Safety Tips in New Zealand

  • Warnings and Dangers
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    Loo with a view
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    please take note of the signs!
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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in New Zealand

  • StuartHearn's Profile Photo

    another tourist attack

    by StuartHearn Written Jun 5, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tourist attacks 'tarnish' Northland's reputation
    Sorce NZ Hearald newspaaper

    Yet another attack on tourists holidaying in Northland has tarnished the reputation of the area and those who live there, an MP says.

    Three French tourists were attacked. Police said three male Maori, aged between 20 and 30 years, were responsible for the aggravated robbery inside a campervan just south of Mangamuka village on Friday.

    The tourists, all in their late 20s, heard someone knock on the window of their campervan and demand money.

    "After the demands were met, the man then broke into the campervan through the entrance door and was followed by a second male," police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said.

    Two of the tourists were assaulted before they were robbed of property.

    The robbers left in a dark red or brown vehicle, described as an old square-shaped car.

    Police say a third man, believed to be the getaway driver, was also involved in the robbery. The attack lasted between 10 and 15 minutes. One of the tourists suffered facial injuries and required medical treatment.

    Police did not reveal the items stolen, where the tourists were heading or how long they planned to stay in Northland. Kaitaia police were working on the case.

    Northland-based Labour MP Shane Jones described those responsible as "bandits" and has called on residents in Hokianga and the Mangamukas to dob them in. "It's disheartening but what's more perturbing is undoubtedly that these two villains are known to members of the Northland community.

    "Someone will know them and whoever you are, dob them in."

    Mr Jones said those who preyed on tourists tarnished the goodwill and reputation of Northland and the sooner they were caught and brought to justice, the safer everyone would feel.

    The incident followed a similar attack on a German tourist in Paihia in December. He was robbed of a camera and toiletries. He suffered a fractured jaw and needed surgery at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

    Prior to that, three Chinese tourists were threatened with knives and robbed of cash and possessions on Te Paki Rd, a metal road near the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach.

    * Anyone with information on the latest robbery can contact Kaitaia police on 0274 969 971, (09) 408 6500 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
    Police have made arrests
    Be careful in NZ it is far from safe, I lived there most of my life, and I do know this

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  • danger on boats

    by clarkys1 Written Feb 1, 2010

    hole in the rock, out on front of xplorenz ,boat skipper should have closed that area as it got so rough i was thrown in the air and have smashed my foot resulting in being so badly injured i may not walk again

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  • fishandchips's Profile Photo

    Be careful of the Date!

    by fishandchips Updated Nov 27, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In New Zealand the date is written day/month/year. This can be confusing for many people, especially those from North America, who do their dates month/day/year.

    It may seem of no consequence however may make a big difference when booking a hotel room - for example 6/7 in New Zealand (and most British colonies) is read as 6 July. An example is 9/11 which is a date to celebrate given it's the day the Berlin Wall came down as opposed to 11/9 which is a very sad day in history (given the time difference it was actually 12/9 for NZ).

    You shouldn't have many problems as most places record the month by name rather than number however make sure you confirm if it isn't. An assumption could create problems!!

    Having said all of this some of our Newspapers have started using the american version just to make things interesting!! This means that you need to be extra careful.

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  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    ACE Rental cars, near Auckland Airport

    by Kate-Me Updated Nov 20, 2009

    We had used this company in the past without problem (a few years ago) but found this time that the standard of their cars and their condition had really deteriorated.

    First when we arrived, while backing out the car my husband realized that the side mirror was broken and couldn't be adjusted....and secondly the steering wheel had been slashed, and wasn't really turnable, both things making the car unroadworthy.
    We requested another car, and waited about 15 minutes, as there was another couple who had arrived to collect THEIR hire car, and were complaining bitterly about problems with it, so they also needed a replacement car.
    The 2nd car we got in was a hatchback....with the plastic hatch cover missing, so all our luggage would be visible....the girl ran off to see if she could find a cover which would fit, tried two, but neither were for that went in search of a 3rd car.
    The other couple having problems were also on their 3rd car....we were actually told that if they rejected the 3rd car offered to them, we could take it (seemed it was one of the few they had left in that 'small sedan' category.

    So finally we ended up with a roadworthy car, but when it came time to do the inspection, they were so busy with the other couple as well (who were disgruntled but departed with a car) that they spent only a few seconds looking our car over....something which would come back to haunt us at the end of the trip when we returned the car in Wellington at the end of the holiday.

