Tourists have again fallen victim to crime in New Zealand. We’re saddened to learn of the two Australian honeymooners whose wedding dress, suit and rings were stolen near the Milford road, South Island. The advice to not leave valuables in vehicles simply isn’t given to visitors, many of whom believe the myth that New Zealand is a safe place with a low crime rate.
Constable Glen Matheson, of Te Anau, said the honeymooners, from Melbourne, parked their campervan near Knobbs Flat on State Highway 94 and went for a two-hour walk on Saturday between 8am and 10am.
They returned to find the door of their vehicle open and several items to the value of $4000 taken, including her wedding dress, their wedding rings, his wedding suit, a large purple plastic suitcase, a laptop and camera gear… more here
This is only one of scores of thefts perpetrated every year against visitors to New Zealand. These crimes are impacting negatively on the tourism industry and causing grief to hundreds of people, yet no co-ordinated effort is made to prevent them.
You may also be interested in
A group of students that were beaten and robbed whilst on a treasure hunt at the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa, Northland
A series of random, unprovoked attacks in Queenstown
Previous robbery of British tourists at Kerosene Creek
Tourists robbed at Kerosene Creek
Three French tourists beaten and robbed in their campervan in Mangamuka, Northland - police have yet to resolve this crime
A family of Swiss tourists that were assaulted and racially abused in Kaitaia, Northland
Anke Kuballa and Marc Busch from Germany who were robbed in Whangarei, Northland
Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland
Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki, Northland
Three Chinese tourists attacked and robbed at Te paki, 90 Mile Beach, Northland, by two men they’d stopped to help
French tourist Anthony Cressend, beaten and robbed at campsite in Ahipara, Northland
Two Australian tourists robbed at knifepoint for their holiday money in Te Puke, SE of Tauranga.
Japanese tourist age 23 (female) kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in Rotorua by four men
French tourist (male) raped at gunpoint near Opotiki,
American peace corp twins Adam and Alex Rahmlow, 21 were robbed of all their possessions by a man they tried to help in Amberley, Christchurch.
Dutch couple raped and robbed on a campsite in Tuatapere, NW of Invercargill, whilst on their honeymoon. (Dutch govt. issued a travel warning about NZ)
Two Koreans were attacked and robbed of their possession which included a laptop computer by a man claiming to be a gang member in Blenheim.
British tourist worker sexually assaulted near Hururu Falls, Northland when she was dragged off a walking track.
Canadian tourist Jeremie Kawerninski, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed in Lower Hutt, Wellington
Dutch couple robbed and sexually attacked Haruru Falls, Northland whilst on honeymoon.
Two British women robbed and raped in their campervan at Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne.
Japanese tourist subjected to a prolonged and brutal sex attack in a communal area of a backpacker’s hostel in Turangi, Taupo.
Scottish woman Karen Aim brutally murdered by a youth in Taupo.
Korean man Jae Hyeon Kim decapitated with a spade by white supremacist.
Japanese tourist robbed at gunpoint in Oamaru.
Irish cycle tourist Paul Mack bashed, robbed and urinated on throughout his NZ tour.
6 English and Danish tourists attacked and stabbed in Cashel Mall, Christchurch for having “foreign accents.”
Russian couple Denis Khotchenko and Lera Nesterova beaten and robbed in Milford, Auckland
English woman knifed and sexually assaulted in a toilet block at an A1 motor camp in Kaikoura
American campers Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley beaten and robbed at Whangarei Falls, Northland.
Australian tourist sexually assaulted on a street in broad daylight in Nelson.
Australian tourist subjected to a sex attack by Maia Crawford Rongonui whilst walking home to a backpackers in Christchurch.
Canadian tourist left with a fractured skull outside Silver Fern backpackers in Taupo.
Dutch tourist beaten and robbed at Lake Rotorua.
British man Paul Speakman and his young son beaten and robbed in a campervan at Athenree Gorge, Katikati.
Chinese woman attacked for speaking Chinese on a train approaching Petone.
Scottish visitor Stuart Martin who was left in a coma and with a boot print on his face after a street bashing in Taradale, Christchurch.
According to an article in Stuff the French, German and Argentine Embassies have all warned about theft in New Zealand.
