Tourists Have “Overstayed Their Welcome” in Kaikoura. They’re Now Considered Malingerers, While Locals ‘Sign the Pledge’


The headline from the NZ Herald 18 Nov 2016

If you follow E2NZ on Twitter you’ll know we’ve been talking to tourists trapped in Kaikoura after the devastating quake on 13 November 2016.

Tensions have been running high in the small town since the magnitude 7.8 earthquake which rendered it landlocked and cut off from essential services.

At the 1 pm daily meetings people gathered on the grassy knoll for status updates – how to register to get out, who would get evacuation priority, and the mode of transport.

Carping started from day one. People were upset that Chinese tourists were evacuated by their embassy. Comments about all available helicopters being chartered by Chinese, with the locals being unable to access them started to proliferate. The cost of a flight out of town was said to be $200 a head.

Retired rugby hero Richie McCaw, now a commercial helicopter pilot,  was even seen evacuating Chinese visitors out of the town. A double whammy for the locals who had to remain.

Locals on high ground woke the morning after the tsunami to find camper vans and displaced tourists who’d fled the flood camped outside their homes. Some were quick to complain about “some ethnic groups” that “shit on the footpath”.


Reddit user sis-nz has this to say about fellow earthquake victims

Forgetting that hours before they probably cheerfully sold goods and services to the same “ethnic groups” that they now turn their noses up at.

One has to wonder, how many offered the “ethnic groups” use of their own facilities?


Tourists fled to high ground to escape the tsunami

At the 1 pm briefings some Kaikoura locals complained loudly about visitors getting airlifted while they were told they had to stay to ‘help with the recovery’. Others complained on social media that they wanted to be evacuated but had to stay to provide essential services. There was seemingly no countenance of the more sensible option of evacuating the whole town until water, electricity and sewerage were re-connected.

‘Signing the pledge’

But this practice of making locals stay put after an earthquake is nothing new in New Zealand.

After the Christchurch earthquake people were guilt-tripped into staying in the city, there were fears a mass exodus would prevent the city from recovering and take much needed revenue away.

The societal obligation and peer pressure to stay was so great that people were being told to sign pledges to remain, rather than opt for an evacuation that would have protected their personal safety and mental wellbeing. Read more about signing The Pledge

New Zealand First MP attacks tourists for being tourists in Kaikoura

Finally, the trauma and stress of the last few days reached a peak with a MP complaining that tourists are daring to be tourists in the town, and are a burden on the locals.

They’ve “overstayed their welcome”.  Remember, this is a town that depends on tourists for its livelihood and will die without them. Also consider this: food and supplies are being transported into Kaikoura based on the number of people still there. Everyone is getting their fair share and it’s all donated in good faith and with generosity of spirit for everyone to use, not just the locals.

Some visitors have chosen to remain in Kaikoura because they’ve been told a land route will be opened Friday or Saturday. They stay because they want to drive their vehicles out or have nowhere else to stay, not because they’re freeloading off the locals. They’d probably spend their cash in the town if they could, there’s an ATM for them to use but what can they spend it on?.

They’re not “freeloading”. For some reason It’s ok for the locals to have a beer and relax to try to get over their earthquake trauma, but not people living out of caravans and tents?

Here’s what the NZ media are writing about it. Interestingly, it’s an MP from New Zealand First who is making these comments…

Stranded tourists are drinking and partying through the night causing grief for locals dealing with the quake calamity, an MP claims.

New Zealand First deputy leader Ron Mark says some people initially stranded in the tourist town were now taking advantage of the generosity of locals, receiving free food and hand-outs and partying into the small hours.

About 1000 tourists trapped by Monday’s 7.8 earthquake have been flown or shipped out of the region in a major mass evacuation this week.

But Mark said some had more than outstayed their welcome and were causing problems.

“During a visit by New Zealand First to Kaikoura this morning, we were advised there is some frustration with non-locals and non-emergency helpers who have decided to prolong their stay in the town and are accepting the tremendous generosity of locals.

“Some of these people have been spending their nights drinking and partying.”

He said locals were frustrated and wanted those who weren’t part of the community or the rescue effort to leave town.

Mark said the Government needed to step in and instruct police to request those who were “malingering” in Kaikoura to continue their travels before they started over-staying their welcome.

“Kiwis are known as being generous and hospitable – but it only goes so far. These people who are prolonging their stay and receiving free food and hand-outs should be advised to move on.” source New Zealand Herald

We say cut the tourists some slack. They’ll be gone soon enough and then Kaikoura will be desperate to have them, and their tourist dollars, back. More so now that the Marine Tourism Industry’s infrastructure and natural resources have taken such a hit – sadly that aspect of Kaikoura’s tourism may never recover.

Thinking of visiting Kaikoura? Do the residents a favor – don’t visit until the town is 100% up and running and its infrastructure is fully repaired. This may mean waiting a long time until the aftershocks have died down. But wait you must.