    A few hours later, we noticed a major stone chip on the left of the windshield, but didn't know that it hadn't been marked on the 'defects map'. It couldn't have happened while we were parked and it didn't happen while we were driving, a fact we explained to the company several times after we returned the car and they charged an extra $65 to our credit card for the chip. They refuse to acknowledge that the chip wasn't there, and it doesn't appear on previous 'defect maps' of the car (showing that they'd been lazy with previous checks).

    2 weeks on, emails back and forth....we won't get any satisfaction so just a warning to others - for about $40 per day, our car was of a much lesser standard than we've ever hired in NZ before (we always hire cars of this hatch/small sedan ranking). And customer service....what customer service?
    In hindsight we should have demanded an entire refund, got a taxi to the city, and begun our search for car hire all over again....

    I should note that before the holidays when we were dealing with them via email, there were no problems.

    The email address below is the Rental Vehicle Association of New Zealand, the suggested place to lodge disputes in the unlucky event that you have issues with your car hire company that can't be resolved.

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  • Riding a bicycle (push-bike) in NZ

    by Bonux Written Jul 21, 2009

    My first advice is to avoid riding in the cities (especially Auckland and Christchurch) if you get easily scared on a bike. Cyclists are numerous in Auckland but unfortunately we have a bad reputation. I do believe some cyclists replicate their poor driving habits from car to bicycle. Kiwis have a strong car culture. From the 50 y.o. executive and his wife down to the 16 y.o. boyracers, almost every Kiwi is obsessed with big cars. The driving age is very early in New Zealand, so do not take the maturity of the drivers for granted. Since most cars on the road are second-hand imports from Japan, they are very affordable. Insurance is not compulsary either. Overall, it means that a 16 y.o. driver without proper experience and insurance can drive a 350 BHP turbocharged sportscar (...) It is one of the political issues that New Zealand governments have refused to sort out across many years. My point is that few people are aware or even appreciate the presence of two-wheels in the big cities and the cars are usually considered as entertainment more than modal transport. Consequently, the behaviours on the road are often risky and dangerous. I was cut off many times even from cars coming out of their parking's lot driving backward straight into the main road without bothering to watch what might be coming their way. It resulted once in 3 days at the hospital, stitches, leg infections, two years at the physio, one wrecked shoulder that will restrain me forever from doing what I want (goodbye windsurfing and other activities) and one wrecked bicycle of course. If you are the victim of an accident, you are very much on your own and chances are you will not get any compensation except from your own insurance, especially if you are a foreigner. So, get a health insurance before traveling. Another issue is the design of the roads, especially in the cities. New Zealand cities are not bicycle friendly, sadly Auckland is no exception to the rule. Cyclists have very few lanes for themselves and they are usually shared with either bus or pedestrians (...). Those lanes are nothing but partial green paint that goes in and out of the road, which at the end makes cyclists more vulnerable as they go in and out of the traffic without riding at the same speed. Potholes and cracks in the asphalt are common due to Auckland being essentially built on volcanic ground. Not much you can do about it but be careful downhill especially when the light is low. However huge water drains (some are up to 20 cm deep), massive sharp curbs, slipery surfaces are everywhere, thanks to the ingenuity of the civil engineers who built the city. If helmets are compulsary by law, it is for a reason. Police cars can actually stop you for not wearing one. A Police officer is more likely to blame you for not wearing your helmet than chasing the guy who just cut you off in front of his very own eyes. This is IMPORTANT!! On the open roads outside the cities, mind the "safety" lane. Safety lanes in New Zealand are often used by slow traffic uphill (trucks) or even to overtake. They are used sometimes when your car breaks down, but many vehicles still drive on those safety lanes at a speed that would send you back to your creator (mother nature). Do not stop on those lanes to change a tyre, fix the chain of your bicycle or rest a little, it is not safe. Always ride on the far left side of the safety lane to avoid being dragged by a vehicle. Fortunately, the traffic is not very dense outside the cities, especially in the South Island. But low traffic often mean higher speed. You would be surprised how fast those trucks go around the corners. So, make yourself very visible (wearing bright colour jackets for instance) as the road are often very windy, you want to be seen before reaching the next corner. Also, do not go too fast downhill if you are not familiar with the road, some curves and corners are doubled and sometimes tripled (so there is effectively one curve with two or three sharpe angles inside). If you are too fast, you will soon realise at your expense that there is a corner inside the corner and chances are you will end up on the wrong side of the road. Usually, the roads are not too bad, there are the occasional melted spot of tarmac in summer, the angle can occasionnally defy gravity (slight slope that will drive you outside the corner), in the hills or mountains, you can find the occasional rocks or mud slides in some isolated places. In winter, some roads are closed but you don't want to go through desert road (North Island) in winter really :-) Mind the one way traffic bridges and tunnels, there are a few of them. If the arrow on the road sign is RED, then you do not have priority, if it is blue or black, go ahead but watch out before you engage (in isolated places people tend to speed up). I hitch-hiked a few times in the South Island, although the traffic comes cloes to nothing, there are always a few foreign tourists and backpackers ready to assist you in case of emergency. The locals are also more friendly and resourceful outside the cities. Be friendly and they will give it you back. The long white cloud is a beautiful country, but on the road you need to know a few rules. One rule has been mentionned before, it is the most stupid of all but you must apply it. When an on-coming vehicle indicates to turn right and cut you off in the process, that vehicle has priority except if you want to ride straight forward. People on their car often misjudge the speed of a bicycle, for that reason always slow down at every intersections. In approach of a "T" junction, any on-coming car will be prompt to cut you off, regardless of your intention to keep riding forward. (when the priority rule does not apply) For the story, that rule was created in Melbourne (Australia) because of the cars and trams that share the same roads overthere. It was judged to be such a failure for safety than it was dropped almost immediately after being implemented. Unfortunately, some of our politics decided it was worth trying and the rule has now applied since then. Last recommendation: avoid taking your young children for a bicycle ride in the city as they are even less visible than you are and there are no safe lanes for them to learn.

