New Zealand’s Sea Becomes More Dangerous


Thinking of visiting a beach whilst staying in New Zealand? take care in the the water, it’s not as safe as you think.

A man was retrieving a crayfish pot from Riversdale in the Wairarapa this afternoon, when a passing stingray ripped a 15cm long gash in his leg which severe enough to require hospital treatment.

Stingray attacks aren’t that uncommon in New Zealand. In November 2010 , a man was taken to hospital in Auckland after he was pierced in the chest by a stingray whilst scuba diving in the Hauraki Gulf, scene of New Zealand’s only stingray fatality. More here

In January of the same year Canadian tourist, Matt  Brazeau, had his thigh pierced clean through by a Stingray whilst standing in surf after falling out of his canoe near Waitara, near New Plymouth. More here

But it’s not just the Stingrays that are beginning to cause a problem in New Zealand’s coastal waters, Great White Sharks are also becoming more prevalent.

Last week two brothers fishing off the Kapiti Coast near Wellington were shocked when they came across a Great White shark about 3km out at sea. The locals think it may be Taranaki Terror, or “Mrs White” although no one can be certain. According to Stuff

“The Taranaki Terror was first seen in 2004 when it lunged at a small runabout off Waitara, leaving teeth marks in the hull.

Since then it has frequently returned during summer, although it was not seen at all last year.

On Saturday, Craig Simpson said the shark he and his brother saw rolled on its side and looked at them with its beady black eye.

”If I reached out I could have touched him if I wanted to, but there was no way I was going to do that.

”I was really worried at first the way it was looking at us.”

Simpson said they had seen many sharks in their 15 years of fishing, but never a great white…” more here

Stuff went on to remind its readers how much of a problem shark attacks are in New Zealand, bear this in mind next time you see an advert telling you how safe New Zealand is,  and how it doesn’t have wildlife that can hurt you.

On average, there are two shark attacks every year in New Zealand. Since  1837, there have been 15 fatal attacks. The last death was in 2006, when a kayaker was mauled by a great white in the Coromandel – whether he drowned before the shark found him is still disputed. Before that was 1976.”

But don’t let those statistics bother you too much, you stand a much higher chance of being drowned in New Zealand than dying from a marine animal attack. Unfortunately New Zealand suffers from a disproportionately high number of drownings for such a small country. It is so high that the head of Water Safety NZ said he was baffled by the number of deaths – 132 last year.

According to Water Safety New Zealand, on average 105 people a year drowned in the country over the past five years.

“On average (last 5 years) 105 New Zealanders per annum have died by drowning.

New Zealand’s annual drowning toll is one of the worst in the developed world.

Water safety education is about saving lives, in, on and under the water.”

Take care out there, if you’re planning doing some water based activities whilst in New Zealand be sure to take the same precautions as you would at home. Only swim when there are lifeguards on the beach, watch out for rip currents and wear a properly fitting floatation device when in a boat.

3 thoughts on “New Zealand’s Sea Becomes More Dangerous

  1. Consider also that polluted and contaminated waters are not always posted. Please do your research online about beaches and lakes you visit in New Zealand. Check the tides, any accident stories, and local council concerns.Mostly it’s the rips that kill! Please watch your children.

  2. Tell your readers to take a look at Cactus Kate’s blog, she’s a NZ journalist

    New Zealand’s Death Beaches

    ” I don’t think New Zealanders still realise just how dangerous having a swim in the ocean really is. Especially when it’s mixed with male chauvinistic bravado, alcohol, distractions of children and inflatable devices that quickly see people swept out further than they can swim back.

    It’s a total case for personal responsibility and that for your children.

    As for me, West Coast Auckland beaches such as Piha and Bethells are lovely to visit and look at, but stuff swimming in them. Give me a private (heated) pool for that any day.”

    Your point about Japan and Thailand is weak, both those countries do a lot more fishing than NZ, plus both have lost people to tsunamis. At least neither of them has the nerve to market themselves as safe tourism destinations, unlike NZ.


    • Field trip to Muriwai beach ends in tragedy.

      “An 18-year-old schoolboy drowned at Muriwai while trying to save the life of a classmate.

      The accident was followed by the suspected drowning of a 15-year-old boy at Piha on Sunday. Searchers were still trying yesterday to find the younger boy’s body.

      Neither teenager had been named last night.

      The older boy died while going to the aid of a female classmate who got into trouble in the water at Muriwai about 2.30pm on Friday.

      He is believed to have been a Year 13 student who was on a geography field trip from Tangaroa College in Otara, Manukau City. “

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