Kaikoura needs to be fully able to allow you to spend your tourist dollar there. Until then you’ll just be burden.

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16 thoughts on “Tourists Have “Overstayed Their Welcome” in Kaikoura. They’re Now Considered Malingerers, While Locals ‘Sign the Pledge’

  1. It’s so good that prime minister John Key had a chance meeting with “hero”ex all black captain Kirwin or whatever his name is during the Kiakora public relations visit ,what are the odds hero helicopter pilot meets the nicest man of all time John Key in Kaikora ,makes me so proud ,that I know better.

  2. It kind of says something about the real state of the New Zealand economy that the Chinese tourists were airlifted out by helicopters HIRED BY THE CHINESE EMBASSY, while the New Zealand government clearly didn’t have the money to help their own residents. China, a country not known for its wealth or humanistic attitudes, did much better in the way it treated its own people, even when located on the other side of the world, than New Zealand did in their own back yard.

    The people in Kaikoura shouldn’t be annoyed at “certain ethnic groups” but instead be annoyed at themselves and their fellow Kiwis for being too BROKE, too UNPREPARED, and too RELIANT ON A GOVERNMENT THAT DOESN’T GIVE A SH*T ABOUT THEM.

    I guess it is far easier to blame others based on their race than it is to face the fact that this wasn’t about race at all, it was about what country had the MONEY and the RIGHT ATTITUDE to help their citizens, when they were caught in an emergency situation – apparently China does and New Zealand doesn’t.

    • Xavier Money,


      After reading about the very slow rebuild at Christchurch, I wondered whether or not NZ really had the financial resources to recover from the disaster. Another severe earthquake might indeed be the last straw.

      • 1 more big quake in the south island within the next year will be suffecient to officially send the island back to the 3rd world. Insurance will be withdrawn and the property market aka ponzi scheme will fail. It’s a ticking time bomb and I’m surprised no one is talking about it.

      • Personally, I believe Christchurch was a litmus test for the true condition of the New Zealand economy and the ability of the country to recover from major disaster. New Zealand WAS a wealthy country in the 1970s, where the average income was the 3rd highest in the world. At that stage it was a much better country. Incomes were comparable to Australia, and much of what exists in New Zealand was built during this time. However, the state of New Zealand has been on a steady decline since then.

        It’s now reached a point where New Zealand is NOT CAPABLE of recovering from large scale disaster. Certain parts of Christchurch such as the QE2 complex will never be rebuilt, purely because the money is not there to do so. When a big quake hits another area like Wellington and cause more large scale destruction, the country will never recover. This is not a question of if, but when; it is going to happen at some point.

        Here are two documentaries made in 1996. One of these is on Christchurch, and the other is on Wellington. The Christchurch one accurately predicted what happened in the Garden City.

        The elephant in the room, of course, is the Alpine fault. Earthquake size is directly connected to the size of the fault-line causing them. The Christchurch quake of 7.3 was caused by a fault-line around 21 km long. The Alpine Fault is over 400 km long, making it capable of producing some of the largest earthquakes in the world (most quakes on the fault are 7.8 or above). This fault becomes active averaging every 300 years; the last major quake was in 1717 (299 years ago). It is therefore likely that a major quake will strike the Alpine Fault soon, though in geological terms “soon” could mean 30 years away. When a large quake comes from the Alpine Fault, it will affect every city in the South Island.

        • Xavier,

          So, another earthquake would probably indeed be the last straw and there’s a high probability of another severe earthquake occurring. Good luck NZ!

  3. Only makes it clear, that when a natural disaster happens in NZ …
    that a pattern of behaviour will be repeated, and you can “predict the actions of the locals”.
    Maybe the next time something happens, the tourists will be gone in a jiffy, and the repairs will be completed in no time?

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I wonder if our mate from Kaikoura has returned to his trolling.

    It is ironic that Kiwis complain of freeloading when they are the consummate freeloaders. Australians will recall the planeloads of Kiwi beneficiaries heading back to New Zealand when John Howard ended the policy of automatically granting Kiwis permanent residency and access to welfare benefits. The freeloaders were very quick to leave Australia. It is always funny how Kiwis complain about the Australian government not granting them welfare or other benefits. If they want access to the safety net, then they need to go through the process of applying for permanent residency just as other immigrants to Australia.

    Kaikoura is a typical Podunk New Zealand small town where the vampire locals try to suck the money from the tourists. Admittedly, the scenery is nice. However, the town is full of people who regard tourists as existing solely as piggybanks. Most of the tourist operators in Kaikoura and throughout New Zealand charge extremely high prices for nothing out of the ordinary. The earthquake will force these vultures to have to upgrade their services or end up having to do something else.

  5. Ironic how Kiwis accuse the tourists of ‘freeloading’, when Kiwis are the most freeloading, using detritus I have ever known.

    If it wasn’t for tourists and students and everyone else who wastes their time and money coming to New Zealand, Kiwis wouldn’t be shit.

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