A man has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after an attack on an occupied campervan in Golden Bay.
Police say a man smashed the vehicle's windscreen and headlights with a machete or slasher and tried to set it on fire as the couple cowered on the floor in fear on Friday.
The campervan was attacked at Pakawau, near Farewell Spit, about 6am on Friday.
The couple from the North Island told police they had been abused a few hours earlier for freedom camping, in which holidaymakers camp outside designated areas.
A 59-year-old man from Christchurch appeared before Judge David McKegg in a special hearing at the Nelson police station on Friday afternoon.
Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Brian McGurk says the man's behaviour was too volatile to take him to the Nelson District Court nearby.
The accused has been remanded in custody to reappear on 21 January when further charges are likely to be laid.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne says it is hard to believe an attack would happen in the Golden Bay area.
Camper trucks with toilet facilities are allowed to freedom camp for two nights in the same location, he says.
Mr Kempthorne says central and local government are currently developing a set of national rules which he says are needed as soon as possible.
The Government says it does not have a timeline for a freedom camping policy to be in place, but work on it is continuing.