He Kupu Whakataki / Introduction

Nohoanga provides all Ngāi Tahu with an opportunity to experience the landscape as their tipuna did, and to rekindle the traditional practices of gathering food and other natural resources.

The term ‘nohoanga’ (literally meaning a place to sit) traditionally refers to the seasonal occupation sites which were an integral part of the mobile lifestyle of Ngāi Tahu Whānui as they moved around Te Waipounamu (the South Island) in pursuit of food and other natural resources.

This traditional concept has been given contemporary effect as a result of the Settlement of the Ngāi Tahu Claim through the allocation of specific ‘camping’ sites to support mahinga kai activities.

Under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998, nohoanga sites are specific areas of Crown owned land adjacent to lakeshores or riverbanks, which can be used to facilitate the gathering of food and other natural resources by Ngāi Tahu Whānui. They are usually one hectare in size.

Ngāi Tahu Whānui (tribal members) have temporary, but exclusive rights to occupy these sites for up to 210 days a year between the middle of August and the end of April each year.

There are 72 allocated nohoanga sites within Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island). Not all of these sites are available for use. Please contact 0800 NOHOANGA (0800 664-62642) or [email protected] for more information.

Mahere Nohoanga / Location of nohoanga sites in Te Wai Pounamu

Information Sheets

The following information sheets are being updated for the 2018/19 season.
Please read these sheets in conjunction with our hazard information page.

Management Plan Master

Download the 2018 Nohoanga Management Plan Master.

General Information

Under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 nohoanga:

  • are entitlements to occupy temporarily and exclusively an area of land bordering lakes or rivers for the purpose of lawful fishing and the gathering of other natural resources.
  • may be used for up to 210 days a year between mid-August and the end of April
  • are approximately one hectare in size
  • are set back from marginal strips and will be sited so as not to interfere with existing public access or use
  • are subject to all legislation, bylaws and regulations, and land and water management practices such as weed, pest and river control
  • are issued on a ten year basis and will be automatically renewed, provided that users leave the sites in a good and tidy condition after use

If the Crown alienates land on which there is a nohoanga, or the area becomes unusable – for example due to a river changing course – the Crown will take reasonable steps to provide a replacement site.

Nohoanga provide all Ngāi Tahu with an opportunity to experience the landscape as their tipuna did, and to rekindle the traditional practices of gathering food and other natural resources, so long an essential part of Ngāi Tahu culture.

Authorisation to use nohoanga

Nohoanga are for the exclusive use of Ngāi Tahu Whānui.  For fairness and environmental reasons, the use of nohoanga sites is by authorisation only, and administered by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu,  see below for procedure for authorisation.

Nohoanga users will be required to post a return back to Te Rūnanga following their departure from the site recording any problems or issues experienced during their visit.

Failure to post a return or use of the site in an inappropriate manner may disqualify a person from future use of nohoanga sites.

  • Only members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui (tribal members) who are 18 years of age or over and who have enrolled with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu can apply for an authorisation. (To check your enrolment status, phone the Ngāi Tahu Whakapapa Unit on 0800 KAITAHU or email [email protected])
  • A maximum of 30 people per night are permitted on any nohoanga site at any one time.
  • Each authorisation covers up to 6 persons per night (if more than 6 people want to use a nohoanga, additional authorisations are required)
  • Authorisations can be issued for no more than one month at a time (this may also be limited further during busy periods such as the Christmas – New Year period)
  • Exceptions to the above will be considered by Te Rūnanga on a case by case basis.
  • Members of the public have normal access to, and use of, any river or lake, even if this means passing through a nohoanga site to do so.
  • Nohoanga authorisations do not give holders any special rights to take resources from the area.  Sports fishers still require a fishing licence and other fishers may require a customary fishing authorisation.

