3 February 2017

How to stay safe while you are studying in New Zealand

Linley Boniface
Last updated: 25 January 2022

New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world – we rank second in the Global Peace Index for 2021*. Our crime rates are low, and we consistently rate as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

We also have no dangerous wildlife to worry about – no snakes, no scorpions and definitely no crocodiles!

Your education provider is responsible for making sure you are well-informed, safe and properly cared for during your time in New Zealand.

All education providers must sign the New Zealand government’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students before they can enrol international students.

The Code sets out the fair and ethical practices and support systems providers must have and covers international students of all ages and level of education.

You can also take some sensible precautions to keep yourself safe while you are studying in New Zealand:

  • Always lock your house or flat when you go out.
  • Lock your car when it is parked.
  • Stay in well-lit areas when you are out at night.

NauMai NZ

Find out more about keeping yourself and your belongings safe on NauMai NZ, our dedicated website for international students studying in New Zealand.

Stay safe while you’re driving

If you plan to drive, there are a few things you need to remember to help you stay safe:

  • We drive on the left side of the road.
  • Everyone in the car must wear safety belts and children under seven must use an approved safety restraint.
  • It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while you are driving.
  • There is a zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 – if you drink then drive you may lose your licence.

Driving in New Zealand

For more information, read Driving in New Zealand published in 14 languages by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Stay safe in the sun

To protect yourself from sunburn:

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and try to stay in the shade.
  • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and reapply it frequently.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim or protective flaps.
  • Use close-fitting sunglasses – look for the words ‘good UV protection” on the label.

Stay safe in New Zealand’s natural environment

New Zealand has spectacular scenery and fantastic recreational opportunities, so you’re likely to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. It’s important to follow a few basic safety rules.

  1. Always check the weather forecast before you set off, and take a waterproof jacket and warm clothing – even in the summer. New Zealand weather can be very changeable.
  2. Check the recommended level of fitness required for any walk before you head off – many of our walks are quite challenging. And wear walking shoes or hiking boots. Street shoes are not suitable.
  3. Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If something goes wrong, you’ll be easier to find.

Dial 111 for help

The emergency telephone number in New Zealand is 111. It is a free phone call, even from your mobile phone. The operator will put you through to the Police, the Fire Service, Ambulance or Search and Rescue.

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About the contributors
Linley Boniface

Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.