Another Tourist Dies in New Zealand

Source NZ Herald

UK trainee Doctor Dies from Sand Surfing Injuries

“An English trainee doctor has died from his injuries after a “sand boarding” accident last week in the Far North.

Thomas Michael Donaldson died in Auckland City Hospital from the serious head injuries he suffered last Tuesday when he tumbled from his boogie board while surfing down sand dunes opposite Omapere, on the Hokianga Harbour.

Locals told Radio New Zealand the dunes were so steep that if a boogie board dug in, the rider was flung head-over-heels down the slope, with no way to stop the fall.

They said visitors were routinely warned not to go there, after serious accidents in the past.”


If the locals are saying that there have been serious accidents there in the past and visitors were warned not to go there why is boarding on the sand dune promoted to tourists?

According to the page about Omapere/Opononi:

“Dune surfing on boogie boards is a thrill that leaves you sandy but extremely satisfied.”

No mention of the word “dangerous”

And the website lists dune surfing along with golf as one of the activities that can be enjoyed on land.

If the risks are so well known about where are the safety signs clearly warning visitors that the dunes are dangerous ? much the same as signs on a beach would warn of dangerous tides or rip currents.

Where are the words of caution on the tourism sites?

According to the website Thomas Donaldson was the second British Doctor and fifth British national to be killed in New Zealand in the last 60 days.