Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Zealand: Seven Backpackers Have Their Vehicles Broken Into…Everything Taken

Police in New Zealand need to protect tourists far better than they are at the moment!

According to, seven backpackers from several nations had their vehicles broken into and all their valuables stolen in parked and locked vehicles in Maraetotara Falls Reserve this week.

Unfortunately, the backpackers visiting one of Hawke's Bay's most popular and pristine tourist locations were victims of a daylight breaking-and-entering of their locked vehicles.
The group of young travelers from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Germany and France went swimming at Maraetotara Falls, which is halfway between Havelock North and Waimarama, on Wednesday (January 22), unaware they would be the targets of brazen thieves.
Frenchman Benoit Thoury, 27, said he left the swimming hole about 1700 hours, after a few hours in the water, to find windows of his van and a fellow backpacker's vehicle windows smashed and all valuables stolen. 
Thoury had been living in Hastings for three months and working at an orchard. He lost his passport, credit cards and $200 cash, all of which had been left inside his vehicle.

COMMENT: First of all, let's take a breath and review the facts: It is daylight. A park lauded as one of the best places in tourism brochures to visit and enjoy. 

Yet, why is it that groups' vehicles were broken into and all their valuables stolen on the trip of a lifetime?

The answer...simply because uniformed police were NOT assigned to Maraetotara Falls to protect the belongings of tourists who traveled such a long way to visit majestic New Zealand.  
Interestingly, the police have put up signs warning tourists  that indicate the area is known for "high crime," yet no police were assigned to the Falls to protect tourists' belongings and vehicles.
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.
Senior Sergeant Dave Sutherland said several car break-ins this summer had been reported at Maraetotara Falls, yet why would the police, who acknowledge that vehicle break-ins have occurred in the past, NOT assign officers to an area where foreseeable crimes have occurred? 

I have been advising travelers for years that New Zealand is NOT a low-risk destination.

I urge that you type "New Zealand" under the "posts" section of my site and see the 95 incidents that have saddened trips with high expectations.

Unfortunately, few tourism brochures in New Zealand are distributed that are entitled "How to Have a Crime-Free Visit to New Zealand."

A final note. Anyone traveling by vehicle in New Zealand should consider the following:

1. Insure all photography equipment, MP-3,4 players, laptops, peripherals, lenses, etc. through the below website:; 

2. Fully insure any vehicles you are driving to include damage caused by criminals;

3. Do NOT leave any backpacks, cameras, laptops or anything of value in clear view in any vehicle; and

4. If in a group, leave one person to guard your vehicle(s) and relieve that person periodically.