Neighbourhood Support groups can reduce crime by up to 28%

Safer Communities

Prevention through intervention

Early intervention means identifying and providing effective early support to children and young people who are at risk of poor outcomes.

Effective early intervention works to prevent problems occurring, or to tackle them head-on when they do, before problems get worse. It also helps to foster a whole set of personal strengths and skills that prepare a child for adult life.

Early intervention can take many forms, ranging from home visiting programmes to assist vulnerable parents to school-based programmes to improve children's social and emotional skills to mentoring programmes for young people who are at risk of becoming involved in crime.

While some argue that early intervention has the greatest impact when provided during the first few years of life, the best evidence indicates that effective interventions can improve children's life chances at any point during childhood and adolescence.

Universal or targeted?

Many families need more support than is available through universal services, such as schools and GPs. Early intervention works best when it targets particular families or individuals, on a selective or indicated basis.

  • Families are offered targeted selective interventions based on broad demographic risks such as low family income, single parenthood, adolescent parenthood, or ethnic minority status. Although children growing up in these circumstances may not experience any specific problems, interventions that select families based on these types of risks have the potential to prevent more serious problems from occurring.
  • Families who have been identified as having a specific or diagnosed problem that requires more intensive support are offered targeted interventions. In these cases, early intervention cannot prevent problems from occurring, but it has the potential to aid in the treatment of problems and the reduction or reversal of long-term effects on a child's development.

What can early intervention achieve? 

Early intervention approaches often focus on supporting four key aspects of child development – physical, cognitive, behavioural, and social and emotional development – where it has the greatest potential to make a difference and provide benefits throughout a person's life.

  • Physical development involves children's physical health, maturation, and the presence or absence of a physical disability, and it serves as the foundation for positive development in all other areas. Physical outcomes targeted by early intervention activities include improved birth outcomes, a reduction in infectious disease incidence, and a reduction in childhood obesity.
  • Children's cognitive development includes the acquisition of speech and language skills, the ability to read and write, numeracy skills, and an understanding of logical problem-solving. Positive cognitive development is strongly linked to a child's academic success and entry into the labour force. Early intervention typically focuses on cognitive outcomes such as performance on standardised tests, school achievement, and opportunities for higher education and employment after they leave school.
  • Behavioural development involves children’s ability to monitor and regulate their own behaviour, attention and impulses. Children's self-regulation abilities are strongly linked to their ability to form positive relationships with others, as well as their academic success. Difficulties with behavioural self-regulation in childhood are highly predictive of children's involvement in criminal activity in their adolescence and adulthood. Early intervention is frequently used to reduce antisocial behaviour and crime, violence and aggression at school, and affiliation with antisocial peers.
  • Children's social and emotional development includes becoming aware of their own emotional needs as well as the emotional needs of others. Social and emotional development also includes the growth of children's self-esteem and ability to manage negative emotions. Social and emotional development is strongly linked to a child's ability to form positive relationships with others, as well as a lower risk of depression and other mental health outcomes. Early intervention outcomes related to children's social and emotional development include increased prosocial behaviour, improved self-esteem, and a decrease in the prevalence of clinically diagnosed mental health problems.

Early intervention also focuses on three additional 'threats' to a child's development that have been linked to poor outcomes in adolescence and adulthood: child maltreatment, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviour.

In New Zealand, the Advisory Group on Conduct Problems1 (AGCP) and the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (Superu) identified programmes that are likely to be effective for under 13 year olds with conduct problems. 

Nurse-Family Partnership Programme

The Nurse-Family Partnership Programme provides nurse home visits for first time mothers, most of whom are disadvantaged (e.g. low socio-economic status, little education) during their pregnancy and the first two years of their child’s life. Three separate randomised controlled trials found this programme led to a range of sustained positive outcomes, including in one trial to fewer arrests and convictions in adolescence.

Early Start

The Early Start Project Ltd runs Early Start, a targeted, intensive home visiting service for vulnerable families in the Christchurch region. This service aims to improve child and family wellbeing. In a randomised controlled trial, Fergusson et al. found that Early Start had beneficial effects across a number of areas including lowering rates of childhood problem behaviours at ages three and nine. The results showed Early Start had similar beneficial effects for Māori and non-māori families.

Family Start

Family Start is another intensive home visiting programme. It is run by a range of providers throughout New Zealand. A recent quasi experimental study found that Family Start has beneficial effects for vulnerable children.

Well Child/Tamariki Ora

Well Child/Tamariki Ora is a free service for all children from birth to five years. It consists of health assessments, health promotion and support services for these children and their families. It includes evidence-based assessment of the children’s development and behaviour, such as the B4 School Check for four year olds.

Incredible Years Parent

Incredible Years Parent is a targeted programme designed to enhance parents’ parenting skills. It is funded and provided by the Ministry of Education (MOE) under PB4L. MOE provides Incredible Years Parent because it has a strong evidence baseix and the AGCP identified it as an effective programme.x Sturrock et al. concluded that Incredible Years Parent led to sustained improvements in child behaviour, and that these improvements were similar for Māori and non-Māori families.

Triple P Positive Parenting Programme

The Triple P Positive Parenting Programme provides parents with strategies to help them manage their children’s behaviour. It consists of a suite of interventions of increasing intensity from level 1 (universal) to level 5 (intensive support).

PB4L School-Wide

PB4L School-Wide is a framework that helps schools build a positive school-wide culture of shared values and behaviour expectations that support learning. A report by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research found that School-Wide has contributed to positive changes in school culture and a decrease in major behaviour incidents.

Crime prevention through environmental design

The design of buildings and the arrangement of streets, parks and other outdoor spaces can influence the opportunity for crime and the level of fear of crime. 

Careful environmental design can help make places less susceptible to crime and enable people to feel more comfortable outdoors. 

Individuals are not at a high risk of becoming victims of crime, according to crime statistics. However, these figures bear no resemblance to the level of fear individuals may have at the possibility of becoming a victim. It is this fear of crime, particularly of attacks associated with theft or sexual motives, which inhibits the mobility of community members. Women and the elderly, for example, suffer disproportionately from the fear of crime. 

Improving the quality of life by reducing crime and the fear of crime is critical and a basic human right. One important strategy for accomplishing this is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design ("CPTED").

Visit to read how environmental design can help prevent crime with illustrations. 

How can we make our parks, reserves and waterways feel safer? 

Parks, reserves and routes alongside waterways are often perceived as being unsafe areas, especially after dark. The application of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles can help to increase the usage of these areas and decrease the fear of crime. The safety of parks, reserves and waterways will be affected by:

  • Their location and layout
  • Their relationship with surrounding activities
  • The activities contained within them 
  • The design and location of landscaping and structures within them

Visit to read how we can make our parks, reserves and waterways feel safer with illustrations. 

How can we make our streets and car parks feel safer? 

The street space and car parks have traditionally been designed to meet the needs of drivers and to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists are protected from accidents involving vehicles. However these spaces also make up a major part of the outdoor environment, in which people should be able to be safe and feel safe from crime. The application of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles can help to make our streets and car parks feel safer. 

Visit to read how we can make our streets and car parks feel safer with illustrations. 

Neighbours looking out for each other

We all want to be safe in our homes. The best way to reduce this kind of crime is for communities and the Police to work together.

Community support groups are aimed at reducing crime by encouraging people to look out for each other in their neighbourhood.

These schemes recognised that, with the Police, communities could reduce crime and foster a feeling of security and well-being. 

Fewer homes have been burgled in the last five years because of community support groups. It's that simple.

Neighbourhood Support

Neighbourhood Support is a nationwide community led movement that brings people and neighbourhoods together to create safe, resilient and connected communities. They are a registered charity and since 1999 have been working alongside New Zealand Police and other partners to equip neighbourhoods to improve safety, be prepared for emergencies and support one another so that our communities are great places to live.

Why join?

A well-connected community helps to improve the safety, resilience and well-being of all residents. When you join a Neighbourhood Support group you will:

  • Have a great way to get to know the people that live around you.
  • Receive emails and alerts that will keep you up-to-date with news from their community partners, including New Zealand Police.
  • Gain tips and resources to improve your household and neighbourhood safety.
  • Learn how you can be better prepared for emergencies.

By working together we can support each other, solve local issues and make our neighbourhoods safer and more welcoming. Best of all, it’s FREE to join!

How do I get involved?

It’s easy! You can either join an existing group or form a new one. When you join a group you get to decide what works best for you. You can share the information you want with who you want and your group can meet when and how it likes.

You could:

  • Meet regularly or as needed.
  • Stay connected online or by email.
  • Host street barbecues or events.
  • Volunteer to be a street contact.
  • Get organised and undertake some neighbourhood projects.

As a network of Neighbourhood Support community organisations, their members span all 12 Police Districts and currently support over 220,000 households and counting across the country.

Being involved in Neighbourhood Support comes in many shapes and forms.

Whatever works best for you and your community!

To learn more, visit their website - or give them a call on 0800 4NEIGHBOURS or contact your local coordinator.

Ready to get involved? Click here.

