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New Zealand Travel Tips & Questions

How do I get my camper certified as self-contained?

As self-contained campers have more freedom to use wild camping spots and mega-cheap camp-sites it makes financial sense to get your camper certified. Additionally they make for a far comfier camping experience.

In order to be officially classed as a self-contained vehicle under the Self-Containment Standard – NZS 5465:2001 your camper must have the following:

  • It must have a fixed toilet with a system which contains any septic waste with a 1 litre per person per day minimum capacity. (before June 2023 portable toilets were allowed and campervans certified before this date can still be used until June 2025 or when the certificate expires if before this date)
  • It must incorporate fresh water tanks with sufficient capacity to hold 4 litres per person per day with a minimum of 3 days’ supply stored.·       
  • It must have a sink which drains into a sealed tank for containing grey waste which ideally will match the fresh water capacity per person.
  • It must incorporate an evacuation hose. This should have a minimum 3 metre length for fitted tanks or whatever length is necessary for connection to a portable tank.
  • It must contain a rubbish bin with a lid.

If you need to add any of these features to your campervan the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) recommends using any registered plumberAll Points Camping or Vanco

Once you are sure your camper fulfils all the self-containment requirements you can arrange to have it inspected. While many plumbers, gas-fitters and drain-layers have the necessary authority and registration to carry out inspections - All Points Camping and NZMCA are two of the main bodies used by many. If you are in Auckland then get in touch with Mike Bahmani on 021 280 6006 who can issue a self containment certificate for you. 

Once your camper has been deemed self-contained you can apply for a certificate. Fees are payable for both the inspection and the certificate which vary from individual to individual. At the date of writing All Points Camping charge NZ$30 (NZ $10 for members) for certificates and variable inspection fees while NZMCA charges a combined inspection/certificate fee of NZ$55 (NZ$30 for members). Self containment certification is valid for 4 years unless vehicle modifications are made in which case a further inspection is required.

Certificated vehicles must display a windscreen card displayed so its status can be easily identified by Department of Conservation rangers or local council personnel. You will also be given a blue sticker to attach to the outside of your camper.