Freedom camping and caravan waste

This page provides information on the New Zealand Standard 5465:2001 for self containment of caravan waste. 

New Zealand is a great country to explore by motor home or caravan. However, we ask travellers to think carefully about our unique environment and how you dispose of your waste.

While freedom camping is a popular way to travel around New Zealand, there are specific areas where you can only camp in self-contained vehicles; this is indicated by signage. You can find out more about these restrictions on the Freedom Camping website

Meeting self-containment standards

If you are venturing out on the road into areas where only self-contained vehicles are permitted, you’ll need a 'warrant' sticker on the front of your vehicle and a rear sticker to prove that your vehicle meets the required standards.

Front 'warrant' sticker      

Rear sticker

What does this mean in practice?

To get the required self-containment certification you need to employ a plumber or gasfitter to check or install compliant systems for your toilet, shower, and grey water containment.

The New Zealand Standard 5465:2001 Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans identifies what is needed for your plumber or gasfitter to issue a self-containment certificate, proving that your vehicle has been properly self-contained.

Plumbers and gasfitters are not centrally registered to do this work. It is important that you research your tradesperson before you hire them to check or install your self-containment systems. When you get in contact with them ask them about their previous work and check that they are aware of current practices.

A common misconception is that the Ministry for the Environment is responsible for the certification of these vehicles. This is not true, the Ministry for the Environment is not directly involved in the management of the certification process.

How do I get a certificate?

When your plumber or gasfitter is satisfied that your vehicle meets the requirements for self-containment set in the Standard they will issue you with the required warrant and rear sticker certification.

It is your plumber or gasfitter’s responsibility to prepare the stickers based on a standard set of design requirements. You are not responsible for ordering them separately. It is a good idea to confirm that your plumber or gasfitter is aware of this and has signs ready to go.

Your plumber or gasfitter will issue you with two stickers, one for the front of your vehicle, this is your “warrant” sticker, and a second one for the rear of the vehicle. Make sure they are correctly displayed and then you are ready to start exploring.

What does the certificate actually mean?

When your plumber or gasfitter issues you with a certificate, it represents a guarantee, under the Fair Trading Act 1986, that they have checked your vehicle is compliant.

Can I check that the signs I’ve been issued meet the design standards?

Yes, you should be issued a front and back sticker, this is your certificate. They should meet the design specifications shown above.

What do I do if my plumber or gasfitter has not issued me with a certificate?

In the first instance get in touch with them and ask them to provide the stickers to you retrospectively. Or, if your vehicle does not yet meet the standard, ask them to correct the non-compliance and then issue the certificate.

If you continue to have problems contact Consumer Protection, at 0508 4 CONSUMER.