What are community support groups?

A support group helps to reduce local crime. It can respond quickly to emergencies and it can help to solve community problems. A support group is especially important for older people and those who live alone, they gain comfort from knowing that help is nearby. Older people can often contribute much knowledge and time as these groups don't take a lot of time or entail a lot of work. That's why they are so successful.

Community support groups were introduced to New Zealand in 1979 with the aim of reducing crime by empowering community members to look after one another. These initiatives recognised that, in partnership with the Police, communities could reduce crime and thereby have a positive effect by fostering a feeling of security and wellbeing. It also recognised that crime was not just the responsibility of the Police.

In many areas, support groups have drawn community members together, as they discuss their own particular circumstances and methods of keeping their community safe. For some people - particularly those who might feel vulnerable such as the elderly or women living alone - support groups can provide a sense of security they would not otherwise have.

Community support groups are active throughout the country, not only ensuring the physical security of its members but also responding to social problems. They can be instrumental in identifying and dealing with crimes such as family violence and sexual offences. And the victims of crime are offered support within the community to help them with court appearances, welfare and so on.

Support groups can be informal, such as watching out for a neighbour's house while they are away, or in the nature of a formal group that holds regular meetings and plans safer community strategies.

They are generally established from the desire of a small group of residents to strengthen their sense of security, for any number of reasons. It may be that a burglary has occurred, or that it's holiday time and neighbours are discussing how their homes will be safeguarded while they are away.

The success of these groups, like many organisations, depends on the commitment of its members. It does not usually involve a lot of work, but what is important is the desire to act together for the common good.

A small group of 10 to 12 houses in a street is a good number to start a community support group. Ring a community constable and arrange a time for the group to get together with the Police officer to discuss how best to set up the group, the issues that concern you and the best way to look after each other. A meeting at someone's house is ideal. Make the meeting informal and relaxed.

Other support groups may be operating in your area. Find out where they are and link up with them.

Appoint a street coordinator for your group who can arrange meetings and liaise with other groups. If there are other groups in your street, liaise with them and appoint a street coordinator, who can provide a link between the groups and a larger neighbourhood-wide group. This neighbourhood-wide group might also have an area coordinator who can liaise with the Police and distribute information back to the street and group coordinators.

Some support groups hold public meetings and distribute regular newsletters to get information out to the community.

In rural communities, a support group might be just a few houses but cover a wide area. Groups can be established for much the same reasons as those in suburban areas, but lines of communication are likely to be different because of the physical distance between properties. Work out with those in the group how you will call each other for help and when each of you is home. If properties are within sight and sound of each other, consider ways of alerting each other such as fog horns, sirens, electric bells, car horns, flares, torches or flashing vehicle lights.

Don't go alone if you respond to a call for help. Get another neighbour to meet you there, or at least let them know where you are going and get them to come and help if they have not heard from you within a specified time. Rural groups should contact elderly neighbours or people with disabilities regularly to see if they are OK.

The network philosophy of support groups has also worked well in civil defence emergencies. They can act first to make the community aware of its responsibilities, prepare the community for an emergency, and then act as the first response team if an emergency occurs. It is likely that in a big event such as a severe earthquake or flooding, communities will have to look after themselves for some time before rescue teams can be activated and services such as water and power can be restored.

A well-coordinated support group could be the difference between life and death in such situations.

Commonsense-plus structure

A community support group can result in a better quality of life in your area. Everyone is encouraged to think ahead and to notice things.

Group members learn to:

  • Recognise the signs that a crime is being planned
  • Report any suspicious events immediately
  • Prevent burglaries
  • Protect their property
  • Keep people safe

Street signs and stickers

Signs advertising your community support group send a powerful message. Stick them on telephone poles, letterboxes and fences. When criminals see these signs they usually go away.

Know your neighbours

The most important step to a safer community is to know your neighbours. Know their routines, and know when your neighbours are going on holiday or business trips. Swap holiday addresses and phone numbers. Know when they expect visitors and tradespeople and if you think something is wrong, phone your local Police station at once. For anything urgent, dial 111.

How to be a good neighbour If your neighbours are away, you can help in many ways. Offer to make their house look lived in by:

  • turning on lights and television at night
  • drawing curtains at night and opening them in the day
  • mowing lawns
  • clearing their mail, especially junk mail and newspapers
  • using their clothesline or driveway sometimes

Be alert

Watch their home. Question strangers, but don't say the neighbours are away. Notice any strangers around your neighbourhood, including children.

Write down their description, and note the time and date.

Write down the registration number of unfamiliar cars, vans, motorbikes or trucks. Report anything suspicious to your local Police station.

There are lots of ways you might structure your group - every group is different because every neighbourhood is different.

Groups appoint a group contact person and sometimes a street and/or area contact person, but you can do things your own way, just make sure that the work is shared!

Should you invite everyone in your neighbourhood to join your group? You can just start with the people you know. If your neighbours include some people you don't trust there's no need to invite them to join your group. But you might also consider that good neighbours are often discovered through the process of meeting people you may have previously had little to do with and might have held misconceptions about.

Starting a rural support group

These are exactly like other support groups, except that in the country your neighbourhood is larger and probably sparsely populated. Most country districts already have a strong community network, a rural support group makes that network more efficient. Discuss practical ways of calling for help, for example; sirens, car horns, fog horns, mobiles, or flashing car-lights.

Avoid going alone when you respond to a call for help. If you do, at least tell somebody first, or call your local Police and let them know what you are doing. Your safety is most important.

Keep learning

Invite key people to meetings to advise or train your community support group. This helps to keep the group alive. Having the occasional public meeting can get more people joining in, too. For example, you could invite:

  • Your community constable or local Police to advise about safety matters.
  • A Civil Defence officer to tell you what to do in a disaster.
  • A qualified first aid trainer to teach you first aid including CPR.
  • A self-defence instructor.

Community Patrols of New Zealand

Community Patrols of New Zealand (CPNZ) is a national organisation that was formed in 2002. Local Community Patrol members are drawn from the community and help their local Police to reduce crime. CPNZ supports over 5,000 volunteers in over 170 affiliated Community Patrols throughout New Zealand. Volunteers go out in two-person teams for a few hours during the night. They probably do their stint once a month. They are not Police volunteers. Patrollers not only help themselves and their community but the Police too, as eyes and ears.

In partnership with others, they prevent crime and reduce harm through the active presence of trained patrollers. CPNZ’s vision is a New Zealand where everyone feels safe. Volunteers work closely with Police and other agencies as extra “eyes and ears” through intelligence and observation to build safer communities.

Community Patrol groups are in all Police Districts. Each patrol is organised and run by its members. Each has a Police liaison officer, generally the local community constable. The Police provide training, and CPNZ has training materials available.

A community without a patrol, and which wishes to form one, can contact either their local community constable or CPNZ, which will help to set up a group. Join CPNZ:

Safer communities with the Police

The Police will always respond to emergencies where a child's life or immediate well-being is in danger. However, they also recognise that they can build safer communities by helping parents create a safe and positive home life for their children.

The Police have many programmes that encourage young people to take a responsible role in society and to contribute positively to the community in which they live. One of these programmes is the Law Related Education Programme.

Specially trained Police officers, in partnership with teachers, social workers and community workers, help educate children about such topics as crime prevention, traffic safety, community policing and victim support. Two of the biggest programmes under the Law Related Education umbrella are Keeping Ourselves Safe, a very successful programme for children about the dangers of sexual abuse, and DARE, which looks at drug and alcohol issues.

The Police have also been involved in programmes such as: 

  • The Role of the Police
  • Safe Walking
  • Safe Cycling
  • Safely Home
  • Minder (babysitting)
  • Fingerprinting
  • Emergency Situations (dial 111)
  • Keeping Law and Order
  • Lost
  • Search and Rescue
  • Stealing
  • Vandalism
  • Kia Ka Ha (bullying)
  • Oranga Tamariki

Oranga Tamariki sees as its vision "all families meeting their care, control and support responsibilities". The service works with other groups for the protection, well-being and best management of children in safe families. They aim to include family/whanau in the decision-making process for children and young people. It provides care and protection for children and young people when they are believed to be "at-risk" because they are experiencing (or are likely to experience) such things as physical or sexual abuse, violence and conflict between their caregivers, emotional or physical neglect, or mistreatment from caregivers

The service also provides youth justice, which is a special section of the law that deals with offending by children aged 10-13 years and young people aged 14-16 years. Children and young people who break the law are treated differently from adults who offend. The law makes sure they are accountable and encouraged to accept responsibility for their offending, but also aims to help young offenders learn from their mistakes and develop in a socially acceptable way.

The Adoption Service is a branch of Oranga Tamariki that provides advice on adoption both within New Zealand and from other countries. 

Safer Community Councils 

The Government recognised in 1992 that crime prevention and community safety was an issue that had to be tackled with a holistic and proactive approach - the involvement of not only the Government and its agencies, but also communities and the members that lived within them. In 1993, the Crime Prevention Unit of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet put in place a long term strategy that focuses on crime prevention and community safety. It was based on the premise that a partnership between central Government and the community was critical to the success of any moves to stop crime.

