Staying safe over summer
Summer has arrived and we are all ready for a break we can enjoy! As you head off from University, we want to ensure that you, your friends, and whānau have all the information you need to stay safe and have a great time. Here are some of our top tips for staying safe over summer.
The Great Outdoors
It’s important for hikers to be well prepared when planning activities in the outdoors. Check out these five simple rules (available in a range of languages) before you set off on a tramp. Tell someone where you are going andplan your journey by visiting an i-SITE or the DOC website.
If you are heading to the beach, pick one with a lifeguard and always swim between the red and yellow flags. Know your limits and never enter the water alone, you can ask a lifeguard if you would like advice on how to stay safe at the beach you visit.
If you see someone in trouble at the beach, inform a lifeguard or call 111 if there is not one nearby. Check out Surf Lifesaving NZ for more beach safety tips.
New Zealand’s sunlight can be particularly damaging to your skin and eyes, as it can have high levels of ultraviolent (UV) radiation. You can protect yourself by being sun smart, and making sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Remember to:
- SLIP – on long sleeved clothing, or into the shade
- SLOP – on broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen
- SLAP – on a hat
- WRAP – on sunglasses
Take extra care when travelling on New Zealand’s roads during the holidays, as there can be more traffic, new roads, and longer drive times, which adds to tiredness and distraction.
- Check your tyre pressure, lights, and that your vehicle’s Warrant of Fitness is up to date. New Zealand Transport Agency shows you how, here.
- Wear your seatbelt. They reduce the risk of being killed or seriously injured in a road crash by around 40%.
- Factor in regular breaks on long journeys. Always drive to the conditions, whether it be weather, road works, speed limits, or your vehicle load and keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Limit alcohol intake if you are driving. Alcohol is a leading cause of road deaths and accidents in New Zealand and drink driving is a serious offence. If you are drinking, plan a ride home (bus, taxi, train or stay with a friend) as it is not worth the risk.
Alcohol and other drugs
Over summer, many of us will decide on whether to use alcohol or other drugs. Choosing to use alcohol and other drugs always involves risk of harm; it’s important to stay mindful about what can go wrong and what can help you to be safer. The NZ Drug Foundation has put together the Six Ways to be Safer for people choosing to use drugs or alcohol.
You can find more information on understanding alcohol use here.
Scams will try to obtain personal and financial information from you. This might include: attempts to gain access to your passwords, requests to transfer money or prompts to enter your details into a pop-up link are telltale signs that something is likely amiss. Scammers may also do things like try to gain photos of your driver’s license or photo ID ‘as proof of identity’ whilst feigning interested in making an online purchase or ticket sale.
You can find out how to report a scam and access more information on avoiding online scams via the NetSafe website.
Never give out personal information like your address or financial information to someone you have met online and think carefully before adding a potential date on social media. Always meet in public and tell someone you trust where you are going. NetSafe has a wealth of additional resources and advice on online dating advice, as well as information on subjects such as nude sharing, deep fakes, and online porn use.
Spotting fake news can be difficult, but you will likely have heard this term used before. Fake news can either mean disinformation or misinformation, both of which are dangerous as they can divide people and cause harm within society. You can find out more about fake news and what to do if you think you have encountered it, here.
With international travel being disrupted due to Covid-19, we recognise that many students might find themselves dealing with homesickness over summer. Try to remember you are not alone, set yourself some goals and things to look forward to throughout the summer break.
Keen to socialise? Try:
- Joining one of the University’s 200 Clubs and Student Group communities
- MeetUp – a service connecting you with people in your area who have the same interests as you.
- NauMai NZ, a website for international students studying in New Zealand, with lots of ideas for things to do over summer and for looking after your wellbeing.
- EventFinda or Heart of the City for heaps of ideas of fun things to do over the summer.
If you find yourself struggling, remember there is always help available to you, please reach out. For information on getting support at the University, check out this video.
By now, we are all aware of what we need to do to keep ourselves and our communities safe from Covid-19. These steps have been suggested by the New Zealand Government:
- Keep scanning with the Covid Tracer app
- Turn on Bluetooth Tracing
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wash your hands
- Wear a mask on public transport
- Be kind.
For more tips, check out the Unite Against Covid-19 website.