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  • StuartHearn's Profile Photo

    assaults in July 09

    by StuartHearn Updated Jul 20, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    this happened this week, I did not report the earlier one this week when an Irish man was robbed of everything once, and assaulted on 2 other occasions
    please stay away, NZ is a dangerous destination
    experience of NZ
    4:00AM Tuesday Jul 21, 2009
    By Rachel Tiffen
    Anthony Cressend (front), Thony Collomb and Emily Holloway are trying to stay positive but are shocked by the attack. Photo / Greg Bowker
    Anthony Cressend (front), Thony Collomb and Emily Holloway are trying to stay positive but are shocked by the attack. Photo / Greg Bowker

    Your Views Is increased violence damaging NZ's image abroad?

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    Anthony Cressend was really looking forward to experiencing New Zealand.

    He boarded the plane in Australia, excited about seeing its sights, trying out his new longboard and maybe even jumping out of a plane.

    But days after hitting Kiwi soil, the Frenchman, 27, was attacked by strangers at a Northland campsite - left battered and bleeding on the ground with a thrice-broken jaw and kicked-in teeth.

    "My teeth were in my mouth and I was ... [demonstrates spitting into hand]," he told the Herald yesterday, wincing.

    Police told him they would not investigate without a Kiwi contact number.

    "As soon as I said that [he did not have a New Zealand cellphone] the [officer] flipped over his book and said 'Well we can't call outside of New Zealand cell zone'," said travel companion Emily Holloway, 24.

    Now Mr Cressend eats soup or processed food and can't open his mouth to brush his teeth.

    "I would like to make lots of sport here, but I can't. I would like to have good souvenirs [memories] of New Zealand but I don't."

    He has metal plates fixed on to both gums - winched together with thick elastic bands - and three pins in his chin. Doctors could not put the plates near the breaks at the top of his jaw - for fear of damaging his ear drums.

    If x-rays show his jaw has not set he will need reconstruction.

    Nerve damage to his face means he may never regain his old smile.

    Two hours before the bashing, Mr Cressend told his Mum how much he liked New Zealand. He has not told her about the attack.

    Mr Cressend, Ms Holloway and another friend, Thony Collomb, 29, arrived at the campsite in darkness. No one warned them not to walk alone, so Mr Cressend went for a wander.

    Metres from the trio's campervan he was set upon from behind by three strangers. Mr Cressend spent the next three days going from hospital to hospital, winding up in the plastic surgery unit at Middlemore. He is on a cocktail of painkillers and antibiotics and has to be very wary of infection.

    Plotting their South Island itinerary, the trio are trying to stay positive.

