E2NZ revisited: “Bashing Tourists Now a National Pastime?”


Now that the tourism season has arrived, and in light of the recent tourist attacks over Christmas, we thought it pertinent to re-vist an article we wrote in from January of this year titled “Bashing tourists now a national pastime?”.

It seems that almost a year after writing it New Zealand is still a risky tourism destination  and no effective strategies have been implemented to reduce crimes against visitors.

Here’s the article:

Bashing Tourists Now a National Pastime?

Those are not our words but a direct quote from a thread on the Trademe.co.nz forum, a community comprised mostly of New Zealanders. It’s an interesting thought isn’t it, as are some of the replies.

But first, here’s how the discussion started, followed by a bit of the background.

“Welcome to New Zealand. 100% Violent.

The link referred to in the post is a NZ Herald report about  2 German tourists getting beaten up and robbed in Kaitaia on 22 January.

They had inadvertently become the victims of crime because they slept overnight in a layby whilst waiting for replacement parts for their broken-down vehicle. Unfortunately for them they fell prey to something that has plagued other campervan tourists in New Zealand (read posts tagged Campervan) with every fresh incident doing nothing to improve the country’s image abroad.

The Herald report said:

“The tourists told police the two men smashed the van’s windows then demanded the tourists’ wallets, which were handed over. One of the victims was struck in the face, although it was not clear whether that was with a fist or the piece of wood that was used to smash the windows.
Police were still looking for the second offender at edition time yesterday..”  more here

Fortunately police have one man in custody, 2o year old Devaray Heremaia Cole.

The first reply to the Trademe thread went like this, remember these are New Zealanders talking.

It’s not new….been plenty that have been murdered as well.”

Perhaps this person was thinking about the recent killing of 64 year old tourist, Robert Murray Wilkinson in Waihi Beach ? a crime that deeply shocked the quiet coastal community.

Another poster made the link with unemployment, which is high in the north

“it goes with the other national pasttime: unemployment

sort out unemployment and then no idle hands (excluding nut jobs as they need to be committed to a house on the premises of a prison)”

Fair comment, and it is ironic that one of the major employment industries in Northland is tourism, we’re guessing that is something these two muggers aren’t engaged in

This comment hit the nail on the head

This seems to happen a lot up North.  Maybe the tourism bureau should advise tourists not to travel north of Whangarei.  Or to Tokoroa. Or Rotorua…………….or any of the other places tourists have been attacked lately.”

Now there’s the problem – it is a fine balance between warning tourists and scaring them off and killing the tourism industry. What is to be done? perhaps investment in other industries in the region makes sense, diversification is that name of the game. Think of the good that could’ve been done if the half a billion spent on the Hobbit film industry (most of it going offshore) had been spent on other industries in deprived areas of New Zealand.

Because the danger is, as one poster put it

“If we don’t tell them, Lonely Planet surely will.”

A Kaikoura business man left this message below the article, we’re posting it here to show how some people regard visitors to New Zealand. It seems that tourist bashing is becoming a national pastime.



You may also be interested in our other blogs tagged Freedom Camping in New Zealand and the following blogs

Elderly Australian Tourist Stabbed in Head at Waihi Beach, Murder Investigation Launched

Haka Thugs Attack French Tourists Near Raglan 

Vicious Sex Attack on 5 Year Old Belgian Tourist – little girl severely injured in a frenzied attack as she lay sleeping in a campervan in Turangi.

Austrian tourists mugged in Palmerston North

Australian honeymooners lose it all  two tourists robbed near Milford Sound

Te Anau Troubled By Tourist Attacks -drunken youths attack visitors in Te Anau

Swiss Campers’ Tyres Slashed In Kaikoura

Chilean Tourist Robbed, Loses Life’s Work  robbed in a motel near Auckland international airport

“New Zealand is a wonderful country, but be careful as it’s not so safe” – Swiss campervan tourist loses everything in Whangarei

Honeymoon Couple Lose Precious Photos, No ‘Gold Medal’ British couple robbed outside of Auckland zoo

Czech Tourist, Jan Fakotor, Stabbed In Motueka man stabbed in a Motueka backpackers

English tourist mugged in Gisborne female tourist punched and handbag stolen in a street attack, delaying her departure from NZ

Chilean tourist punched, robbed in Nelson man attacked on Nelson cathedral steps by three teenagers

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 

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

A family of five robbed at the roadside whilst camping in their van at Oturere Stream, 25km south of Turangi

Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland

Two American tourists were robbed at Shipwreck Bay in Northland whilst sandboarding

Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki, Bay of Plenty

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, Bay of Plenty

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 and robbed by a youth in Taupo.

German woman Birgit Brauer murdered near New Plymouth.

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.”

Irish man Robby O’Brien beaten up in Westport.

 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.


9 thoughts on “E2NZ revisited: “Bashing Tourists Now a National Pastime?”

  1. huh. I swear I posted a comment on this article and now it has vanished. Was it removed for some reason?

    • Oh, it’s to do with my phone somehow. I get the same issue on the news site where my comments dont show up. Images dont load half the time either. You can remove these if you want admin.

  2. Tourists assaulted by up to eight people at backpackers

    ‘Two male tourists have been attacked at a backpackers in central Christchurch.

    Police say the tourists were attacked by a group of up to eight people in the driveway of their Worcester St backpackers between 2.30am and 2.45am on Saturday.

    Both men have been admitted to hospital. One suffered a broken jaw, while the other has serious eye injuries.’


    • Just saw this. Absolutely sickening.

      As for the title, “Bashing Tourists Now a National Pastime?”, no I don’t think this is it. It’s just gangs and thugs doing what they do. I don’t doubt that tourists are most likely seen as easier targets somehow, but really if it were me there instead of them they would have done the same thing.

      They don’t care who you are and will bash anyone. It’s simply too easy to be a criminal in this country and not much is done about gangs running wild. It helps to not go outside late at night and in the early hours of the morning. Almost every case of violent crime occurs in that time frame.

  3. Nobody should camp in the North Island of NZ, nobody. Too dangerous. I also would say to stay well away from the upper North Island and the East Coast of the North Island completely. Yes, it’s beautiful but there are people waiting for tourists to arrive so they can rob them and worse. Understand that you are going to stand out as a tourist, by your accent, your expensive outdoor clothing, your rental car etc. I used to live in NZ, this type of gang violence is standard, just about every day something like this reported. Go to Auckland and Wellington, stay in nice hotels. Then go to the South Island to see the beautiful scenery but stick to the cities – Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch. Be careful in Kaikoura.
    Trust no-one is my advice. The place is beautiful in parts, a lot of the people are pretty brutal.

    • It would be more accurate to say it has a low recorded crime rate. There are various reasons why police don’t record crime. New Zealand has one of the highest incarceration rates and it is estimated that it costs $90,000 to keep a person in prison for a year. About 80% of people when questioned said they thought crime was a problem in New Zealand.

      Perhaps the high cost of maintaining its prisons, and a shortage of police officers are two of the motivators for keeping recorded crimes as low as possible. The truth of the matter is too horrible to contemplate – crime is out of control in New Zealand.

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