It aimed to better coordinate efforts and resources of both the Government and its agencies but also communities and individual members of those communities to develop positive solutions to the problems of offending and anti-social behaviour. As a result, more than 50 Safer Community Councils have been established throughout New Zealand.

The councils have been entrusted with putting in place social crime prevention strategies, which include several areas designed to protect and enhance the safety and well-being of children.

These have been identified in seven key areas:

  • Supporting "at-risk" families.
  • Reducing family violence.
  • Targeting youth "at-risk" of offending.
  • Minimising the formal involvement of casual offenders within the criminal justice system (diversion).
  • Developing an approach for the management of programmes that address the misuse and abuse of both alcohol and drugs.
  • Addressing the incidence of white-collar crime.
  • Addressing the concerns of victims and potential victims.

Most community councils are sponsored by local authorities, but some are iwi sponsored. They receive Government funding. They are made up of people who have expertise and an interest in community crime prevention, including business people, health and education workers, iwi representatives and Government agencies such as the Police and Social Welfare.

The councils coordinate existing crime prevention programmes and help develop new initiatives. They work with community groups to plan solutions to local problems, put individuals in touch with services, groups or agencies that can meet their needs, ensure people get the right help when they need it, and put resources where they are needed most.

The Hillary Commission

The Hillary Commission aims to improve the lifestyle of all New Zealanders by promoting and developing sport, fitness and leisure activities. The commission was established to not only encourage top-level sporting achievements but also to get ordinary people involved in sport and leisure activities. It recognises that participation in regular activities builds healthy, confident people, local pride and strong, cohesive communities, and a strong sense of national identity and pride. It puts an emphasis on junior sport, saying that the kids who have a go, feel part of the action and play sport designed especially for them, will grow up with great memories.

Those who are left on the bench, forced to play with much bigger kids or stuck at home because no one would coach their team will probably be the first to drop out. A big proportion of the commission's funds (from the Lotteries Grants Board with a top-up from the Government), goes to community activities, where everyone is encouraged to participate, regardless of their age, fitness or physical ability.

They also network with services to help victims of crime and those who fear crime; with services for disadvantaged families whose members might be more likely to offend; with groups working with perpetrators of crime to help change behaviour; with "at risk" youth; and with people who have drug or alcohol problems.

Safer communities with family/whanau workers

The core of the Family Start programme is home visiting by a family/whanau worker. This person works with the family to identify priorities and to support them to achieve their goals. A family may be involved with many different agencies. The family/whanau worker acts as an advocate and coordinator between all agencies to ensure that the family’s priorities are met. Families can be referred for Family Start by doctors, lead maternity carers such as midwives, child health services, Plunket or hospital maternity services. The family/whanau must consent to the referral first.

Safer communities for Maori children and their parents

Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke: Nurture the Family, starts with the premise that all parents and whanau want the best for themselves and for their children. They want to see their kids growing up healthy and strong, enjoying childhood, going to school, learning what they need to learn so that they can live responsible and productive lives. Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke looks to traditional Maori customs and values as an available source of a wealth of positive guidance.

These tikanga are capable of assisting whanau to develop caring and nurturing homes for their children. The programme gives concrete expression to these cultural practices, made up of two distinct yet connected strands of learning: Hakorotanga for parents; and He Taonga Te Mokopuna for young children. Hakorotanga provides practical ideas that all parents can use to achieve the best possible results for their whanau. Often the missing ingredient to success is merely knowledge, understanding or skills to help create the right climate in the home. He Taonga Te Mokopuna helps children to develop ways to keep themselves safe.

It also requires whanau and other caregivers to build safety nets that provide assurance and support in turn to the children. This enables the whole community, including the children, to recognise unsafe situations, and actively safeguard against them. Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke: Nurture the Family, was devised within Early Childhood Development, and has been trialled on the marae.

Māori Wardens

Throughout Aotearoa there are currently around 1000 wardens working in their communities. Māori Wardens are volunteers who have a lot of knowledge of, and close connection to, their local communities. They provide support, security, traffic, and crowd control, and first aid, under the Māori Community Development Act 1962. They play a key role in supporting the safety of Māori communities. To learn more, visit here.

Linking up with Iwi, Ethnic and Pacific Liaison Officers

Police have specialist liaison officers working in communities around the country. They are happy to listen to any concerns and work with you to improve safety in your communities. To find your Ethnic or Pacific Liaison Officer:

Gang violence

Gangs often control vulnerable urban areas, where they are dominant actors in informal governance, providing security and other services while also extorting money and harassing residents. In some areas, gangs are involved in transnational drug and human trafficking networks, which provide them with significant income. 

To report crime activity in your area, visit

Or if you want to report crime anonymously, visit


Homicide rates are higher in urban areas where public security staff are scarce. The majority of homicide victims are young men.

One key finding in the homicide report by StuffNZ was that half of adult female victims die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner. If you are in an emergency, dial 111.

If you would like to make a non-emergency report, call 105 at any time, any day. Or use one of the online reporting options here: 

You can also join a neighbourhood support group within your local community. 

To learn more, visit their website - or give them a call on 0800 4NEIGHBOURS or contact your local coordinator.


Prevention in the workplace

Prevent workplace theft

Workplace burglaries are one of the main reasons businesses go under, so preventing robbery is the best thing you can do for your business.

8 things that will help prevent break-ins in the workplace:

1. Lock up

The first and most obvious thing you can do is make sure you lock up properly. Make sure any doors, windows or other places a burglar could get through are locked and secure. You can get metal grating that you can pull down when you close up that covers the windows and doors, or even special glass that's hard to break - if it’s in your budget. Having a burglary in your workplace is a huge inconvenience and not locking up properly could be a silly and costly mistake.

2. Have a documented routine

Having a documented closing up and opening routine for employees to follow may seem like a waste of time, but it is a major plus in safety and should always be a two man job. In your routine you should include having one person wait outside and the other person follow the opening up routine that you wrote down and check for any robbers inside, then if someone was inside, the person waiting outside can call the Police. If there are any signs of a break in - call 111 immediately. In your closing up routine - check for any robbers hiding inside, or even just customers in the bathroom/changing room.

3. Keys

Keep a record of how many keys you have and who they've been given to. Make sure the employees return the keys when they are no longer working there. If you have multiple keys for your store it's good to label them in a code that only the employees know, instead of just ‘backdoor key’, so that if they are stolen the thief won’t know what they’re for.

4. Alarms and cameras

An alarm system is definitely one of the most helpful things you can do to keep your workplace safe, even just advertising that you have one is usually enough to deter burglars. Have security cameras and make sure to minimise blind spots as much as you can and if possible, don’t have any. Make sure there is enough light for the cameras to pick everything up.

5. Lights

It's important to keep the inside AND outside of the building lit up, including any alleyways behind or beside the store as well, this is a huge help in deterring burglars - they prefer to work in darkness. Lighting up the inside of the store also helps any police driving by to see if anything suspicious is happening inside, make sure the view into the workplace isn't blocked by any displays. Cops will also come to know that your store is normally lit up and if the lights are off at a time they’re normally on they will go and check it out.

6. Safes

If you must have cash on the premises have a high quality safe that can't be taken - make sure you have the safe bolted to the building structure as even safes weighing nearly a tonne have been taken before - or broken into,  however, it's best to have as little cash as possible on site. If you have any valuables it's important to take them out of display from outside and secure them somewhere safe too. Police recommend keeping your safe in view of the street because if a burglar is trying to rob you then anyone going by will see it happening - keep the area well lit too. It could also be helpful to leave the till open and in sight of the window, empty of course! This means burglars can see you don't have money there for them to steal. Include this instruction in your closing up routine if you decide to do this. Having a proper security system in place can save you a lot of stress and will help to deter burglars and prevent your business from being robbed.

7. Treat staff well

Don’t forget that burglaries can come from the inside too. Staff may steal because they’re desperate or feel they aren’t being paid their worth. If staff feel downtrodden or mistreated they may use stealing as their form of revenge. To avoid this there are a few things you can do. Treat your staff fairly, according to ANZ, some people who pay their staff a slightly higher wage feel that they have less missing stock compared to others in the industry. Also, do careful reference checks on employees so that you’re not hiring thieves in the first place.

8. Have a thief-proof system

Try thinking like a thief when you’re making procedures, are there any gaps that would allow you to steal in any of the positions at your workplace? Things like checking stocks or if you have a back entrance think of keeping it locked and only allow staff to use the front exit in plain view of everyone.

Wanting to keep your business safe? Fill out the NZ Polices' form for specific crime prevention tips that relate to the property of your business here

Education Employment

Education to Employment connects konga with employers to help them prepare for their futures. An 'employer' is anyone who works in an industry or business and wants to assist Konga in preparing for the world of work. They can work in any business or industry, and in any role.