Procedure for Authorisation to use nohoanga

  • Contact a member of the Puna Mahara team on 0800 NOHOANGA (0800 664-62642) or email [email protected] and apply for an authorisation at least TEN working days before you wish to use a nohoanga site;
  • Provide basic details (name, address, contact numbers, vehicle registration number, and number of people you wish to take).
    NB – random checks will be done to ensure both that those applying for the authorisation are entitled to do so and that any past use has been consistent with the conditions of the authorisation.
  • If the site is available you will be sent an authorisation (by post, fax or e-mail) before you leave for the nohoanga site; then
  • Return the authorisation back to us within TEN days (signed and with the relevant sections completed) following your departure from the nohoanga site.

Information for Nohoanga Users


In some cases, toilet facilities are available on site.  Please note that nohoanga users do not have an automatic right to use nearby toilet facilities.  Ngāi Tahu Whānui will only be able to have continued use of facilities if each person uses them in a responsible manner and is considerate of other people who are using those facilities.

On sites where toilets are not available, portable toilets will need to be taken to these sites by the holder of the authorisation, and emptied at approved dumping stations after use.  These are not expensive to hire and can usually be hired en-route to the nohoanga site.

Wastewater Disposal (non-toilet water)

Wastewater includes water used for cooking, washing, and dishes.  Where possible, people are urged to keep the quantity of wastewater they use to an absolute minimum and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly manner.  As a general practice:

  • Separate out the solids from wastewater (eg vegetable scraps) and dispose of these solids with your other rubbish;
  • Do not dispose of wastewater directly into or near a river or lake;
  • Take wastewater as far away from the waterway and other people as practically possible; and
  • Discharge wastewater into the ground, to allow filtration.

Rubbish Disposal

It is important to leave nohoanga sites in the best possible condition for other Ngāi Tahu users. As a guide:

  • Sites need to be kept rubbish-free at all times;
  • Nohoanga sites should be left in the same condition as they are found;
  • Users must take their rubbish with them and dispose of this in a refuse station; or
  • In some cases, rubbish disposal facilities are available on or nearby the nohoanga site

See the relevant site information sheet for details of refuse stations or rubbish disposal facilities provided.  Please note that for other sites, nohoanga users do not have an automatic right to use rubbish disposal facilities.

Camping Shelters (tents, caravans etc)

Nohoanga site users will need to organise their own camping shelters (tents, caravans, bivouacs, or campervans).  For some sites, physical characteristics may limit options (eg poor caravan access), so please check the relevant site information sheets for details.  Buildings, structures or tents over 30 square metres in size cannot be erected on nohoanga sites.

Water Supply

It is strongly recommended that nohoanga site users provide their own water supplies where this is not available on site (see the relevant site information sheet for details).

If nohoanga site users are drinking from rivers or lakes, we recommend that either of the following precautions be taken:

  • Boil water for at least three minutes; or
  • Add the appropriate amount of an iodine solution or chlorine bleach (available at a pharmacy); or
  • Filter using a giardia-rated filter, available from outdoor shops

Fires and Cooking

Nohoanga site users must comply with fire restrictions relevant to the area, details of which can be found in the relevant site information sheet.  Fire permits are required for most sites. For cooking, safe methods such as gas fires or cookers are recommended.

Vehicle Access and Parking

Most sites have two wheel drive vehicle access onto or at least within close vicinity to the site.  Some nohoanga sites, however, only have foot access. Where possible, nohoanga site users should park their vehicles on the nohoanga site.  Otherwise people should ensure that vehicles are parked in a safe place and do not inconvenience other people.  Please refer to the relevant site information sheet for details.

Pets, Animals and Stock

Pets are not permitted on some nohoanga sites and special conditions may apply to other sites.  For details, please refer to the relevant site information sheet.  On sites where pets are permitted, owners need to ensure that:

  • Pets are not a nuisance to people or worry stock, poultry, other domestic animals or pose a threat to wildlife in the area;
  • Dogs must be kept under control at all times and if necessary kept on a leash and / or be muzzled;
  • Dogs have a current hydatids certificate and this is brought to the nohoanga site; and
  • The nohoanga site is left clean and free from any evidence of pets.

Site users should take care not to disturb stock.  Leave gates as you find them.  If in doubt shut the gate to stop stock wandering.