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Severe Weather, Omicron, Bank Holiday: Stay Safe This Waitangi Weekend

Kiwis planning to get out on land or water this weekend from Waitangi should take the time to learn about the destination and understand the impact of MetService weather warnings, say two of the national outdoor safety organizations from the country.

the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) and Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) encourage people to enjoy the country’s slopes, mountains, rivers and beaches, but call for a safety-conscious approach this weekend. As Omicron circulates through the community and the current weather system traverses the country, it is more important than ever to have a good plan and take extra precautions.

Every weekend Waitangi, New Zealand’s hiking trails, rivers and beaches are well explored by Kiwis, but whatever your activities, choosing a destination that suits the whole group is really important, they say.

MSC chief executive Mike Daisley said the Waitangi weekend is traditionally one of the most popular long weekends for outdoor adventures on land and in water.

“We see thousands of walkers and walkers heading out on planned multi-day trips, or their local favorite trails, and in the last decade there have been twice as many trampling injuries and search calls and rescue over the Waitangi weekend compared to a typical weekend,” says Daisley.

Sadly, the tramp community experienced its first death of 2022 on Tuesday after the body of a male tramp was found in the remote Mt Adams Wilderness area on the west coast.

Daisley says the tragic death is a timely reminder to prioritize a safety-first approach this long weekend, and that includes addressing the growing spread of community cases of Covid-19 and weather events. extremes currently affecting the North and South Islands.

Using MSC’s new app, Plan my walk, hikers of all abilities can find, plan and prepare for a day, overnight or multi-day hike in New Zealand. Users can access tracking alerts and weather warnings from MetService to further assist them in their planning and decision making.

Another Kiwi favorite on the hottest days is to cool off in a nearby river, beach or lake. However, the recent Christmas and New Year period has been a dark time for drownings in New Zealand with a total of 15 lives lost, with an annual total of 74 for 2021.

WSNZ chief executive Daniel Gerrard said drowning is the leading cause of recreational death and the third leading cause of accidental death in New Zealand.

“New Zealanders love to play in the water, but there are always risks. We all need to be aware and think for a few minutes about water safety before heading into the water. It could save your life or yours. of your loved ones.

WSNZ says underestimating risk and overestimating ability are the biggest mistakes people make when in the water.

“Remember the water safety code. Be prepared, look out for yourself and others, be aware of the dangers and know your limits,” says Daniel Gerrard.

Special Note Regarding West Coast Weather Warnings

MSC and WSNZ are advising anyone with outdoor recreation plans across the South Island, particularly the West Coast, Tasman and South West to postpone planned trips as MetService has issued multiple severe weather warnings .

Additionally, anyone in nearby areas, especially Canterbury, Otago, Tasman and Marlborough, should approach the rivers with extreme caution. Heavy rains in the headwaters of watersheds will cause rivers to rise significantly, making river crossings extremely dangerous. Vagrants and hunters are advised to avoid river crossings during this time. High river levels are expected to last well through the Waitangi weekend.

Refer to New Zealand Land Safety Code:

1. Choose the trip that’s right for you: Learn about the itinerary and make sure you have the necessary skills.
2. Understand the weather: it can change quickly. Check forecasts and modify your plans if necessary.
3. Pack warm clothes and extra food: Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected night out.
4. Share your plans and find ways to get help: Telling a trusted friend about your trip details and taking an emergency beacon can save your life.
5. Take care of yourself and others: Eat, drink and rest, stay with your group and make decisions together.

Refer to
Aquatic Safety Code:

1. Be prepared.
2. Pay attention to yourself and others
3. Be aware of the dangers.
4. Know your limits.

Source: Mountain Safety Council New Zealand (MSC) and Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ)

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