    But they are shocked by the random attack in a country they had thought to be safe and friendly.

    "Even in Albania, which is really dangerous, we have never had this problem, even in Bolivia ... They are just friendly with you and you don't feel it's dangerous," Mr Collomb said.

    They told their story as a warning to other tourists.
    see the views of NZ,ers to this here

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  • jwmlee's Profile Photo

    Rental Car Rip Off

    by jwmlee Written Jul 13, 2009

    The con goes like this. You look for a rental car on line. You ask about milage / insurance etc. They say the price includes all that so you book. When you turn up they tell you the insurance doesn't cover windscreen cover and the excess is over $3000NZ. They also claim most new zealanders don't have insurance and cracked windscreens are a common event.... But don't worry, we offer an upgrade - and that will be another 20 - 50% of your daily rental rate.

    We were suckered by this one. Jucy (yeah, Jucy profit!) Rentals - they looks cheap but wait... there's more!

    Travel tip - when renting a car in New Zealand check the details of the insurance cover, especially the excess.

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  • srinpav's Profile Photo

    Black ice

    by srinpav Updated Jun 22, 2009

    When I was in nz the guy who owned the hire place I got a car from warned me about 'black ice'. Apparently water freezes on the road and is indistiguishable to the naked eye. many people die every year by losing control on black ice, coming off the road and it's all over. So the best thing to do is just take it slow when driving. by doing this you get to see a lot more of the beautiful scenery anyway.

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  • oldruss's Profile Photo

    The Left Hand Rule!

    by oldruss Written Mar 2, 2009

    The one thing both locals and visitors to NZ tend to have problems with, is our absurd road rule that says "All Left Turning Vehicles, Must Give Way To All Other Traffic". Isn't that the most idiotic road rule ever invented? Some bureaucrat in Wellington has been paid a very substantial sum of money to come up with that one.
    However, that is the rule.
    So next time you feel a bit of roadrage coming on, because some pillock has just cut across your bow, just remember you are not now driving in a civilised country with proper laws.

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  • klmousseau's Profile Photo


    by klmousseau Written Feb 11, 2009

    Take caution when driving in NZ. Unfortunately there are a number of preventable car accidents that occur in NZ, some from tourists. Watch your speed, watch turning at intersections, keep to the left!! A tourist couple was driving too fast and veered the other side of the road just a couple of miles from us and tragically killed to New Zealanders.
    Please slow down, the country is beautiful and enjoy it!

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  • StuartHearn's Profile Photo

    finally An official Dutch Govt, warning

    by StuartHearn Written Jan 22, 2009

    FinallY a Euro govt has issued a travel warning on NZ, After the De. Government stopped short of this a while back the Dutch have acted

    Dutch government warns tourists of NZ crime
    11:20AM Friday Jan 23, 2009
    Edward Gay
    The Dutch government is warning tourists to New Zealand to stay in established campgrounds. File photo / Dannevirke News

    The Dutch government is warning tourists to New Zealand to stay in established campgrounds. File photo / Dannevirke News
    Your Views
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    Related NZHerald links:

    * Rape shuts down camp
    * More charges likely for 'tourist attack' accused
    * Dutch tourist in park attack raped - police

    The Dutch Government is warning tourists travelling to New Zealand of "serious crime" after a second Dutch tourist was raped in the space of two years.

    The 22-year-old woman was attacked early last Thursday as she and her 25-year-old partner slept in their station wagon at the Five Mountains Holiday Park in Tuatapere, west of Invercargill.

    Police have arrested a 25 year-old man in relation to the attack.

    A new heading - "Serious Crime" has now been added to the New Zealand travel advice page on the Dutch Government website.

    Translated, the page says although serious crime does not happen often, the number of robberies is increasing and campers are being targeted.

    The Dutch travel advice warns campers to use official camping sites and not to park up in the "wild".

    The site mentions the rape of the Dutch woman last week as well as an attack in 2006.

    Keith Anthony McEwen and Christopher Mana Manuel are serving prison sentences for the rape of a Dutch woman who was attacked with her partner in a campervan, west of Paihia in 2006.

    According to statistics from Tourism New Zealand, from the year ending November, 2008 there has been a 2.5 per cent drop-off in Dutch visitors. There was also a 2 per cent drop between 2007 and 2006.

    However, it isn't only the Dutch numbers that are down. For example, visitors from the UK were down 3.4 per cent in the year ending November 2008 and up 1.4 per cent in the previous year.

