A Greek tourist in her 40s, while traveling in New Zealand's Bay of Islands for a month on a trip of a lifetime, had her cash (1500 euros), credit cards, passport and airline tickets stolen after she permitted a man who she had befriended to stay overnight in her motel room.
The incident occurred on Thursday (February 2), the day before she was scheduled to return to Greece.
Fortunately, once it became publicized as to what happened to the woman, locals and fellow travelers contributed cash to help her return home.
According to police, the victim had a chance meeting with three local men when she asked for directions to Long Beach while traveling in Russell on Wednesday (February 1).
After visiting the beach, the woman and her three new "friends" had a meal at a restaurant in Russell. Later in the day one of the men returned to Paihia with the woman to where she was staying. Subsequently, the woman fell asleep and when she woke her backpack had been stolen, as well her rental car.
COMMENT: As most of our regular readers are aware of, crime in New Zealand has been on the rise in recent months. Consequently, tourists and travelers should not let the relaxed, friendly nature of the islands lure them into a false sense of security. In this regard, it is good to be outwardly friendly, but internally suspicious of new acquaintances.
While a large part of international tourism is meeting new people and getting to know locals and the culture, one helpful is if you're going to overnight with someone, do it at their "place," rather than exposing your money and valuables to theft.
Another approach is to use a hotel that has in-lobby safe deposit boxes so that your valuables can be safeguarded.
Finally, put your valuables in an envelope and tape it to the back of a picture frame. Duct tape is a must for all travelers.
Crime victims in New Zealand should also be cognizant of the fact that the country does have a victim compensation program (https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives).