Getting Self Contained in New Zealand

What is a self-contained vehicle?

A self-contained vehicle is designed to completely meet the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants (including water for drinking and cooking) for a minimum of three days without requiring any external services or discharging any waste.

The creation of the Standard was spearheaded by the NZMCA (New Zealand Motorhome and Caravan Association) to provide a solution to the increasing problems associated with the use of motorhomes and the disposal of waste while freedom camping. The NZMCA encourages all motor home and caravan owners to make their vehicles self-contained, and help protect the environment and public health from waste disposal.

The Standard requires sanitary and safe installation of the following:

  • Fresh Water Supply: 4L per person per day (minimum 12L per person)
  • A fitted sink via a smell trap connected to a sealed grey waste water tank so no water can spill on the ground.
  • Toilet: 1L per person per day (minimum 3L net holding tank capacity per person)
  • Holding tank: 4L per person per day (minimum 12L per person) and monitored if capacity is less than the fresh water tank
  • A dump hose (3 m for fitted tanks) or long enough to connect to a sealed portable tank.
  • A rubbish bin with lid

The motorhome or caravan shall be equipped with a toilet that is adequately restrained or secured when travelling.  The toilet shall be readily usable within the motorhome including sufficient head and elbow room at all times, even with the bed made up.