Learning about the world of work is a journey.  Ākonga and their whānau will:

  • DISCOVER – what their possibilities are – what they are passionate about, what careers are out there, what they like to study, and find out more about what job opportunities are out there
  • EXPLORE – what opportunities exist for them – what they would like to study, what industries and jobs might interest them
  • CONNECT – see the world of work – get insight into what jobs do, gain work experience or on-the-job learning.

Employer or industry engagement can happen in a number of ways:

Benefits of employer engagement

Ākonga can:

  • Connect their school-based learning to the workplace
  • Have better engagement, attendance, and academic results
  • See the relevance of what they are learning at school/kura, and have increased confidence in their futures
  • Make better informed decisions about what pathways might work for them
  • See and understand different opportunities.

Employers can:

  • Support ākonga in their own communities or at the school/kura they attended
  • Showcase their industry with ākonga and their whānau, what jobs exist, and the skills they are looking for
  • Employers can use these engagements as an opportunity to see and engage with future talent for their business(es).

Learn more about education employment here: 

Don’t let them take your car 

Theft of vehicles and from vehicles is still a major problem in New Zealand. Apart from the personal upset and inconvenience of having your vehicle stolen, insurance companies pay out (through your premiums) about $110 million a year.

Dealing with vehicle-related theft also ties up valuable police resources.

Most car thieves are looking for easy targets to take joy- riding, to strip for parts to use or sell, or a vehicle to use to commit a crime. The car is then dumped and often trashed or burnt out. Some vehicles are “re-birthed”, which means thieves use a real vehicle identification number – usually from a pranged vehicle – and apply it to a stolen vehicle of the same age, make and model. The stolen vehicle is then re-registered and sold to an unsuspecting buyer.

Theft from vehicles includes property such as wheels, stereos and personal items – purses and wallets, clothing, briefcases, laptops, cell phones and so on. Most of the time, thieves just force a lock or smash a window.

Reduce the risk

The police suggest the following steps will reduce the risk of having your vehicle stolen or broken into. Keep your keys with you and keep spares keys at home or work.

  • Don’t hide a spare key on the car – thieves will find it.
  • Always lock your car, including the boot and the sunroof if you have one.
  • Park in busy, open, well-lit areas if possible.
  • Use an attended, secure parking building if possible.
  • If you have your vehicle in a garage at home, lock the garage and the car.


  • Don’t leave things where people can see them.
  • Take your valuable stuff with you or leave it at home – not in the glove-box or under a seat.
  • Keep larger items such as bags, luggage, coats etc locked out of sight in the boot.
  • Keep a record of car stereo serial numbers.

Other ideas

Some of these steps might reduce your insurance premiums (talk to your insurance company).

  • Install a car alarm
  • Install an electronic engine immobiliser – they make it really hard to hot-wire or start a car without the right key, which contains an electronic code.
  • Use a steering wheel club or lock, lockable fuel cap and lockable wheel nuts.
  • Etch your registration or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on windows, windscreens and headlights.

Beware when buying

If you’re buying a vehicle and you want to be sure it’s a legitimate sale:

  • Ensure the seller of the vehicle is the registered owner (if not, why not).
  • Does the seller have both sets of keys?
  • Does the seller have the original logbooks and history of service?
  • Check all identification plates, engine and chassis numbers for tampering.

You can check online to see if a vehicle’s listed as stolen at It’s a great website you can use to enter the vehicle’s registration number, VIN, engine or chassis number. The database the site accesses is updated by police three times per day, but there could be a brief delay in stolen vehicles appearing and in recovered vehicles being cleared from the list.

You can also download a file of stolen vehicles from the past six months by area, or all of New Zealand.

Found a stolen vehicle?

If you see a stolen vehicle being driven or if the occupants are nearby, call the police on 111 and let them deal with it. Don’t chase a stolen vehicle.

If it’s been abandoned, call your local police station. Remember if you want to report it but don’t want anyone knowing who you are, call anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Your motorcycle

Don’t let the thieves get your bike, either.

  • Keep your keys on you at all times.
  • Use an ignition or steering lock.
  • Use a strong, thick chain and “U” lock. Keep the chain off the ground to make it harder to cut.
  • Secure your motorcycle to something solid that can’t be moved.
  • Keep your helmet with you or use a helmet lock.
  • Install an alarm or other anti-theft/immobiliser device.
  • Etch or mark your motorcycle with your registration or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Garage your motorcycle and lock the bike and the garage.
  • Use a motorcycle cover.

Rape and sexual assault

Sexual assault myths and facts

Myth: Sexual assaults are only committed by strangers.

Fact: The majority of people who commit sexual assaults know their victims and in some cases are relations, friends or work colleagues. Partners and spouses can also commit sexual assaults.

Myth: Rape is a 'spur of the moment' act.

Fact: Most rapists plan carefully in advance, and set up situations so the rape can take place. A rapist is capable of raping again and again.

Myth: Rape only happens when men lose their self-control.

Fact: Men who rape know exactly what they are doing. Research shows that men who sexually offend often do so to gain a sense of power and authority.

Myth: A woman can't be raped by her husband.

Fact: Rape in marriage is not uncommon. It's also a crime. When a spouse is forced to have sex through emotional or financial blackmail it is rape. Rape or sexual assaults can occur within marriage and/or relationships whether the victims are heterosexual or homosexual.

Myth: It is not that serious. I don’t need to report it as it won’t happen again.

Fact: Rape and/or sexual assault are criminal offences which carry sentences of imprisonment. The perpetrator may reoffend if they are not challenged by Police.

Myth: Women 'ask for it' by the way they dress or behave.

Fact: This is like saying that someone wants to be robbed because they have money in their wallet. Rapists look for easy targets, not women who dress or behave in a particular way. Nobody asks to be hurt or degraded.

Myth: Only young women are raped.

Fact: Rape is an act of violence that can happen at any time in a person’s life regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender.

Myth: 'Men cannot be sexually assaulted'.

Fact: Any unwanted sexual contact against any person by any other person is a sexual assault.

Myth: 'Male rape is a gay crime'.

Fact: Sexual assault is ultimately about power, control or domination of the other person, rather than a sexual attraction to one specific gender.

Myth: ‘Women always lie about rape.’

Fact: Women are more likely to deny or minimise sexual assault experiences than make them up. Those working with male sex offenders say one of the hardest things is overcoming the men’s denial that they did anything wrong.

Myth: ‘Alcohol causes rape.’

Fact: Alcohol can reduce inhibitions, but does not remove the responsibility of raping, or justify a victim being raped. ‘Having sex’ with a person too drunk to consent, or asleep or unconscious, is rape.

Information from:

Drug rape & sexual assault

Drug rape is happening to women, men and children in New Zealand. The victim is drugged by sedatives, tranquillisers and antihistamines and then sexually assaulted. A person cannot consent to sexual activity when under the influence of these drugs.

A story of drink spiking

The threat of drink spiking with substances such as GHB is real. Kate is a journalist. She told us about an incident some years ago, when she was working at a Big Day Out rock concert in Auckland. Her experience led her to believe her drink was spiked.

Her account:

I was working at a 'Big Day Out' stand doing reviews for a student website. I met up with a guy who I vaguely knew through clubbing and friends, and was hanging out with him for a bit watching the bands.

He was fairly “gone”, but that wasn’t unusual. He was going to get a drink and offered to get me one and a little while later came back with a couple of juicetype things. I didn’t notice a difference in taste, but I was quite thirsty so probably wouldn’t have paid much attention.

About half an hour later, my whole body went haywire – I got incredibly hot, my body got incredibly strong tingles and I had trouble walking and seeing. I managed to make my way outside and sat down, unable to use my phone, barely able to speak and feeling quite scared. A guy who I didn’t know came up to me and could see that I was in trouble. He went and bought an orange juice, unopened, and sat with me until I could tell him to call my boss, who was still at the stand.

I was getting phone calls every 10 minutes or so from the guy who I had been with. He was asking where I was because he wanted to go to a party, and did I want to go with him? He left about a dozen phone and text messages – I just hung up on him each time.

My boss took me home and stayed with me until my partner got home from work. I had started to feel better so we decided not to go to the doctor. I was kept awake and fed orange juice until the effects wore off.

There was no complaint to the Police but the next day I was throwing up quite a bit and passed out a few times, so we went to the doctor that afternoon. Blood and urine tests didn’t reveal anything. He said it might have been GHB, which is flushed out of the body quite quickly. There was nothing conclusive.

Kate says it happened to her a second time, at a club.

“I realised quite quickly that my drink didn’t taste right and stopped drinking. It might have been someone who put their drink down next to mine, and either they had stuff in their drink to take recreationally and walked off with the wrong drink, or put it in mine.”

She is careful with her drinks now.

“I never accept drinks from people I don’t know and always hold on to them. I never put them down on tables unless I am with a group of people I trust. I also keep an eye on my friends and other people – if I see they are in trouble I’ll do something.

“I have educated myself on the signs of GHB overdose and always have an eye out so I can be someone else’s Samaritan if they are in trouble. I’ve helped one girl already.”

NOTE: Spiking drinks is illegal. The Police urge anyone who believes their drink has been spiked to contact them.

