Right at the entrance to the pathway into where you walk for 5 minutes to see the biggest kauri tree in the Waipoua forest, known as Tane Mahuta or 'Lord of the Forest' is a prominent bright yellow sign reminding you to lock your car and take care of the valuables.
It is sadly a known fact of the last few years that the Northland area of NZ is probably one of the worst, if not the worst, areas to have been affected by the economic downturn - unemployment is very high here, businesses closed, even the public transport was taken away.
There is a real sense of community up this way around the Hokianga and along with the quiet and calm atmosphere and beautiful being close to nature feel I can imagine it would be easy to be lulled into a false sense of security.
I stayed around the Hokianga around twice for week each during January 2013 and did a couple of occasions come back to the car to find I had not locked it properly...but I did later get told by a local that due to the high unemployment and shortage of money around some places such as Waimamaku beach are just a no no to leave anything of valuable in the car - so particularly dont leave any temptation in view or you might come back and find you have a smashed window.....
take note of any signs they will be there for sure for a good reason!
There are signs posted at the car parks in this area warning people not to leave valuables in their car... (Petty theft is aparently common in this area...)
They have now installed guards at the main car parks where they ask for a $2.00NZD donation...