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Recent Research – Outdoor Recreation


Are Those Who Camp Richer For It? The physiological and social benefits of the camping experience

Date: March 2011
Authors: Richards. K, Stott.T and Peel. J

This report was commissioned by The Camping and Carvanning Club of the United Kingdom. This research into camping offers a particularly helpful insight into how both children and adults view camping. Interestingly, the condensed report draws on the notion of emotional wealth and positions those who camp as being on the rich list and has a section titled “Meet the Rich Kids” (p.10). 

This easy to read report supports the positive effects of camping and has some lovely quotes and statistics about individual and societal benefits of camping.

The report comes in both a condensed version and a full, white paper report. Please click on links below to download.


green-arrowClick here download 'Real Richness The List' Report (PDF 3.40MB)
green-arrowClick here download 'Real Richness' White Paper (PDF 1.99MB)




Recreational Game Hunting: Motivation, Satisfactions and Participation
Authors: Amelia Woods, Geoffrey N Kerr
Date: June 2010 
Land Environment and People Research Report No.18


This report reviews New Zealand and international literature to identify the main motivations for participating in hunting, to identify the factors that influence hunter satisfaction, and to make an initial assessment of New Zealand participation levels. Section 2 briefly reports the methods employed to analyse the literature. Results are reported in Sections 3]5 and conclusions are drawn in section 6.

green-arrowView or download the full report here



Outdoor Recreation Participation and Incidents in New Zealand
A scoping study relating incidents to participation levels
Author: Dignan & Cessford
Date: Nov 2009
Produced by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council


MSC has recently released a report on “Outdoor Recreation Participation and Incidents in New Zealand.  This report begins to address the gap in our understanding about who is recreating in the outdoors and in which activities.  This information is then compared against known incident rates within a range of outdoor activities.  This scoping study report begins with an informative section on demographic features of participation and the impacts of these features on outdoor recreation participation.   This is followed by five sections which focus upon the participation and incidents within tramping, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and snow sports. There are a number of tables and graphs contained within the report to graphic illustrate key points.   The final section of this reported is devoted to recommendations and conclusions.

green-arrowView or download the full report here - 6MB


Recreational hunters, fishers and divers in North Canterbury: outdoor enthusiasms in social contexts
Author: Gidlow  Bob, Cushman Grant, Espiner Stephen
Date: Mar-2009
Publisher: Lincoln University. Faculty of Environment Society and Design
Series/Report no.: Land Environment and People Research Report ; no. 8


Abstract: This report discusses recent Lincoln University-based research on recreational hunters, fishers and divers and how they negotiate time away from work, and particularly from family responsibilities, to participate in their outdoor ‘enthusiasms’. Self-completed questionnaires were mailed to the membership of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association, North Canterbury Branch, and to a random sample of Fish and Game North Canterbury (full season) licence holders.

The questions included: the age of first involvement in their preferred outdoor recreational activity; identifying those who were responsible for socialising them into that activity; their motivations for involvement; the work and family contexts of decision making about recreational trips away from home; the financial costs associated with pursuit of the activity; attitudes to clubs and club membership; and opinions about the future ‘health’ of their recreational activities. Socio-demographic data were also collected. In the case of both sub-groups – NZDA and Fish & Game – the response rate was higher than would normally be the case for self-completed questionnaires.

The data were coded and cleaned and analysed using SPSS and tests of statistical significance were conducted on some, but not all, of the cross-tabulations. Respondents were overwhelmingly ‘male’ and were introduced to their preferred recreational activity at a very young age, with ‘Father’ being the most important agent of socialisation in the case of both sub-groups. Almost all NZDA respondents and most Fish & Game respondents indicated that their activity involved overnight or longer trips away from home. Inspection of types of recreational activity revealed, however, that almost one-third of duck and game-bird shooters and salmon fishers did not need to take overnight trips away from home to pursue the activity.

Respondents reported that arranging trips in the context of their work and family commitments was ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’, and possible reasons for this response are explored. Motivators for respondents’ involvement in their preferred activity include ‘Being in wild places/natural environments’, ‘Catching/gathering food’ and ‘Spending quality time with friends/mates’. Some differences in the ranking of motivators were found between the two respondent sub-groups. When presented with scenarios which describe how decisions about expenditure on recreation are made, respondents indicated that they had either accumulated the financial resources they needed to pursue their activity, viewed themselves as being at a life-stage where they could afford to be ‘self-indulgent’ or believed that their recreational expenditure was a ‘priority’.

The inconsistency between these and other data in the report are noted. While by definition all NZDA respondents belonged to a club, only 5.4 percent of the Fish & Game respondents did so. Fish & Game members who did not belong to clubs were presented with a list of twelve possible reasons as to why this might be the case. ‘I like to do my own thing’, and ‘I have friends I hunt/fish with’, were the reasons most frequently selected. More than four-fifths of all respondents indicated that the future of their preferred activity was ‘under threat’ in New Zealand, with ‘Loss of habitat’ and ‘Problems of gaining access to suitable sites’ being the most frequently selected explanations.




Exploring Relationships of Trust in 'Adventure' Recreation
Authors: Pip Lynch Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand ;  Paul Jonson ; Mark Dibben a University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and Sport Knowledge Australia
Published in:  Leisure Studies, Volume 26, Issue 1 January 2007 , pages 47 - 64 


A central concept in the notion of leisure, and therefore also of recreation, is freedom. In this article we argue that freedom in organised recreation, especially in activities involving some degree of deliberate risk-taking (i.e. in adventure recreation), is preserved through relationships of trust between recreation organisers and participants. This article seeks to outline the theoretical field of trust and to begin to explore the concept of trust in the context of adventure recreation. A recent criminal conviction in New Zealand has highlighted the issue of trust in recreation and serves as a point of departure for the purposes of exploring conceptualisations of trust and their application to the adventure recreational context. Trust does not appear to have attracted attention in the recreation literature to date, yet it may provide a useful means of negotiating the contested terrain created at the nexus of recreation culture (in particular adventure recreation), recreation management and application of the law. 



Comfort Zone: Model or metaphor?
Mike Brown
The University of Waikato Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 12(1), 3-12, 2008


The comfort zone model is widespread within adventure education literature. It is based on the belief that when placed in a stressful situation people will respond by overcoming their fear and therefore grow as individuals. This model is often presented to participants prior to activities with a highly perceived sense of risk and challenge which arouses strong emotional and physical responses to novel tasks (e.g., ropes courses or rock climbing activities). Students are encouraged to think about stretching themselves’ by moving outside their comfort zone, to expand their preconceived limits and by inference learn (and become better people). This paper explores theories from cognitive and social psychology, based on the work of Piaget and Festinger respectively, that underpin the comfort zone model. The perpetuation of this model which uses risk to promote situations of disequilibrium/dissonance does not find strong support in educational literature. It is therefore suggested that the comfort zone model be reframed as a metaphor, for possible discussion post activity, rather than being used as a model to underpin programming and pedagogy in adventure education settings.




Developing safe hunting practice
A research report by Joe Green, New Zealand Police


The purpose of this report is to identify patterns of behaviour apparent in those incidents that have resulted in the deaths of deer hunters, and make recommendations for strategies that might contribute to safe hunting practices. The project analyses 33 of those tragic events between 1979 and 2002 in which one deer hunter shot and killed another deer hunter.



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