Camp on our lawn

Often, great ideas come out of problems. We see something that needs fixing or changing, and we get stuck in and apply our minds to coming up with a new idea.

It may be an invention, a solution or a new way of doing things that makes the world better, smarter and – in some cases – a little more fun.

About eight months ago, Ben de Rijk was browsing TradeMe when he came across  glamping tents.

“They’re really popular at the moment,” says Ben.

“I saw a guy was selling a package of three or four, and I thought how cool it would be to find a plot of land to put them on and rent them out.”

Then the idea came to him – why aren’t campers staying on private land?

“Basically, from there it just developed to what it is,” says Ben.

He floated his idea through social media  (@camponourlawn) to gauge the level of interest.

“Freedom camping problems solved!” was the title of the post. “Our idea fosters a shared economy which I’m certain is the way forward in progressing positively as a nation.

“This is done by land owners welcoming campers to stay on their privately-owned land.

“The regulations around camping are old,” says Ben. “We are still following the Camping Act, written in 1985. If you have two or more groups paying for camping on your lawn then it’s considered a camp ground, and you have to meet lighting, water and parking regulations.

“The problem we have with freedom camping is the limited number of campsites available to backpackers travelling around the country.”

He feels having private land available to camp on would help solve freedom camping issues, and at the same time be beneficial to New Zealand’s tourism industry.

“More sites around the country will give campers greater incentive to stay somewhere legally. It would be affordable, and located in unique places that have been inaccessible to until now.

“Property owners can utilise their bare land and make a little income on the side.

“Camp sites will also be kept clean and tidy, as they are managed by the owner. And the government and local councils can save money by eliminating the need for cleaning and legal control.

“It’s still in concept phase, but it’s looking a lot more promising in terms of getting a website launched, and the response I’ve had from the public has been amazing.

“It’s definitely something that people like. I was amazed at the amount of people who had land and were asking when this would be available.

“I just need to cover a few more things with regulations.”

With low set-up costs, somewhere to park for the night with a toilet and place to wash, very soon our lawns could be dotted with happy campers.

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