It appears that the problem of thefts from tourists may be more prevalent than is reported by the media in New Zealand.
The German embassy alone says it gets 1-2 people a week reporting passports stolen from vehicles.
“A number of incidents involving European tourists in Auckland and Rotorua generated media attention over the summer holidays, and last week the Argentine Embassy in Wellington advised tourists in New Zealand to take care with their belongings.
“There has been an increase in the number of reported robberies, especially of cars and camper vans left unprotected, in larger cities and popular tourist areas,” it said in a regular newsletter.
Romina Bocache, head of its consular section, said they decided to include the notice after being contacted by several young people whose belongings had been stolen.
There was no violence involved and it often occurred when people left their vehicles unlocked.
“It’s just to tell them to be careful because here it’s very quiet but you have to lock the doors and have normal precautions…”
The report says that the French and German embassies have also done similar, after their nationals have also fallen victim to New Zealand’s crime problem. Not least that of phsyical attacks on tourists – the most poignant in most people’s memories is probably the rape and serious assault of a five year old European tourist during a campervan robbery in Turangi.
More recently a couple of Swiss tourists had their campervan tyres slashed as they camped in Hapuku , just outside of Kaikoura.
The Stuff report went on to add:
“A spokeswoman for the German Embassy said there had been a warning about thefts from vehicles on its website for about two years.
A lot of people they arrive at the airport, get their campervan, they drive to the next supermarket around the corner and then they think well, I’m in New Zealand nothing will happen‘.
“It’s stupid from them because in Germany you wouldn’t leave your belongings in the car either.”
More than 65,000 German tourists and 8000 working holidayers visit New Zealand annually, the embassy usually gets one or two people contact it each week after having their passport stolen from a vehicle.
A warning of the French Embassy‘s website also warns of thefts from cars and campervans and recommends people take their valuable belongings with them…”
You can read the full report by Kate Chapman here
The British and Australian foreign offices issued their advice some time ago. The British FCO also warns about theft from hotel rooms in some tourist areas.
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
Safety and Security – Crime
Street crimes occur in major urban areas. Reports of thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars/camper vans in major tourist areas (e.g. the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) have increased. There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel rooms in some tourist areas. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms, but use safe boxes when available. Keep passports, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, etc separate. See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
The risks of criminal activity are similar to Australia. You should exercise the same caution as in Australia.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money in New Zealand, such as credit cards, travellers’ cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in New Zealand.Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers’ cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.While travelling, don’t carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place…”
For many years we at E2NZ been warning tourists about the dangers of crime in New Zealand, and not just theft.
It’s good to see that the message may finally getting through,
You may also be interested in an increase in reported crimes during the rugby world cup last year. This is from a blog written in Oct:
“Despite warnings to visitors the rugby world cup has provided rich pickings for New Zealand’s criminal element.
We’re saddened to hear a number players and journalists have become victims of crime. They are among hundreds of tourists and visitors who are victims of opportunistic crime every year in New Zealand.
Potographers Barry Aldworth and Christiaan Kotze had almost $10,000 worth of property stolen when their car was broken into at a media shuttle drop off point. They lost “two computers, bags, peripheral photographic equipment, money, clothes, sunglasses and the tent they had been using for accommodation during their stay… unique Castle Tri-Nations Springbok jackets and clothing” and prescription medication.
Journalists Brendan Nel and Gavin Rich lost an iPod when their car was broken into at the secure underground carp park at the Pullman Hotel had their car broken into on Thursday last week after parking it in the secure underground car park at the Pullman Hotel in city centre.
Three days ago an American couple travelling in the Kerikeri Basin in the “lawless north” had their camper van broken into and lost a number of irreplaceable belongings including photographs and a travel diary. Elsewhere in Northalnd a Scottish couple’s car was broken into at the Haruru Falls car park, near Paihia. They lost a handbag containing money, passports, phones and medication. More here.
American newlyweds Meghan Scranton and Philip Wilson had travelled the world without incident until they reached Auckland just after the rugby world cup began.
In the three or four minutes they took to enjoy the view from top of Mount Eden thieves broke into their car and stole money and passports. Even their Kiwi hosts hadn’t prepared them for the risks they faced parking in the public car park at the monument.
