerengu – all of which were advertised on the council's website as "responsible freedom camping" spots available from December.