A growing crime

Sexual activity without consent is illegal. These drugs can be injected, "snorted" or swallowed (most often the assailant has spiked the victim's drink). Drugging not only occurs in bars and nightclubs. It happens in workplaces, gang residences, parties, and in the victim's or perpetrator's house. Drug rapes are planned, the perpetrators carry the drugs with them.

Perpetrators can work alone or with others. The victim is often seen acting drunk (whether or not they have been drinking alcohol) and being escorted "home" by one or more people who might be known to the victim.


Always be aware of the danger that, wherever you are, someone might try to spike your drink.

  • Never leave a drink unattended. If you go to the toilet, take it with you if you can. If you have left it unattended, do not drink it.
  • Do not accept a drink offered by a stranger.
  • Even if workmates or acquaintances offer you a drink, make sure you see it either poured or opened. Ensure that no one but the barperson touches it before you drink it.
  • If a group of you go out together, nominate someone who will not be drinking (for example, the designated driver), to keep an eye on the group's drinks.
  • These drugs are tasteless and odourless.
  • Rohypnol has a blue dye added to it, but that doesn't show up for almost 20 minutes. Nor does it show up in red wine, in cola or any other dark drinks. It cannot be seen in a coloured bottle, such as beer and some wine bottles.
  • Where possible, drink out of a bottle or can. It is much more difficult to spike a bottle or can than it is to drop a drug into a drink in an open glass.
  • Not drinking alcohol doesn't necessarily make you safe. Tea, coffee, milk, milkshakes, soft-drinks and "energy" drinks can be spiked, too.

How to tell if your drink has been spiked

We're usually aware of our tolerance to alcohol. If you feel odd, nauseous, slightly drunk or wasted after only a couple of drinks, and you know that you should not be drunk, your drink might well have been spiked. If you are with friends or relatives, tell them of your worries. Ask them to get you out of the place as soon as possible and to get you home either in their car or by cab. Once safely home, ask them to stay with you until the drugs' effects have worn off in the morning. Be very sure that you implicitly trust the person or friend you're asking. Victims have been raped by people they knew – workmates and colleagues, friends of friends or acquaintances, and the date they went out with that night.

Get to a safe place

If you are alone or with a stranger, go and tell the bar manager. It is important to get to a safe place quickly. Ask the manager to put you in an office while they ring a taxi or a friend, or your parents to get you home safely. If possible, always make sure that you are accompanied by a trusted friend.

Don't ever let a stranger offer to help you or take you anywhere – the stranger could be the potential rapist.

These drugs can be legal or illegal. They take effect within 15-30 minutes and usually induce a blackout period of between 6-12 hours.

  • The drugs' effect is often magnified when combined with alcohol.
  • The drugs are metabolised and excreted from the body by urine over time.
  • Often the victim cannot remember what happened.
  • Victims of drug rape might wake up feeling dizzy and disoriented or clear-headed and fresh – different sedatives have different aftereffects.
  • Occasionally the victim has flashbacks, or a brief memory of some part of the rape and might recall being unable to move.
  • They might wake up naked and/or with tenderness signifying sexual activity. Bruising and tenderness can be recorded as evidence in a forensic medical exam.
  • Victims might feel that because they don't know what has happened they cannot get help or report the crime. The Police say that the presence of such drugs in a victim's blood is admissible as evidence.

Testing for drugs

  • Most of these drugs remain in the body for 48-72 hours after the victim regains consciousness (this time period varies from drug to drug).
  • The Police have test-kits and the sexual assault medical examination kit.
  • If a victim does not want to report the rape to the Police, she or he can still get a blood test through a GP. Rape crisis groups recommend that a Doctor for Sexual Abuse Care-trained doctor or Police surgeon in your area be contacted for advice as soon as possible.

If you are attacked or raped

Most people know their attacker. The risk of being attacked by a stranger is small. You can reduce this risk even further by thinking ahead. Be careful and use your common sense – then you're unlikely to be attacked by a stranger. If attacked, what should you do? There's no simple answer – except that your main aim should be to escape and get to safety. You usually have several options. Self-defence courses train you to think fast and practise all the following skills. One or more will feel right for you.

  • Try to calm your attacker by talking quietly and reasonably. Then escape.
  • Scream an angry scream (not a frightened one). Shout or swear at your attacker. Then escape.
  • Hit your attacker with a simple self-defence action. For example, bend your attacker's fingers back, stamp on their foot, poke their eyes, knee their groin or jab your elbow in their face. Then escape. (These need to be practised. You will probably get only one chance, so make it good.)

After a sexual attack or rape

Dial 111 immediately and ask for the Police, even if you know the attacker. Your evidence is important. It could save other people from being attacked. Don't blame yourself – blame the rapist. You need help. If you can, get yourself to a safe place as quickly as possible. Don't have a bath or shower.

Ask someone to come and support you. You need someone with you while you talk to the Police. The Police prefer you to have that support. Call a friend, or one of the organisations that help people in crisis. These groups are experienced at handling rape crisis. They can help you to make sensible decisions and to start healing.

Help after being attacked or raped

See our directory page for a list of available help resources in New Zealand.


Do a self-defence course. They teach you how to keep out of danger – and they're fun. Most people feel more confident after this training. Contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or the Police for information about courses in your area.

Stay safe around water

Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in New Zealand, behind road vehicle accidents and falls.

Being safe in the water doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but thinking about your safety and that of family and friends can save lives.

As an island country, New Zealand has a wealth of water-based activities. Whether it’s a swim at the beach, a dip in the river, adrenaline-packed white- water rafting, fishing from rocks, out on the boat or anything else involving water, the best thing you can do before heading out is to familiarise yourself with the appropriate safety information.

As with most activities there’s an element of risk, so make sure you challenge yourself within your limits and ask questions before heading out. Always remember the four rules of the Water Safety Code.

1. Be prepared

Learn to swim and survive, and set rules for safe play in the water.  Always use safe and correct equipment and know the weather and water conditions before you get in.

2. Watch out for yourself and others

Always pay close attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Swim with others and in areas where lifeguards are present.

3. Be aware of the dangers

Enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all safety signs and warning flags. Don’t enter the water after drinking alcohol.

4. Know your limits

Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.


If you’re heading out on a boat, remember the rules of the Boating Safety Code.

1. Life jackets – take them, wear them

Boats, especially ones of less that 6 metres in length, can sink very quickly. Wearing a life-jacket increases your survival time in the water.

2. Skipper responsibility

The skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board and for the safe operation of the boat. Stay within the limits of your vessel and your experience. Go on a Coastguard Boating Education day skipper course to make sure you have all the skills you need to stay safe.

3. Communications

Take two separate waterproof ways of communicating so you can call for help if you get into difficulty.

4. Marine weather

New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the local marine weather forecast before you go and expect both weather and sea changes.

5. Avoid alcohol

Safe boating and alcohol don’t mix. Things can change quickly on the water. You need to stay alert and aware.

For more information on the Water Safety Code and the Boating Safety Code, visit

Children Under 5s

Water is a life-threatening hazard for young children in and around the home. Make sure you keep you eyes on your children when they’re in or around water – including in the bath.

Children learn by exploring their environment – new adventures are only a few steps away – so don’t let your guard down around any body of water. It takes only 60 seconds for a child to drown.

For more information, see

Learning to swim

While many people think everyone knows how to swim, the scary thing is that a lot of kids today can’t.

Make sure your kids have the opportunity to learn to swim – either at school, at a private swim school, or even by teaching them yourself!

For more information, see


Participation in activities in and around water, not just accidental entry into the water, increases the possibility of hypothermia. Be aware of hypothermia when canoeing, fishing or swimming outdoors. In all cases of ‘man overboard’, presume hypothermia will be a possibility.

Prevention of Hypothermia:

  • Wear many layers of suitable clothing, both in and out of the water.
  • The more wind or waterproof clothing, the better.
  • If setting out in cold, wet windy conditions continually look out for symptoms of exhaustion or hypothermia in others.
  • The greatest heat loss is through the head, neck and the backs of hands. Wear a hat and pair of gloves if cold.
  • Prevent excessive fatigue as this can contribute to hypothermia.
  • Eat or drink high energy foods frequently.
  • If possible, keep warm and dry.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol.
  • Clothing, such as polypropylene, will keep you warm when wet, and are excellent for canoeing and other outdoor activities.

Keep Still

Although swimming will make you feel warmer, it is a false sensation. Energy spent on moving rather than maintaining warmth will eventually cool the bodyís core. Air is warmer than water and heat loss is greater in water than in air of the same temperature, even though the chill factor may feel greater. If you find yourself in the water with floating objects, e.g. the upturned boat, then raise as much of your torso as possible out of the water.