Earlier in the tournament two rugby jerseys were stolen from Argentinian player Juan Manuel Leguizamon. They were shirts given to him by English and Romanian’s players that he’d played against during the pool games.
Update 21 October
Three foreign tourists (two English and one American) were injured and robbed in separate attacks in the small Northland town of Paihia. You can read more about it in the Northern Advocate: Fan robbed after locals turned nasty…”
At the time of the rugby world cup the British FCO also issued this specific advice
“The Rugby World Cup is likely to attract opportunistic thieves. Keep all possessions – especially your passport – secure. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.”
Posts tagged tourist attacks
Press Release: New Zealand Mountain Safety Council
Four Deaths In Four Days A Shocking Start To Summer
Sunday, 11 December 2011, 11:47 am
The deaths of four people in four days in the outdoors is a shocking start to the summer season says New Zealand Mountain Safety Council Chief Executive Darryl Carpenter.
On Friday, two female tourists, a 20-year-old woman from China and a 23-year-old woman from Malaysia, were killed after being swept down the Waiho river while walking at night near Franz Josef.
A Nelson retiree aged 63 from fell to his death while he and a group of two other trampers were negotiating difficult terrain in the Kahurangi National Park on Friday night.
On Tuesday night, Police recovered the body of a Richmond man and experienced tramper, believed to have drowned while attempting a river crossing in Mount Richmond Forest Park. All four deaths have been referred to the coroner.
“We are saddened by these tragic deaths. They are a sombre reminder of the need to be thoroughly prepared when going into the outdoors and to take extreme caution – especially when crossing rivers,” says Mr Carpenter.
“Anyone going into the outdoors needs to plan well, to be aware of the dangers and have the skills needed for a safe and enjoyable experience. Thorough preparation and careful decision-making is essential to keep people out of danger.
“We urge people to take responsibility for their own and others’ safety. We cannot overemphasise the importance of people following the Outdoor Safety Code. These five simple, easy-to-remember rules could well save your life and that of your travelling companions.
“As hosts, we have a particular responsibility to help visitors to our country understand and prepare for local conditions. Overseas visitors often participate in activities or encounter terrain and weather conditions that differ markedly from those they are used to.
“Taking responsibility for safety has never been easier with the launch of the AdventureSmart.org.nz website by leading outdoor organisations and government agencies earlier this year.
“Here, anyone can access safety information and planning support for a wide range of land, snow, water, boating and air activities at one online location.
“You can also complete the Outdoor Intentions process online. Telling someone your plans – and leaving a date and time for when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned – is a simple and potentially life-saving step.
“Before going on a trip into the outdoors make sure you plan and prepare fully. Use the website AdventureSmart.org.nz. Seek advice from an experienced guide with local knowledge. Talk to Department of Conservation staff, your local Mountain Safety Council branch or tramping club.
“These holidays, we want people’s outdoor experience to be the best of memories, not the worst. Take care, plan well, act wisely and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip,” says Mr Carpenter.
A quick glance at th organisation’s New Zealand webpage shows information is only presented in English, we’d like to know why there is no option to view any of it in other languages.
We shall be following the action of the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council to see what, if any, information it communicates to international visitors. How that information is delivered abroad and how frequently that happens.
The two women killed near Franz Joseph glacier were later named as Poi Moy Tan of Singapore, 31, and Yu-Ling Chen of Taiwan, 28. Our thoughts and condolences are extended to their family and friends.
Following on from our post Tourists Continue To Be Targets For Criminals In New Zealand on 2 December, we’re appalled to hear the news that more tourists have been targetted by New Zealand’s bogan criminals.
New Zealand has one of the OECD’s most rapidly widening gaps between rich and poor, unfortuantely crime against tourists is just one manifestation of the deep inequalities within its society.
The latest crimes (not all are reported to the media, some only come to light when the offenders appear in court) were committed against Australian tourists, three of them schoolies from New South Wales (perhaps they should’ve gone to Bali?) in two separate robberies.
