Before you head off on your travels, we ask you to take the Tiaki Promise.
To care for Aotearoa New Zealand and Taitokerau Northland, for now and for future generations.
Care for our land, our forests, and our precious landmarks. Respect our oceans, their power and their ecosystems. Protect our natural beauty and the life that inhabits our natural spaces. Travel lightly and where you can, give back more than you take. Travel safely on our roads, and act responsibly as you explore our natural playgrounds. And lastly, respect our local customs, our culture, and our people, both those who came before and those who will come after.
How to care for Aotearoa New Zealand and Taitokerau Northland:
Exploring Aotearoa New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes by car, campervan or motorhome is a popular way to get around. Even if you’re used to driving in other places, you need to be aware of things like weather extremes, narrow, windy roads and different road rules before you begin on your journey.
In Taitokerau Northland, be prepared to find stock on the road especially in rural areas. One-way bridges are common, and signs will show which direction has right of way. Much of the Taitokerau Northland region has unsealed roads, and some of the best spots lie hidden at the end of these. If you are driving a rental car, check your insurance still applies on gravel roads. Keep an eye on your fuel gauge as distances between service stations can be long. Lastly, be courteous and pull over to allow traffic behind you to pass, especially if you are unfamiliar with driving our narrow and windy country roads.
Aotearoa New Zealand and Taitokerau Northland are full of stunning landscapes, natural playgrounds and awe-inspiring wonders, but exploring these takes preparation.
If you are exploring outdoors or off-shore ensure someone knows where you are going and when you’ll return. If you require emergency assistance, dial 111. Cellphone coverage in parts of Taitokerau Northland can also be patchy so a personal locator beacon can be a good idea if you are heading to rural or remote areas. Check the weather forecast before you go, and in the summer months, be sure to take enough water.
The coastline of Taitokerau invites water activities, but also hides dangers, so swim between the flags if possible, or with a buddy. Keep an eye out for rips or strong currents and keep your tsunami evacuation route in the back of your mind.
Manaakitanga (hospitality) and generosity are part of the culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. Ensure you return the favour by traveling with an open heart and mind and respecting the customs, culture and people that call Taitokerau Northland home.
You’ll see marae (Māori meeting grounds) as you travel around, often ornately carved and intriguing. Observing from outside the grounds is perfectly fine, but entry to the marae is only by invitation, usually accompanied by a traditional welcoming ceremony. Many of the popular sites around the region are also culturally significant or sacred, such as Te Rerenga Wairua Cape Reinga so respect tikanga (protocols) such as not eating or drinking at these locations.
You should also respect the land and environment by travelling lightly, obeying freedom camping rules and ensuring you check in with local landowners before crossing private land. You may occasionally find rāhui in place, restrictions on access to or of a certain resource, usually temporary but important to respect.
Nature and wildlife in Aotearoa New Zealand developed in isolation over many millennia. Many of our native plants and animals are endemic, such as the tuatara, kiwi, and kōkako, and our only native mammals are bats and marine mammals. When humans arrived on our shores, so did the introduction of pests and introduced mammals. Now, many of our native species are threatened. You can help protect nature by doing the following:
- Obey rules that prohibit dogs, especially in protected kiwi areas.
- Tread carefully around bird nesting areas, especially on beaches
- Drive carefully, especially at night where kiwi or pateke (brown teal ducks) are common
- Clean your shoes when entering and exiting kauri forests to prevent the spread of Kauri Dieback Disease
- Choose tourism operators who support conservation projects.
Keep Aotearoa New Zealand clean
Part of the allure of traveling through Aotearoa New Zealand and Taitokerau Northland are our untouched landscapes, our pristine beaches, and our natural playgrounds. Ensure you leave the places you travel in the same or better condition than how you found them.
Use waste and recycling bins where provided or take your litter and waste with you, including food scraps and natural waste. If you see litter, pick it up and dispose of it, even if it’s not yours.
Use public toilets where available and be aware there may be long gaps between bathrooms, especially on our country roads. Be prepared to pack out your personal waste if heading into remote natural areas.
Reduce your waste by carrying reusable water bottles, shopping bags, and coffee cups. Most tap water is safe to drink unless noted otherwise and finding places to refill is easy in most towns and cities.