Water safety at beaches

Whenever possible, use patrolled beaches and make sure everyone swims between the lifeguard flags, but don’t rely just on lifeguards to watch out for your children. Become more aware of surf conditions - learn to read the waves. Different types affect how safe it is for swimming. Supervision of children is essential when near water. Drowning is a silent death. Things you can do:

  • Always be in the water with your children, you are on the spot if anything unexpected happens.
  • Be wary of letting your children play with inflatable toys and toy animals, water wings and tubes as these have not been specifically designed to protect your child in the water.
  • Offshore breeze will move these quickly and your child will follow.
  • Even if your child can swim, they are not strong enough to deal with tides and rips.
  • Watch out for and avoid rips - a calm spot of water where surf is not breaking; it indicates an area where a strong undertow could pull a swimmer underwater and out to sea.
  • In a group situation: identify which adult will supervise which children. Share responsibility, it is hard to identify people in the water.
  • It is not advisable to swim alone. Snorkelling and diving should always be undertaken with a buddy.
  • To clear pressure in your ears underwater, hold your nostrils and blow gently - you will feel your ears pop.
  • If you feel tired, leave the water immediately, rest awhile before continuing.
  • Hyperventilation makes you feel light headed and panicky - blackout could follow.
  • Slow and steady, don’t be overconfident, take care of yourself and others in the water.
  • Always be alert to changes in the weather and water conditions - winds, tides, rips and waves.
  • Small bodies travel fast in water so watch for rogue waves which suddenly sweep up the beach.
  • What was a safe pool of water can suddenly change with a sweeping wave.
  • If your child is playing with a boogie board, it is a good idea to get them to wear fins or flippers as well. This will allow them to kick their way out of trouble if they get caught in an unexpected rip or hole.
  • Make sure children (and adults) wait for an hour after eating before swimming. This will help to stop cramps that can cause temporary paralysis in the water.
  • Don’t drink alcohol at the beach - not only will you be less capable of watching out for your children, but you will also be less able to swim properly.
  • Make sure your children wear appropriate clothing. Jeans are unsafe for swimming as they can get waterlogged and pull a child under the water.

Water safety at rivers

  • Keep small children away from sandy edges of estuaries, these can be undermined and break away.
  • Check for underwater weed, this can trap a toddler. Remember children cannot call out from under water.
  • Check the river for hazards even downstream from where you plan to swim.
  • Avoid diving into unknown waters.
  • Avoid swimming in pools that run on to fast moving water or have back eddies.
  • Avoid swimming near overhead bridges.
  • Don’t think because a river appears calm that it provides safe swimming.
  • Never underestimate the POWER of a river.
  • Avoid areas where there may be snags or tree-lined banks, above and below bridges.

Water safety when boating

Have rules for the boat and enforce them.

  • A boat is not a safe play area.
  • Teach your child to float should they fall overboard.
  • Be the captain of your boat, insist on everything being stored away after use, e.g. fishing gear.
  • Don’t allow horseplay on boats, this could lead to tragedy.
  • Always maintain regular safety checks on your boat, radio equipment, and lifejackets.

Water first aid

If you find a child in a water emergency, call 111 immediately, or get someone to contact emergency help while you care for the child.

S-R-A-B-C is the key to responding:

S for Safety - think about the child's safety and your own, if you are the rescuer. Remove the child from the water and try to keep them warm and comfortable.

R for Response - assess the child's level of responsiveness, speak to them and if necessary shout to rouse them, or shake them gently (never shake violently).

A for Airway - if you get no response, tilt the head back slightly and drop the child's chin to open their airway.

B for Breathing - look and listen for breathing and feel for a pulse. If there are no signs of breathing, apply mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Administer one slow, full breath, then check the child for a pulse or breathing.

C for Circulation - Can you feel a pulse? If so, stay with the child and monitor closely until help arrives. If there is no pulse, apply CPR (see section on CPR).


Road safety

Driving down the road toll

New Zealand's annual road toll since 1990 has dropped about 38%, despite 27% more vehicles on the road and 17% more people. This is mainly because of a steady commitment to reduce road deaths by the Government and the Police.

Every year hundreds of people die and families and friends suffer because people endanger others' lives by driving dangerously. The cost of road crashes - emergency services, medical care, reparation and human grief - is enormous. Long after the sirens have faded and the wreckage has been cleared away the impact continues to be felt, often for years.

The social cost of each fatality is $3,065,000, and each serious injury $535,000. Broadly, this is the cost of hospital and medical treatment and care, the loss of output, loss of life, disability, property damage, and legal and court costs.

Traffic crashes are the second leading cause of injury deaths to children in New Zealand, after suffocation. On average, a child is injured every day on New Zealand roads, and one dies on average every 18 days.

Road safety is an important part of the Police’s work. In 2000, the new Government believed it was important enough to re-establish a separate traffic force to deal specifically with traffic safety and enforcement. The new highway patrol would be dedicated solely to traffic duties.

Key road safety messages from the Police and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) have screened on television and in the press. In one commercial, family members die because seatbelts are not worn; in another hard-hitting series of commercials, a teenage driver injured in a crash is shunned by his mates and has to be helped by his mother with his toileting. The Police believe the messages are important if New Zealand is to improve its death and injury statistics. Education is a key feature of the Police campaign to change road habits.

Officers spend many hours in classrooms and at schools helping children understand road safety. However, parents still have the greatest influence and can greatly minimise traffic danger if they help their children learn some basic road safety rules, and if they follow the rules themselves. If you jaywalk across the road, ride a bicycle without a helmet or run red lights, your children will soon be confused about what they should be doing. Chances are they will follow what you do, not what you say. Avoid double standards by setting an example. As soon as a child is old enough to move about, they have the potential to be involved in a road accident. That is why it is crucial that parents keep toddlers away from the roads by keeping doors and gates closed or the child under close supervision.

When they are old enough for school, go with them over the route they will be taking. If they are to walk to school, walk with them a few days beforehand and look for the safest route, keeping an eye out for danger spots, particularly where they have to cross the road. Get them to use pedestrian crossings and talk about where cars might come from - perhaps around a corner or from a driveway. If they are to take a bus, show them where they will get off the bus and where they should then go. The road outside a school is always busy when the school day begins and ends. Parents should:

  • Always set a good road safety example with your children when crossing the road - it will help to ensure their safety when you aren't there.
  • Walk to the school gate to drop off or collect your child - always hold on to little hands.
  • Never call out from across the road - excited children forget to look out for traffic.
  • Have children use the car door on the footpath side - it keeps them away from the traffic.
  • Never stop on the yellow ‘No Stopping’ lines - they are there to ensure children can see and be seen.
  • Take extreme care when pulling into driveways close to the school - child pedestrians can be unpredictable and unaware of your presence.
  • On wet days, drive slowly and with patience. Obey all school parking restrictions - be prepared to walk further than usual.
  • Above all, choose road safety over convenience.

Our teenagers are likely to reflect our driving and road safety habits as they come to the point where they want to get their driving licence. An investment in a reputable driving school will be money well spent. Even if you think you know how to drive safely, you might not be the best person to teach your teenager. Make sure you talk to teenagers about road safety, particularly about the dangers of speed and drink-driving, and the fact that a licence means they must act responsibly not only for their own safety, but also for that of their friends and other road users. Ensure they observe the rules and responsibilities that go with being a learner and restricted driver.

Make it click!

Keep children safe in your car by ensuring they are securely strapped into approved child seats. Remember, it is your responsibility as the driver, to make sure children are buckled in properly. The law says if a child seat is available, it must be used. If there is no car seat but seat belts are available, then they must be used if they fit the child. If neither is available, then children must travel in the back seat.

Child restraint and medical professionals recommend that you keep your baby in a rear-facing restraint until as old as practicable, at least until they are 2 years of age. Some infant seats must also be secured to the car by a special tether strap and bolt. A child seat faces forward in the car and is designed for children who can hold their head up by themselves.

Plunket has seats to hire at reasonable prices. If you decide to buy seats, check to see if the seats have the Standards Approved label. Booster seats are designed to ‘boost’ your children so they can better fit a car seat belt. Ideally, a booster seat should be used in conjunction with a child harness.

The harness is designed for children from 4-8 years and is used in conjunction with a car lap seat belt. The harness is secured to the car by an anchor bolt. If your child has outgrown a booster seat and harness, they are ready for a car seat belt. The lap portion of the belt should be worn low, should fit snugly and should not cut across your child's face or neck. Child-proof locks will stop bored children trying to get out of the car.

Safety seats

A recent law change means all children aged up to 7 must be in an appropriate child restraint (such as a booster seat) in a vehicle, and those aged between 7 and 8 must use one if it’s available. The change aims to reduce the injury and fatality rate for young children by ensuring they’re not restrained in an adult seat belt. In any event, it’s recommended that kids use a child restraint or booster seat at least until they’re 148cm tall.

One of the leading causes of injury involves children as passengers in vehicles. About 15 children a year die and about 300 end up in hospital. Booster seats for preschool and school-aged kids have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by up to 59%.

Keep the kids safe by:

  • Always using the correct child restraint and booster seat for your child’s height and age.
  • Following the manufacturer's’ instructions for your child restraint.
  • Making sure your child restraint or booster seat correctly fits your vehicle.
  • Getting help installing your child restraint or booster. Contact an NZTA-certified child restraint technician for support and to get help to correctly install a child restraint.
  • Putting kids in the back seat where it’s safest.


