Neighbour Hood Support

Visiting New Zealand

This information is aimed at visitors, tourists, new immigrants and people who are coming to study or work in New Zealand.

The risk of being a victim of crime or a road accident or getting hurt or lost in the great outdoors is similar in New Zealand to most other countries. Because tourists and visitors are focused on enjoying themselves, they can forget to take the normal safety precautions they would take at home. Wherever you are, it is important to be alert to the surroundings and conditions and ask the questions, “Is this place safe?” and, “Will I be safe if I do this here?”

Personal safety tips

  • Walk in well lit and populated areas. It may save time but it is risky taking short cuts through dark parks or alleyways.
  • Walk with other people if possible; there is safety in numbers. Stick with your mates and look out for each other.
  • Stay sober (or have someone in your group stay sober and be responsible for looking after the group). Being drunk or intoxicated increases your risk of being attacked or taken advantage of. Have something to eat before consuming alcohol and drink lots of water between alcoholic drinks.
  • Plan a way to get back to your accommodation. If using public transport, know what time buses and trains leave and from where and know what time the last service will depart. Ask the driver what time the last service is as the timetable may have recently changed. Weekend and public holiday services will be different from normal weekdays.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and know where you are going. Talking on a phone or listening to music can compromise your safety as you are less likely to hear people or vehicles approaching.
  • A thief looks for the easiest target. While handbag snatching and street robberies occur infrequently in New Zealand, unattended handbags are a popular target for thieves.
  • Leaving valuables in a locked hotel or motel room does not guarantee their security. Use the lockable safe. If a safe is not available in the room, check with reception to see what security is available for valuables.
  • Look after your personal belongings, especially money, credit cards, mobile phones and other small but valuable electronic devices. It is a sensible practice to keep passports, credit cards and keys separate so that your identification and valuables are not in the same place.
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport and a description of valuable items including their serial numbers in case they should go missing.
  • Some road rules in New Zealand may be different to what are uses to in your country, particularly the give way rule at intersections. Check out what’s different about driving in New Zealand on the Land Transport New Zealand site.
  • Park vehicles, including camper vans, somewhere well lit or in a parking building or a properly designated parking area.
  • Don’t leave valuables on display and don’t drink alcohol and then drive.
  • If maps and other items are left on display in your vehicle identifying you as a tourist or visitor to the area or your vehicle is left in a lonely spot, there is an increased risk of your vehicle being broken in to.
  • Do not accept a lift from a stranger and do not give lifts to strangers.
  • Mobile phone coverage is usually very good in the cities but the rugged terrain and remoteness of many areas means coverage may vary from strong to weak with minimal or no coverage in some places. Check with your mobile phone provider before you travel to New Zealand to find out if your mobile phone will work in New Zealand.
  • The New Zealand weather is very changeable and the outdoors can be extremely dangerous. Always tramp, fish or hunt with a friend. Some popular tramping destinations promote lodging an itinerary or intentions with local police prior to departure with approximate return time. See the fact sheet on enjoying the outdoors safely.
  • Make sure someone always knows where you are, where you are going, how you are getting there and when you are likely to return. Notify this person if your plans change so emergency services know where to start searching and are not wasting time looking for you if you fail to return within a reasonable time.

If something happens

  • Get yourself to safety and call the police immediately.
  • If you do not have a mobile phone or access to one, go to where there are people and ask someone to call the police for you.
  • If you see someone else in trouble dial the New Zealand emergency number – 111.

More information

Tourism New Zealand
New Zealand Police
Land Transport New Zealand 

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