Chief Executive Mike Daisley said Waitangi weekend was an ideal time for families to go on a day trip, but it’s also a weekend that’s well above average for injuries and searches.

Mountain Safety Council (MSC) is encouraging people to consider the possibility of an unexpected night out and plan accordingly, even if they are only intending to do a day walk this Waitangi weekend.

“It’s really easy to get caught out in New Zealand. The weather has been known to change rapidly, and this year we’ve had snow flurries in mid-January,” said Daisley.

“Best practice is to consider the ‘what if’s’ and come up with a backup plan if things don’t quite work out as you’d expect,” said Daisley.

“Really, it’s about accepting that a small injury, poor time management or a navigation mistake can slow you down or disorient you very quickly. If you don’t have the equipment or a plan in place to deal with this, you could end up out overnight,” said Daisley.

Making sure someone outside your group knows your destination and when to expect you back should also be a routine part of your trip preparation, Mr Daisley said.

“Leaving your trip intentions with somebody is critical, and it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Communicate your intended route and when you plan on returning, then pass this to a trusted contact is all that is needed. Head to our website for details on how to do this effectively,” said Daisley.

“Remember, if nobody knows you’re out there a search won’t begin for some time, and may look in the wrong place,” said Daisley.

He suggested people check out the MSC website mountainsafety.org.nz for safety tips and resources to help plan for their journey.

If you’re heading out this long weekend regardless of your trip length or location it’s important to always carry some of the following items,

1. Spare clothing and food
2. A simple emergency kit – Pack Liner, whistle and head torch
3. Suitable communication device – NZ has poor cell phone reception in the outdoors
4. Tell someone where you’re going, and when you’ll be back

OUTDOOR SAFETY CODE

• Plan your trip
Seek local knowledge, plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.

• Tell someone 
Tell someone your plans and leave a date for when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned.

• Be aware of the weather 
New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable.  Check the forecast and expect weather changes.

• Know your limits
Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.

• Take sufficient supplies
Make sure you have enough food, equipment and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication.

For detailed information and resources including free downloadable guides and videos head to www.mountainsafety.org.nz