Drinking and driving is a dangerous mix. Because it’s difficult to know whether you might be under the legal blood/alcohol limit (especially as an inexperienced teenager), the simplest rule is not to drive if you are drinking. Alcohol slows your reactions, dulling your judgment and vision and impairing your ability to drive. If you are convicted of a drunk-driving charge, you can expect severe penalties - even imprisonment. It’s no fun, as a teenager, to have to go through a court appearance and to suffer the penalties.

Apart from losing your driver’s licence or having to pay a hefty fine, you could lose your job and have your social life ruined. Statistically, you are most at danger of being involved in a drink-driving crash if you are an 18 to 30-year-old male. Although comprising only 15% of all drivers, they make up 50% of all drunk drivers in crashes. Two-thirds of fatal crashes to which alcohol contributed occurred on open roads. Alcohol is the second most common reason for a fatal crash after speed.

What can we do as parents to keep our teenagers safe if they are drinking? We can offer to pick them up from parties, restaurants or pubs. We can spell out the advantages of having a designated driver, (someone who does not drink so they can drive the others home) when they go out with friends. More importantly, we should set an example by not driving after drinking.


In general, pedestrian crossings are safe places to cross the road. However you should still observe the stop, look and listen rule, especially when with children. Children up to the age of 8 years are incapable of judging speed and distance with any certainty. It is important that the adult be a good role model by choosing not to cross roads from between parked cars, but to cross where there is clear vision of any oncoming traffic and that the pedestrian is clearly visible to drivers of the vehicles.

Children are not mini adults - traffic is an adult world! When walking with a small child always keep the child within arm’s length, preferably hold the child’s hand and have the child walk on the property side of the footpath.

  • Be alert to traffic moving in or out of driveways.
  • Do not encourage children to use driveways as play areas - the road is not a playground.
  • Be aware at all times the need to stop, look and listen when crossing roads. Even at controlled stops.
  • Check that the road is clear before pushing baby’s pram onto it.
  • Create safe play areas away from traffic for your children.
  • Always supervise young children closely in traffic situations e.g. car parking areas at malls, supermarkets and parks.
  • Refrain from calling to your child from across the road.
  • Always place children in the car before loading goods.

Children are unreliable around traffic - supervision is essential.


Cycling is a fun and healthy activity. However, cycle injuries are painful and in 2020 there were 147 serious injury crashes, with 11 fatalities.

It is not recommended that children under the age of 10 ride a bicycle on the road unless accompanied by an adult.

  • Make sure the helmet your child wears is safety approved.
  • Wearing a helmet when on a bicycle is required by law.
  • Your helmet should be fitted properly - snug as possible with minimum padding.
  • The straps should be securely fastened at all times.
  • Choose a bright coloured helmet so that you are clearly visible.
  • Always wear shoes when riding a bicycle and brightly coloured clothing - to be SAFE you have to be SEEN.
  • Check your child’s bicycle for wear, rust and loose connections on a regular basis.
  • Regularly check brake pads.
  • If your child carries parcels on their bicycle, make sure you have a proper carrier or basket fitted to the bicycle - it is not safe to ride a bicycle with parcels on the handlebars.
  • When possible, cycle with your child to check that they observe road safety practices on the road.
  • Help your child to be a safe cyclist by teaching them to ride and ensuring they are comfortable before they ride in traffic.
  • Your child should be able to: turn, stop, keep their balance at low speeds and be able to look behind while controlling the bicycle.
  • Learning the rules of the road are vital before your child rides on the road with a competent cyclist.
  • It is not advisable for children to be riding bicycles at night.
  • A bicycle should be fitted with a white front light, a rear red light, an approved red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors before being used after dark.
  • Road safety equipment suggested are: elbow pads, reflector waist belt, gloves, jeans and enclosed footwear.

Unsafe mobility

 Urban road networks are typically dense, heavily travelled by a variety of modes of transportation, and subject to frequent changes. This makes it difficult for city governments to ensure the safety of all road users. Pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable to traffic accidents, and it is difficult for the elderly and people with disabilities to cross the street safely in many cities.

Furthermore, roads and public transportation often lack sufficient light, putting women and children in particular at risk of becoming victims of violence, harassment, and theft. In cities, access to safe public transportation is frequently unequally distributed between high and low-income communities.

To make a report about road hazards on a state highway, call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 444 449 297) or visit the New Zealand Transport Agency

For hazards on local roads, you can find your local city council here: 

To make a report on an unsafe driver, call *555 for free from a mobile phone only. Or you can report non-urgent incidents of poor driving where you do not wish the offender to be prosecuted by filling out a form here:

There is also a postal form available here:

Environmental and health disasters

 Disasters have a disproportionately negative impact on urban areas due to their high population density and complex infrastructure. Unregulated settlements are especially vulnerable because buildings and roads are often poorly constructed and safety regulations are frequently not followed. 

If you are concerned that an activity may be damaging our environment, call Environment Canterbury on 0800 765 588 (24 hours) or use the snap send solve app

For resources on emergency management, visit: .

Or you can subscribe here to receive regular National Health Coordination Centre updates during National events. 


Excess speed on our roads is the single largest road safety issue. Some facts:

  • The faster the speed, the more fatal the crashes and the more serious the injuries.
  • A car travelling at more than 70km/hour hits a pedestrian full-on, fatality is almost certain.
  • A car travelling at more than 70km/hour hits a pedestrian in passing, loss of a limb is very likely.
  • A car travelling at under 50km/hour and hits a pedestrian, it is very likely a serious injury will result.
  • Any adult pedestrian hit below the waist will be catapulted over the car bonnet into the windscreen.
  • Above the waist will result in a run over.
  • Any child hit by a vehicle travelling at speed will result in head injuries and almost certain death.

Speed is as dangerous as drink-driving. If you are driving fast, you travel a lot further before you react to apply the brakes. Other people’s lives are in your hands when you are the driver of a vehicle. As the driver, you have responsibilities, some of these include:

  • Making sure that everyone under 15 years of age is wearing a safety belt or sitting in an approved child restraint.
  • Children under 5 years must by law be properly restrained in an approved child restraint.
  • Children 5 to 7 years must use an appropriate child restraint and it is advisable for children to sit in the back seat.
  • Children 8 to 14 years must use a safety belt.
  • Passengers over 14 years must wear a safety belt if there is one available.
  • If you, the driver, don’t wear a safety belt or allow your passengers under 15 years of age to travel unrestrained, you can be fined $150 for each person unrestrained - passengers over 15 years of age are responsible for their own fines.
  • Make sure you let children out of the car on the footpath side.
  • If you are picking children up from school or a bus stop, wait on the same side of the road.
  • Be watchful for young children or senior citizens waiting to cross the road - young children are unpredictable and many of the elderly are nervous of traffic - always allow time for both to cross to a safe zone before proceeding.
  • Be aware that at any time, a small child or an animal could enter the road - drive with care and consideration of others.
  • Never use hand-held mobile phones while driving - should your phone ring, pull to the side of the road and stop before answering.
  • Regular maintenance of your vehicle will ensure not only a carefree motoring holiday, but also your safety. Do not put off replacing worn tyres or brake pads - your life could depend on these.
  • Drink-driving isn't an option - you do not have the right to risk anyone else’s safety.
  • Never place children or baby seats in the front seat of a car fitted with airbags.

Small wheels

Scooters, skateboards and rollerblades are a fun way to enjoy being mobile. However, doctors warn that serious injuries may result if road safety precautions are not taken. Even with protective gear and parent supervision, children can still suffer serious injury. Reasons outlined for scooter incidents were: riding too fast, hitting an object on the footpath and the lack of an adequate braking system. Note: it is not advisable for children under the age of 6 years to use these small wheels. Some points to be aware of:

  • A well fitted helmet and wrist guards should be worn when riding on small wheels.
  • Before purchasing small wheels, decide on a safe flat area where this gift can be used.
  • Daily check the bolts are tight.
  • Have awareness of pedestrian rights to a footpath.
  • Vehicles have road rights.
  • Uneven ground and small wheels = increased risk of injury.
  • Check out road rules and bylaws regarding the use of scooters and skateboards. Note: more than two-thirds of scooter injuries would have been lessened if road safety gear had been worn.
  • Always wear good footwear when riding small wheels.
  • Be alert when approaching corners (there might be someone approaching).
  • Avoid night riding.
  • 49% of injuries are to face and head.
  • Rollerblading and skateboard injuries are mostly caused by running into vehicles and pedestrians.

Make sure rollerblades are fitted properly. Too big and they cannot be controlled properly.

  • Make sure children learn to become competent riders in a safe, supervised situation.
  • Never hitch a ride behind a moving vehicle.
  • Complicated tricks on small wheels require careful practice in a specially designed area. Scooters are not designed for use in skateboard bowls or to be jumped from one level to another.

Walking school bus

A great innovation that is gaining support throughout the country is what’s known as “walking school buses”, initiated in New Zealand by the organisation Safekids NZ.

