“Bountiful Season for Thieves” at Maraetotara Falls. Car Park 50% Gravel 50% Broken glass

Falls

“Bountiful Season for Thieves” at Maraetotara Falls

A group of seven international travelers from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Germany and France became crime victims at Maraetotara Falls whilst swimming in the water pool.

A report in the NZ Herald said:

“Frenchman Benoit Thoury said he left the swimming hole about 5pm, after a few hours in the water, to find windows of his van and a fellow backpacker’s car smashed.

The 27-year-old has been living in Hastings for three months and working on an orchard. He lost his French passport, credit cards and $200 cash, all of which had been left inside the vehicle.

He said it was his second trip to Maraetotara Falls after seeing its “beauty” earlier in the year.

“There are many families, children up there. You don’t expect that people would be smashing in windows,” said the tourist who was on his first trip to New Zealand…”

What gave him the impression that New Zealand was a safe destination for tourists, doesn’t he read the news?

Lee Tafford, the owner of Nottingley Villa, the Hastings backpacker hostel where the group was staying told the reporter

“it has been a “bountiful season” for thieves with so many break-ins at the falls, carpeting the carpark in “50 per cent gravel, 50 per cent glass”. “There is a sign up there from the police that says it’s a high crime area, but nothing seems to be done about it … A little surveillance might help.

“It really annoys me because this sort of stuff is preventable,” he said…

Other people in the group included

Krista Wu, 28, from Taiwan, lost her camera and photography equipment during the group’s ill-fated visit to the falls when fellow Taiwanese national Jake Xu, 24, also had his car broken into as they cooled off from the summer sun…

You can read the full report here.

We’ve often called for international visitors to be made more aware of the serious crime problem that is ripping through New Zealand. We have in the past called for ‘left baggage lockers’ in major tourist centres where they can secure valuables.

If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand our advice is to take as little as possible with you and never let it out of your sight.

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