Chilean Tourist Robbed, Loses Life’s Work

Auckland Airport Kiwi Motel

We were saddened to hear that another tourist has fallen foul of New Zealand’s criminal element. It looks like word still isn’t getting out about the high levels of crime in New Zealand.

In today’s Herald

“A tearful Chilean tourist has had the laptop computer containing her life’s work stolen – barely a kilometre away from Auckland International Airport. Graphic artist Macarena Barra, in New Zealand for a one-year working holiday, picked up her parents from the airport this week.

They checked into the Kiwi Motel near to Auckland Airport, Mangere, and on Thursday left their bags in the room while they headed for a day trip to Waiheke Island…”

When they returned to the Kiwi Motel that night they found the room had been broken into. The laptop and hard drives, containing five years worth of photos, drawings and animations were gone, ruining Macarena Barra‘s chances of finding a job back in Chile.

The reaction of staff at the Kiwi Motel surprised us.

Firstly, Macarena said

“They told me there’s been five thefts in six months.”

And secondly

Motel owner Ajay Sone said he had employed a company to carry out security checks since the theft and was in the process of getting cameras installed. “We try to be vigilant but people need to take initiative on their part as well,” he said. “We suggest they leave anything valuable at reception.”

It took five thefts before the hotel thought about increasing security, wasn’t that leaving it a bit too long?

Want to know more about the Kiwi Motel? check out its Trip Advisor ratings, starting with “Somebody stole my sister’s laptop in this motel and nobody cares” and another one of those stories of people who booked for the rugby world cup only to find that their booking had been cancelled :

We booked accomodation at this hotel (called Kiwi International Airport Hotel when we booked). We paid a deposit to secure a one night stay. We were notified several months later by new management that they had cancelled our booking. Furthermore, they were not prepared to provide a refund on our deposit. They were also not prepared to provide a suitable answer as to why they had cancelled our booking, although as it is during the world cup and we had booked for one night only it is not hard to conclude why. In our view the prospect of gaining a few extra dollars appeared far more important than customer relations.

If you are willing to run the risk of being treated in the way that we were then consider the Auckland Airport Kiwi Hotel, but note that 45% of the 71 reviews listed in this link consider this hotel to be terrible or poor – be warned!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple

It’s no good asking guests to leave everything valuable at reception because, frankly, hotel receptions probably don’t have the capacity or the capability to look after such large amounts of valuable items. Look through your belongings next time you take a trip, how much of that could you realistically leave behind a hotel reception desk for the duration of your stay?

We have a far better solution, which anyone travelling to New Zealand during the rugby world cup would be well advised to pay heed to:

1. Don’t take anything valuable to New Zealand, or anything that you don’t mind losing. It’s just not worth the risk.

2. Keep a look out for signs warning you about leaving belongings unattended. Leave nothing in your car at supermarket or hotel car parks, shopping centres, public parks, tourist attractions or other locations where thieves know that tourists are likely to hang out.

3. Don’t be fooled into thinking that New Zealand has a low rate of crime, or that is is ‘safe’. We have written countless times about tourists, students and sports teams being targeted in New Zealand. It’s not as safe as you think.

For more blogs about tourist safety in New Zealand click here – Tourist Safety

All posts tagged NZ not as safe as you think

All posts tagged Chilean Tourists

Have you had a rotten hotel experience in New Zealand, or had your rugby world cup booking cancelled? Please leave a message for us below.

6 thoughts on “Chilean Tourist Robbed, Loses Life’s Work

  1. Correction – the teens above were 14 and 15. The 13-year-old one was “among five people charged with brutally assaulting, stripping and degrading a man in a prolonged attack in Hamilton”. From the description of the event, it looks as if they were imitating the Scarfies movie.

  2. In the news today –
    Drunken teens (13, 14, 15) bash with hammer a 73-year-old dairy owner to steal chocolate bars and cigarettes.

    Great place to raise kids.

  3. We had our car broken into in broad daylight in Bay of Islands. Broad daylight! Surrounded by other cars in a parkling lot in the CBD. They took CDs and good brand name clothing. No one noticed.

  4. I know an old lady in a nursing home that had her old laptop stolen by a nursing home visitor.

    Visitors and staff also steal meds in hospices. We were moving house the other year, and my son’s Nintendo was taken from the new house while we were shuttling back and forth between houses with boxes of belongings. They must have darted in, rifled through everything, grabbed and run with some efficiency. Must have been watching us?

    Son’s little classmates are constantly ripping things off him, every year, even the ones who claim to be his friends, in school and out of it. We are so sick of it. We have never lived anywhere where you have to watch your belongings so carefully. They must evolve x-ray vision for what’s valuable and snatchable, because the level of material goods ownership is so low here. Infuriating when they boast about being a place where they do not care about material goods. They care about them all right!

    Even the honest ones come to visit us, their eyes will dart all around brazenly assessing the price tags on your belongings. People like that are easy to spot “for what they are” where we come from, but here property is stealable if you are dumb enough to leave it anywhere unattended. There is larceny everywhere, but the difference is in the attitude – you are a fool, they are not thieves. They just picked up something foolishly “left”. Cultural disconnect!

  5. New Zealand has a low REPORTED rate of “violent crime”
    but a very high rate of UNREPORTED “nonviolent crime”.
    Then again, when you can no longer leave your cares behind – you are not able to have a proper holiday.
    Service of the kind where people genuinely care enough to do things responsibly, is rare.

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