An Australian psychologist and his family had been in Rotorua only a few hours when their campervan was broken into and possessions worth more than $10,000 stolen. Clinton Schultz said their van was cleaned out while they were at a birthday party. “Everything was gone.” source Mr Schultz was with his wife Lozen McDiarmid and their two young children.
Napier, Hawkes Bay
“Three teenage Australian students on holiday in Hawke’s Bay at the end of their school year were robbed of $218 by thugs who leapt out of a car on Napier’s Marine Parade and demanded their cash.” the 17 & 18 year olds were quietly sitting on a bench when a car full of drunk thugs stopped and ‘rolled them’ source
Considering that these are just the latest in a succession of crimes against visitors to New Zealand what advice are we giving to anyone considering a vacation in New Zealand?
Don’t. Just don’t go there.
But if you must travel to New Zealand, leave your valuables at home. Don’t use a campervan and don’t carry more than a few dollars in cash around with you.
Both the British and Australian foreign offices have had the sense to issue the following advice to travellers to New Zealand, you can’t say you weren’t warned.
Safety and Security – Crime (UK)
“Street crimes occur in major urban areas. Reports of thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars/camper vans in major tourist areas (e.g. the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) have increased. There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel rooms in some tourist areas. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms, but use safe boxes when available. Keep passports, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, etc separate.”
Money and valuables (Australia)
“Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money in New Zealand, such as credit cards, travellers’ cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in New Zealand.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers’ cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don’t carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.”
You may also be interested in these blogs
For more posts about crimes against tourists, which include rapes and serious assaults, in New Zealand read all our blogs tagged Tourist Attacks
Now that the rugby world cup is safely out of the way we’re starting to more coverage of serious crimes against tourists in New Zealand again.
A reader has sent us a link to another spate of violent robberies in the small Northland town of Kerikeri. In the first incident a 39-year-old Swedish man was clubbed over the head by a ‘group’ of young teens and robbed.
In the second assault a 20-year-old German woman, walking to the Top Ten Holiday park was grabbed by the face and punched by a woman and woman who then stole her belongings.
If you’re headed for Kerikeri or the “lawless north” and concerned for your personal safety you can read more about the assaults here
“Taupo police Detective Sergeant Tony Manunui said the 37-year-old woman was walking on a track between Huka Falls and Spa Spark when a man, described as Polynesian or Maori – assaulted her…” more here
Taupo, Safe International Community
Last year we wrote about how Taupo was trying to push itself towards becoming a World Health Organisation “Safe International Community” (read Korean Tourist Beaten And Robbed In Taupo, An International Safe Community?) and expressed our concern that tourists may be lulled into a false sense of security if they believed the hype around the project, saying
“We sincerely hope that tourists, who are already the target of violence and robberies in NZ because of their perceived vulnerability and relative wealth, aren’t suckered in to believing they can be more relaxed with their personal security. Using the “Safe International Community” badge as a marketing tool may be counterproductive because it may make tourists easier targets. It’s hardly going to reduce the crime figures or improve the country’s image abroad if that happens.
The small tourist town was shoved under the international spotlight when British visitor Karen Aim was clubbed to death and interfered with whilst walking home one night. Her attacker was a 14 year old youth who was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life with a non-parole period of 12.5 years. Prominent British composer and Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, wrote a composition in Karen’s memory after being “moved and shocked” by her death…” more here
We often write about crimes against tourists in New Zealand and these incidents re-enforce the fact that visitors to New Zealand are being specifically targetted by local criminals and must take every precaution to keep themselves safe.
Karen Aim inquest: “Parental supervision failed teen basher”
(Dominion Post 29/11/2011)
“Lack of parental supervision is one of the main factors in violent youth offending, Rotorua coroner Wallace Bain has said at an inquest.
Dr Bain was commenting at the inquest of the death of Scottish tourist Karen Aim in January 2008, in Taupo Coroners Court today.
Ms Aim, 27, was severely bashed by a teenager near her Taupo flat as she walked home after socialising with friends.
She suffered serious brain injuries and died in Taupo Hospital.
A year later Jache Broughton, 14, of Taupo, pleaded guilty to her murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years…” more
Our thoughts and deepest condolences are againwith the family and friends of Karen Aim this week. They’re still searching for answers as to why their loved one was cruelly taken from them.