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Heading Into The Great Outdoors These Holidays? Ka Puta Atu Koe Ki Te Koraha I Ēnei Hararei?

New Zealand Police and the NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) predict a high number of people will hit Aotearoa’s beautiful outdoors over the holiday season, and they want to make sure everyone makes it home safely from their adventure.

We all want to hit the track as soon as the sun rises, and MSC has some top tips for those exploring Aotearoa's tracks this summer: do your research and pack appropriately, have a plan B, and share your trip plan with someone you trust.

“Doing your research and finding the right track for you and your group’s abilities is really important. This includes checking the weather forecast and understanding how this can impact your trip. Packing warm layers and waterproof clothing, such as a rain jacket, regardless of the weather forecast is always a smart idea,” MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley says.

“Having a Plan B means you are prepared for the unexpected. As part of this, it’s a great idea to also carry some emergency supplies, such as a first aid kit, a little extra food, or perhaps an emergency shelter. You can tailor those emergency supplies to suit the length and remoteness of your adventure, for example for any overnight trip a spare day worth of food and an emergency shelter are essential,” Daisley says.

Finally, sharing your trip plan before heading out, including the time you expect to return home, with someone you trust means they can call for help if you’re not back by the agreed time.

Police’s National Search and Rescue Capability Coordinator, Senior Sergeant Lea Smith, agrees that being prepared is key.

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“For anyone heading into the outdoors this summer, consider more than one form of communication to call for help or update loved ones. Remember you might not have cellphone coverage.

“A registered distress beacon is an important part of your equipment – you can rent or buy one. Beacons can save lives. They give searchers essential information that will help them get to you if you are lost or injured,” Senior Sergeant Smith says.

If you are planning to get outdoors and exploring the country’s tracks, it is a really good idea to take some time to learn about your destination and to prepare yourself by using MSC’s Plan My Walk(link is external) app and website. With over 1600 tracks to choose from, you get also get track alerts, MetService(link is external) weather forecasts and warnings, interactive gear lists; and your personalised trip plan can be sent to group members and your emergency contact. It’s free to use, and the perfect tool for sound summer planning.

The NZ Land Safety Code(link is external) provides five key steps for enjoying the outdoors, safely:

Choose the right trip for you: Kōwhiria te haerenga tika māu
It pays to learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it.

Understand the weather: Kia mārama ki te huarere
It can change fast. Check the forecast and change your plans if needed.

Pack warm clothes and extra food: Kawea ngā kākahu whakamahana me ētahi atu kai
Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected extra night out.

Share your plans: Whakamōhiotia atu ō whakaritenga
Telling a trusted person your trip details and taking a beacon can save your life.

Take care of yourself and each other: Tiakina koe me tangata kē atu
Eat, drink, rest, and stick with your group and make decisions together.

For more helpful information on outdoor safety, helpful free resources and videos, you can visit the NZ Mountain Safety Council website(link is external).

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