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  • StuartHearn's Profile Photo

    and again today

    by StuartHearn Written Jan 18, 2009

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    Motorists save Aussie tourist from attack
    12:34PM Monday Jan 19, 2009

    Passing motorists saved an Australian tourist after she was attacked on a busy Nelson road yesterday.

    The 24-year-old woman was walking on Haven Road at about 2.45pm when a man asked to walk with her.

    He then tried to drag her into bushes near the Auckland Point School, Detective Aaron Kennaway said.

    The woman fought back and the offender ran when passing motorists stopped and went to her aid.

    "Things could have ended very, very differently for her if she hadn't fought back and if these people hadn't helped her out," he told Radio New Zealand.

    "A broad daylight attack like that is a very worrying thing."

    Mr Kennaway said the offender was a Caucasian male, about 1.82cm tall, with greying whiskers.

    Police would like to hear from any one with information regarding the attack, he said.

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  • StuartHearn's Profile Photo

    another Euro rape

    by StuartHearn Written Jan 18, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I will have to keep posting these as they happen BECAUSE it just keeps on getting worse
    I do not understand why the Eu does not issue a travel warning officially, I do know, that the German Government considreded this last year
    here is the latest
    just this week, source NZ Herald
    You western Europeans beware
    More charges likely for 'tourist attack' accused
    10:00AM Sunday Jan 18, 2009

    A 25-year-old man who appeared in court yesterday over an attack on Dutch tourists will face more serious charges when he next appears on Friday.

    The man appeared in Invercargill District Court charged with rape. JP Fraser Clark granted him interim name suppression and he was remanded in custody.

    Police said he could face further charges at his next court appearance.

    The tourists, a 25-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman, were staying at the Tuatapere camping ground, west of Invercargill.

    As they slept in their stationwagon about 6.40am on Thursday a man entered their car armed with a knife.

    He raped the woman and stole a "large amount of cash", police said.

    A second man whom police believe stood outside the vehicle during the attack had not yet been found.

    Today the Sunday Star Times reported the Dutch couple had been in touch with their families and the Dutch embassy, and were uncertain whether they would continue their New Zealand holiday.

    Invercargill Detective Scott MacKenzie said the pair were still in Southland, but were not yet ready to talk about their ordeal.

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  • Tongariro Crossing: be Prepared!

    by ph46 Written Nov 17, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This 17 k trek - beyond doubt is the best 1 day trek in the world - but be prepared for all weather conditions and fitness level. Despite the extra cost it is worth hiring any outdoor equipment needed. There are no guides on the mountain and if a accident happens you rely on strangers to help you.

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  • StuartHearn's Profile Photo

    assault in nz No 1 tourist spot

    by StuartHearn Written Sep 22, 2008

    read this in today

    Queenstown 'most violent place in NZ'
    New 7:46AM Tuesday Sep 23, 2008

    Tourist mecca Queenstown is where people are most likely to be violently assaulted, according to new police statistics.

    Figures compiled by Queenstown police intelligence analyst Constable Sean Drader showed that people were almost twice as likely to be violently assaulted in Queenstown than anywhere else in New Zealand.

    The Southland Times reported today that the assault would almost certainly take place in the central business district and there was a 17 per cent chance it would be on licensed premises.

    There was a 64 per cent chance the attacker would be a New Zealander, an 87 per cent chance he would be male and an almost 50 per cent chance he would work in the construction industry or as a chef and the attack would taken place between 1am and 2am and probably at New Year, Easter or during the peak winter period.

    In the year to June 30 there were 193 reported violent attacks. Of those arrested, 97 per cent were affected by alcohol.

    Mr Drader's report showed that a New Zealander or visitor had a one-in-139 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in Queenstown compared with a one-in-202 chance in the rest of New Zealand.

    For New Zealanders that figure was a massive one-in-84 chance in Queenstown, compared with one in 196 for the rest of New Zealand.

    In Queenstown 17 per cent of violent attacks occurred on licensed premises compared with 3 per cent in the rest of New Zealand.

    Mr Drader told the newspaper it was up to the community in general and bar owners in particular to take ownership of the problem and begin taking steps, alongside police and the Queenstown Lakes District Council to resolve it.

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New Zealand Warnings and Dangers

Reviews and photos of New Zealand warnings and dangers posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for New Zealand sightseeing.
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