US and British Students Who Died on Lake Tekapo Named as Daniel Thomas Hollnsteiner and James Robert Murphy

Daniel Hollnsteiner

Daniel Hollnsteiner

James Murphy

James Murphy

The two tourists who died on Lake Tekapo yesterday have been named as Daniel Thomas Hollnsteiner, 21, from New York, USA and James Robert Murphy, 20, from London, UK. Our deepest condolences are extended to the men’s family and friends for their loss.

Daniel and James were travelling with an exchange group from Monash University in Australia, visiting New Zealand during a mid-semester break.

lake tekapo canoe

One of the ill fated kayaks on the shore of Lake Tekapo (source

Daniel and James’ deaths were the latest in a succession of tragedies to affect New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry, which in the past has come in for criticism for being poorly regulated and with lax safety standards.

The father of Emily Jordan, a British woman killed while river boarding, spearheaded a campaign with other bereaved families to get New Zealand to tighten up its standards. Emily’s father Chris wrote to Prime Minister Key calling safety regulation in New Zealand “third world“.

 March 2013

“A group of 200 international families have decided enough is enough and are campaigning for a tightening up of New Zealand’s perceived lax safety standards. This is probably a continuation of the campaign that was started in 2010 by the families of British tourists  Emily Jordan, Sarah Bond and Tom Sewell .

This article in the Herald was published days after Auckland man Clifford Brabet died on a team building exercise at the Treetops high ropes activity centre at Woodhill, Auckland.

There have also been other New Zealand deaths, not least the tragic deaths of student Catherine Peters, the 6 high school students and a teacher who died in a canyoning exercise with the Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Centre and the Kiwis who were killed in the Fox Glacier plane crash (9 dead) and the Carterton hot air balloon disaster (11 dead)…

The mother of Sarah Bond spoke about New Zealand’s “she’ll be right” attitude:

What underpins all of this is the lack of safety and lack of care out there,” said her mother, Elizabeth Bond. “It feels like ‘accidents happen’ is their mantra.”

read full article

Both the Australian and British governments have advised their citizens about safety in New Zealand, but despite the warnings the deaths still continue.

British advice

The British government’s advice to travellers

Australian travel advice about NZ

The Australian government’s advice.

For background to the Lake Tekapo tragedy read yesterday’s article:
Two More Adventure Tourism Deaths in NZ – Overseas Tourists Die in Kayaking Expedition on Lake Tekapo

For more about Adventure Tourism Deaths in New Zealand click here: LINK

4 thoughts on “US and British Students Who Died on Lake Tekapo Named as Daniel Thomas Hollnsteiner and James Robert Murphy

  1. This is typical of the appalling safety standards in New Zealand. New Zealand is definitely a second world country when it comes to safety for tourists visiting NZ and taking part in adventurous activities. Tourists receive no safety advice & there is a definite ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude by most New Zealanders towards safety. Coming from the UK I have been shocked by the lack of safety awareness displayed by New Zealanders. My advice to anyone visiting New Zealand from UK or USA or other countries
    is be very careful when taking part in adventurous activities in New Zealand as the weather in NZ changes very, very quickly & you will receive next to no appropriate advice on safety or weather conditions from most New Zealanders.

  2. I feel public notices on lake safety in New Zealand are a must for example if people want to go near the lake in winter, public warning signs must be made mandatory and when it comes to kayak operators, I think there should be safety legislation governing them

    • I am not one for over regulation. But when you figure that most of these kids come from a place that does regulate and are going to a “she’ll be right” [often when it is not] location, this is a recipe for disaster.
      The operators of the activity should have a responsibility to advise, instruct, and equip their patrons, but most are only interested in getting their money. Any one of the “advise, instruct, and equip”, if it had been prescribed, might have averted the tragedy.
      As a tourist, you should not have to worry if you are going to make it out alive. Maybe that’s where the adrenalin comes from, life and death situations will do that to you. Maybe that’s where the “adventure” comes from, in NZ.

  3. Police inspector Dave Gaskin said: “Lake Tekapo’s an extremely dangerous lake, it’s extremely savage. It’s very, very cold, the winds get up very quickly.”

    “It appears their boats got swamped and they were tipped out … they’ve just got caught out by a freak wind, unfortunately here we do get freak winds too regularly.” If the wind picks up regularly, it is not freak. It is a standing condition that needs to be advised about.

    Had they been warned? Did they have wetsuits on? Did they have an emergency beacon? In other words, had they been correctly outfitted? If the water was cold enough to give them hypothermia, shouldn’t have they had some “local knowledge” such as “extremely dangerous lake, it’s extremely savage” and “very, very cold” with appropriate precautions by the vendor providing the kayaks?

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