It’s essentially a group of parents who walk with up to eight primary school children to ensure they get safely to and from school. The kids are dropped off and picked up at stops on a designated route by their parents. The route is usually about a kilometre long and is assessed for suitability by a traffic engineer. Safekids says the key benefits of the walking school buses are:

  • Reducing the known risk factors for child pedestrian injury.
  • Reducing car congestion around schools (an average of 21 fewer cars travelling to school per route).
  • Greater awareness by everyone in the community on the role they play in child pedestrian safety.

Road safety includes driveways

New Zealand is somewhat unique in having long driveways on properties, especially in the smaller rural towns. This is because the “quarter-acre section” traditionally had the garage at the back of the section. The danger of the long driveway is the distance cars often have to travel in reverse, which limits drivers’ ability to see small children. Vision from a driver’s seat can be restricted for up to 10 metres from the back of the car.

Every two weeks a child is hospitalised with serious injuries received from a vehicle driving on a private driveway in New Zealand. Another five kids are killed annually, on average. Most injuries are to toddlers about two years old and are often severe. The driver is usually a close family member, resulting in devastating effects on families.

The Safekids campaign has raised awareness throughout the country of how to be more "road safety" conscious on driveways. The message is that you should know where the kids are before you get in the car because if an accident happens, there’s no going back.

  • Check, supervise and separate
  • Check for children before driving off.
  • Supervise children around vehicles – always.

Separate play areas from driveways.

Also have someone watch around your vehicle as you leave to ensure no kids are nearby, and get visitors to park on the road.

Buying a safe car

When looking for a car, you want the safest one possible. But how can you cut through the marketing nonsense and figure out which vehicles will keep you safe? All you need to do is look at its rating. You'll see cars with five stars (the safest models) all the way down to one star (the worst performers).

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Used Car Safety Rating (UCSR), or Vehicle Safety Risk Rating are the sources of the safety stars you'll see when shopping for a car (VSRR). The safety rating of a vehicle may change over time; for the most up-to-date ratings, visit the Rightcar website.

ANCAP testing 

Since 1993, ANCAP has been testing new vehicles sold in our market by outfitting them with sensors and crash-test dummies, then crashing the vehicles in specific ways and analysing the results.

Its testing criteria prioritise four key areas: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian/cyclist protection, and safety assist technology.

ANCAP assigns stars based on the outcomes of the crashes.

The ANCAP star rating is only valid for the vehicle that was tested. As a result, if a sedan was crashed and rated, the results will not be carried over to the hatchback. The differences may not be visible on the surface, but they can result in significantly different crash performance (for example, a bigger-engine variant may not have the same crumple zones as the smaller one). In addition, a lower-spec model may lack the same safety features.

A five-star car now versus a five-star car then

The results of crashing an older five-star car into a new one – say, one from 2002 and one from 2020 – would astound you. The older vehicle would appear to be anything but five-star. This is due to the fact that the ANCAP test is a constantly evolving beast that helps push the industry to become safer.

As new technology enters the market, it is quickly integrated into the testing process and becomes the bare minimum for achieving high ratings. Getting a good rating is important for car manufacturers in order to sell their vehicles, so everyone is scrambling to meet the standards.

It's important to remember that ANCAP ratings have a six-year shelf life, but they can be replaced sooner if a new model variant hits the market. The average age of cars on our roads is 14 years – that's a lot of metal hurtling across our country with antiquated safety features. That old five-star car you're thinking about buying might not be particularly safe by today's standards.

Because ANCAP only applies to new vehicles, it is only applicable to a small portion of our vehicle fleet (about 12 percent). In our import-heavy market, the USCR and VSSR account for the vast majority of ratings.

Why don’t imports have an ANCAP rating

Because the rating is only applicable to vehicles with the exact features tested, used imports from Europe and Japan do not have ANCAP ratings. Imported vehicles may be outfitted differently. Manufacturers inform Waka Kotahi of the features in each new model sold on our shores, but because they are not usually involved in the importation of used vehicles, they cannot guarantee the safety features installed.

If you're buying a used import, visit to see the safety rating and check how many stars it has.

Active or passive safety

The active and passive safety features in a car protect you in different ways. You want a car with both.

  • Active safety features are all about avoiding crashes – think adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and collision warning systems.
  • Passive safety features protect you when a crash is happening – they include airbags, seatbelts and crumple zones.

What is the used car safety rating 

The UCSR is based on data collected by Monash University from over eight million vehicle crashes. Ratings are derived from police reports detailing the type of crash and injuries sustained in incidents in both New Zealand and Australia. Vehicles are rated from one to five stars, similar to ANCAP, with five-star vehicles being the safest.

Because there are so many imported vehicles on our roads, UCSR accounts for the majority of the market's safety ratings (about 60 percent).

The UCSR includes models labelled as "Safer Picks." These are the vehicles that should be at the top of your shopping list. They not only have five-star ratings, but they also have electronic stability control and reversing aids (either reversing sensors, a camera or both).

Electronic stability control (ESC)

Electronic stability control (ESC) is a safety feature that kicks in when you start losing control of your vehicle. When it detects a problem, it manages the engine, brakes, power steering, and traction control. The system prevents a minor loss of control from escalating into a catastrophic spin.

Since 2008, it has been a mandatory feature for achieving five stars with ANCAP, and since March 2020, it has been a requirement for all new and used cars imported into the country. You should avoid any vehicle that lacks it, which likely excludes most Japanese imports manufactured prior to 2009. It's possible that pre-2009 European models have it, but it's not guaranteed.

Vehicle safety risk rating (VSSR)

Very new imports or less common vehicles will not have enough crash data to generate a UCSR. This is where the VSRR enters the picture. It's similar to the UCSR, but instead of being model-specific, the ratings are based on comparable vehicles from the same year of manufacture.

An ANCAP rating cannot be directly compared to a UCSR or VSSR. A five-star ANCAP rating is not the same as a five-star UCSR rating. Cars will be rated using one of these systems; regardless of which system is used, look for the highest number of stars.

Once you've narrowed down your options, go to, where you can find information on vehicle safety, fuel economy, and emissions all in one place. You can search the data by make and model, or enter the licence plate of the vehicle you're interested in.

Rail Safety

Despite a drop in the number of collisions and near misses, Kiwis need to be more alert around trains than ever before.

The number of collisions and near misses with people and vehicles have both fallen by more than 40 per cent over the last four years. But with the Government delivering on its commitment to invest in rail and create jobs as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery plan, there will be more trains running in the coming years.

A single death or serious injury is one too many. Over the last decade, 163 people have died in collisions with trains. Behind each statistic is a person, with whānau, friends and colleagues.

Collisions with trains are avoidable. Whenever we cross the rail corridor we all need to be alert, obey signs, warning bells and barriers, and take the time to check for trains.

The Government is continuing to make level crossings safer with more than 70 level crossings upgraded around the country since 2018. These are improving safety in our urban centres and regions, and more upgrades are being planned.

At crossings

  • Always use formed pedestrian crossings or keep on the footpath at road level crossings.
  • Wait for alarm bells and flashing lights to stop before crossing. There may be more than one train.
  • Always stop and look both ways, up and down the track.
  • Never walk down the tracks - it is dangerous and illegal with a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • Never walk on railway bridges or in railway tunnels - there is only enough space for trains.
  • Not all trains (eg, freight and trains not in service) stop at every station. A fast train creates a vacuum which can suck you in if you are too close. Stand 5 metres back from the tracks.
  • Always remove headphones when crossing railway tracks. Never talk or text on a mobile phone while around railway tracks.

Catching the train

  • Always use paths, overpasses and official pedestrian crossings to enter and leave a station or changing from one platform to another.
  • Only step over the yellow safety line when the train has stopped.
  • Allow passengers to disembark first before boarding the train.
  • When boarding the train, mind the gap between the train and the platform.
  • When the warning signal sounds to alert that the doors will be closing, ensure you keep clear and do not obstruct the doors.

Travelling at night

  • Check the timetables and pre-plan your journey before coming to the station.
  • Check Service announcements or sign up for train text updates to keep informed of service changes
  • Choose to sit in carriages with other customers rather than by yourself.
  • When waiting for a train, stand in well-lit areas, preferably in or near the shelter.
  • Listen to music on a lower volume at night so that you can stay aware of your environment.
  • If you feel you unsafe, press the button on the orange Emergency Help Point on the platform to attract the attention of the CCTV operator.

Children and rail safety

TrackSAFE NZ recommends schools who are close to the rail corridor consider including rail safety in their yearly planning. Comprehensive curriculum-based rail safety resources are available to download from:

NZ Transport Agency’s website or
TrackSAFE’s website.

“Stop, Look, Wait and Walk,”. Students at Paroa School in Greymouth can give this advice with the full weight of experience behind them. They have to cross a railway line every day on their way to school.

It helps children understand why rail tracks and trains, tunnels and bridges are so dangerous. They learn the importance of keeping off the tracks, and learn safe behaviour at railway stations and level crossings.

Safety rating flow chart