Kiwi travellers welcome in north

By Imran Ali

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Noell Dezoete, owner of Bunkdown Lodge in Otaika, say young Kiwis are immature with their drinking and that is why they are not allowed to stay in some backpackers. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Noell Dezoete, owner of Bunkdown Lodge in Otaika, say young Kiwis are immature with their drinking and that is why they are not allowed to stay in some backpackers. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Northland backpacker accommodation providers have rolled out the welcome mat for Kiwi guests unlike backpackers in other parts of the country which do not allow New Zealanders to stay due to their anti-social behaviour.

Backpacker owners in Northland the Northern Advocate spoke to said it was difficult to pick on any group or guests as particular troublemakers, including Kiwis.

Their reaction followed reports a young Kiwi traveller from Auckland was turned away from a Blenheim backpackers after being told the business did not accept New Zealanders. The no-Kiwi policy is understood to have the backing of other accommodation providers in Blenheim who claim booze-loving Kiwi backpackers cause trouble, intimidate other guests and are uneducated.

But Noell Dezoete, owner of Bunkdown Lodge in Otaika, Whangarei, said although she was reluctant to take Kiwis, she had no problem with New Zealanders who were genuine travellers and were well-behaved.

However, she would not have football and rugby teams because of players' drinking culture.

"I can understand the stand Blenheim backpackers have taken because we've had in the past taken on people and regretted it. But genuine Kiwi travellers are allowed," she said.

Ms Dezoete said people have also in the past treated her backpackers as emergency housing and that she had since been careful in the choice of guests.

Paihia-based Pickled Parrot Backpacker Lodge owner, Rose Turner, said she has had genuine Kiwi travellers who wanted to explore the Far North, particularly the Te Aroha Cycle Trail.

"We're a small hotel with 15 rooms and we've had bad experiences in the past with large groups of people like rugby teams so we don't take large groups now.

"The policy with backpackers in Blenheim doesn't seem fair but presumably they must have a reason," she said.

David Fisher of Kaitaia Hire and Bike Backpackers said there were good and bad people everywhere .

"We're not a Nazi concentration camp to ban Kiwis. Drinking is legal so we don't see a problem accommodating them," he said.

- Northern Advocate

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