Tourist Crime: Pukekohe – Juicy Van broken into – €10.000 gear stolen. Updated

The amount of crime in Pukekohe is sickening

Update: Since this page was created it has generated a tremendous amount of interest. We’re hoping that this will result in the return of the stolen property. Two days after this article was published the local press finally got to hear about the incident via social media – further evidence that police still aren’t reporting crimes to local news outlets.

The Post Newspaper, better late to the game than never…


Tourist crime is still a huge problem in New Zealand. As we’ve shown over the years, tourists are not safe even in well frequented areas.

Furthermore, thefts from cars and campervans is commonplace in New Zealand. Passport, computers, clothes, cameras and phones are often taken. Occasionally, tourists themselves are attacked and robbed.

Summer is usually the time when most tourists become crime victims in real middle earth. But, winter thefts and assaults do still happen, as this comment from a 22 year old German IT student demonstrates.

Christian Engel and Dominik Wiedmann were on a holiday of a lifetime in New Zealand. They’d been in the country for just two days before they lost everything they owned.

Small NZ towns are hotbeds of crime

Small towns in New Zealand, towns like Pukekohe are hotbeds of crime, and the police have little interest in stemming it. To add insult to injury the local police seem disinterested in their plight. Its up to the tourists to do their own investigations into who stole $16,000 NZD worth of goods.

Juicy Van broken into – €10.000 gear stolen

Hi guys, I’m still shocked about what happened today that I need to write it down.

I’m a 22 year old IT student from Germany. It’s been my dream to come to beautiful New Zealand for many years now. Around 3 months ago i finally had all the money together to book a flight for me and a friend and we just arrived two days ago.

Both of us are passionate photographers and have collected a quite amount of camera gear over the years.

We rented a juicy Campervan in Auckland and went straight a little south. We first slept at Hamiltons Gap and took some amazing images.

Yesterday we were on our way to Hamilton, when we stopped in Pukekohe to grab some stuff to eat. We went inside a subway restaurant and when we came back i saw a indigenous looking person looking inside our Juicy Chaser, smoking a cigarette and then drive off as we approached. I wasn’t really bothered about it as the van looks very funny in its green color.

We then saw that there was a girls soccer match and decided to go and take some images as well as to do some street photography. As I’m more interested in nature and especially long exposure photography I didn’t take my camera bag with me. Only my friend took his.

Since we parked right in front of a store (around 50m away from the subway restaurant on kings street) I wasn’t worried too much about possible theft. I made sure to close the van though.

We were gone for about an hour and when we came back we were shocked. Everything is gone. All of our clothes, one phone, our passports, Laptop, external hard drive, my drone (DJI Mavic Pro) especially my camera bag with all the gear inside. All gone.

I can’t describe this feeling in my stomach. It’s just so painful. I worked very hard over the years to afford the gear and to pay for this trip itself. The gear includes: – Canon 5D Mark IV, which i literally bought a week ago – Canon 60D – Canon 16-35mm lense – Canon 24-105mm lense – Lee Filters – Polariser, 2 Stop medium and hard edge ND graduated filter, 10 stop ND filter – Manfrotto BeFree teavel tripod – DJI Mavic Pro + 2 add. battery packs. – various SD cards

As it seems my insurance won’t cover the loss because I didn’t check for the option before the trip.

The police couldn’t really help much too. We had to drive 30 km to the next central police station and they didn’t even ask about the specific parking spot. I feel desperate. Aren’t they going to look for security cameras around the scene? The person looking at the van previously might be complicit.

Tomorrow we’ll visit the German consulate to get new passports. We will then head back to Pukekohe and ask some shops for footage ourselves.

We’re really feeling helpless right now. If there’s any advice some might have we’d really appreciate it.

Tldr.: Me and a friend arrived in New Zealand two days ago. Decided to park the van in front of shops and went for a short walk. All the belongings including very expensive camera gear were stolen. We literally only have left what we’re wearing right now.

Sorry for the formatting. I’m on my phone, since the laptop is gone…

…[I was] very naive, that’s true. I just would have never thought to get robbed in such a public space with shops all around the parking space.

…I did lock the car. They used a screwdriver to slide one of the windows open.

…I will post the police report we got

We called 111 and the man speaking told us that we had to go to the other city so they could have a look at the van. I didn’t quite understand it either why we couldn’t go to the local police station.


Message via Twitter. Be careful if driving around Piopio and Tongaporutu. May be time to remove rental stickers from the back of hire cars?


real news

Maybe Franklin County News should take a break from covering pie competitions, and start talking about crime in the district?

ggmsg: Shit to hear but don’t hold out much hope with the cops. I left my wallet at the gas station 2 months ago at midnight. No bank cards but my drivers licence and gun licence were in it. Who ever took it has since tried to open up 6 lines of credit online through farmers , q card etc. now these people also have a licence to get guns and ammo for their hood rat Friends . The cops haven’t even asked the gas station for the footage yet even though it would show a licence plate and 10 clear images of the people’s faces, they could also easily get the ip addresses from the finance company’s but they don’t give a flying fuck about it

Imbalance: You need to go to the media, and get a lot of exposure, ESPECIALLY this part here:

The police couldn’t really help much too. We had to drive 30 km to the next central police station and they didn’t even ask about the specific parking spot.

NZ police do not act if they can get away with it. Telling you from experience, you must have media exposure to put pressure on them. They need to know that there will be repercussions for inaction and the public being aware of that inaction is the easiest way to do it. A crime was committed, this is their job.

Liefanator: Even if they didn’t lock the vehicle, Pukekohe has had a bad spat of car break-ins the past couple months. Our car was locked, in the drive way right next to the house, and the little shit heads broke the lock on the door on one side and bent the hell out of the window seals on the other side.

Security lockers

For many years we’ve been advocating the use of security lockers for tourists: safe places where they can lock up valuable possessions so that they don’t have to leave them in cars and campervans.

However, tourist authorities would rather pretend that tourist thefts aren’t a problem, and that police give a damn about crime in their districts

We say, rather than become a victim of crime in New Zealand, chose somewhere else to vacation.

3 thoughts on “Tourist Crime: Pukekohe – Juicy Van broken into – €10.000 gear stolen. Updated

  1. My wife and I were assaulted in Russell Northland ,the offenders defence in court was that they thought we were English tourists ,I had a broken wrist and leg injuries after a motorcycle accident at the time .The offenders were given diversion ? Whatever that is anyway they left the country shortly thereafter and went to live in Australia,wonder why Australia doesn’t welcome kiwis anymore.

  2. I truly feel for this guy. Speaking from my own experience as a victim of similar crimes – it’s that feeling of being violated as much as the material loss.

    To use the raw kiwi vernacular – tourists are ‘easy meat’ in New Zealand (perhaps this goes with the macho hunting ethos which exists in these islands?).

    Part of the kiwi mind-set harbours some pretty strong feelings of resentment and jealousy when it comes to overseas visitors. Many kiwis see all foreigners (in general) as having ‘too much money’ and being ‘way too smart for their own good’ (I am something of an ex-bar fly and used to hear this type of talk all the time).

    The fact that tourism contributes such a substantial amount of revenue to the New Zealand economy seems to matter not. As the lady at the local service station said to me recently “We don’t want these people here ruining our little piece of paradise…” The fact that most of her paradise has already been ruined by deforestation and cow shit – and the fact that ‘these people’ contribute to her own wage packet (again) seem to matter not.

    My advice to any potential overseas visitors coming to these shores is to not let your guard down. Do not let any preconceived ideas you may have of New Zealand (especially about the friendliness and generosity of the people) get the better of you. Yes – there are exceptions but it is perhaps worthwhile remembering that if you get into a situation in small town New Zealand you can be a long way from genuine bona fide ‘help’ (we are all surely familiar with the movie Deliverance).

  3. As a Kiwi I am gutted that this shit happens every single day, and night! What I hate the most is the bullshit that the government of this country feeds you that New Zealand is 100% Pure, clean, green, safe, blah blah! It’s sad that people wanting to come here based on the hype are pillaged so badly by the people of New Zealand. It is true the cops are piss useless and on top of that, if they ever find any of your stuff, or the human garbage who stole it, or even the assholes who bash or murder and rob you here, in such large numbers, in this great country, judges bend in favour of the criminal because the country is too broke to give you justice and the cops are too inept to make it stick. It would not be unreasonable for every tourist/immigrant to New Zealand to expect to be the victim of any one or more of these crimes. The best advice I can give you is to trust no Kiwi, believe nothing coming out of NZ about how great it is, not even from your friends, hide everything and leave nothing in your hotel/motel/hostel or campervan and never, ever venture out on your own at night. Kiwis will attack even two or three tourists at a time. Good luck. Sorry you lost your stuff.

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