Staying safe as an international student

New Zealand and Auckland are very safe by global standards. This page covers who to contact if you do have any concerns about your safety and tips for staying safe in New Zealand.

Safety on campus

Everyone has a role to play in making AUT’s campuses safe. AUT security staff are located on all three campuses. They are available 24/7 days a week.

You can also take some simple, common sense precautions to look after your own personal health, safety and security on campus.

For assistance on campus you can call AUT security on 0800 AUT SAFE or +64 9 921 9997.

Safety and security on campus


For emergencies, call 111 to contact police, fire or ambulance. For non-emergencies call 105 . There are police stations in all main towns and cities and in many rural areas.

The AUT after-hours phone number for urgent support or assistance is (09) 921 9900.

Safety tips for living in New Zealand

Although New Zealand is seen as a safe country by global standards, you still need to be aware of your personal safety and surroundings just as you would be at home.

Tips for staying safe

  • Don't walk alone late at night and avoid unlit areas
  • Don’t carry lots of cash, valuables or expensive jewellery with you
  • New Zealanders are very sociable, but you need to be sensible
  • Be aware of people around you when using ATMs (cash machines) and hide your Personal Identification Number (PIN)
  • Make sure someone who knows where you’re going and when you should arrive at your destination

It’s illegal to carry weapons like guns or knives or similar objects for self-defence or personal security. This includes stun guns and mace or pepper spray.

Safety in Auckland

Auckland is a fairly safe city, but as in any city you need to be aware of your safety in public places, especially at night. Read more about safety in Auckland on our living in Auckland web page.

Living In Auckland

Alcohol is widely consumed at social events in New Zealand, but it’s OK not to drink alcohol.

There is a 24-hour, 7 day a week alcohol ban in the Auckland Central Business District (CBD) area. This applies in public spaces, meaning anywhere outside private residences or licensed venues such as in the street or in parks.

Tips for being safe with alcohol

  • It’s illegal to buy alcohol if you are under 18 and it is illegal to give alcohol to anyone under 18
  • There are often alcohol bans in public spaces
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Know where your drink is at all times

There have been cases of ‘drink spiking’ in New Zealand, where somewhere adds an untraceable drug to a drink without the drinker being aware. If you feel dizzy or uncomfortable after a drink, make sure a friend looks after you, and seek medical advice.

Drugs and alcohol awareness

Understanding how alcohol and drugs affect your body will keep you safe and help you make informed decisions.

Find out more

Buying alcohol

Alcohol is sold in liquor stores, supermarkets, and licensed venues (such as bars, restaurants, and nightclubs). You may be asked for proof of age to ensure you are over 18.

How to show you’re over 18

The forms of ID that have been approved under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Regulations 2013 are:

  • Any current passport
  • A current new zealand driver licence
  • A Kiwi Access 18+ card

You can download an 18+ card application form or pick up one up at your nearest PostShop. There is an application fee. To apply, you will need to take your completed form, a passport-sized photo, identification to prove you are over 18, and proof of address to a PostShop.

Drugs are illegal

Drugs (other than some prescription drugs) are illegal in New Zealand. These include marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, magic mushrooms, ‘P’, methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin.

There are risks involved with taking them and penalties for possession are severe.

There are some stunning one-day and multi-day walks in many different locations around New Zealand. However, the weather in New Zealand can change very quickly.

To stay safe when you’re going hiking or tramping, take some precautions.

Take the following precautions:

  • Take clothes for all types of weather and make sure they are warm and waterproof
  • Never tramp alone
  • Always tell someone where you’re going
  • Always stay on the designated track
  • Be prepared for emergencies. Take a first aid kit, extra food, and a mobile phone

For more info on bush walking or hiking in New Zealand visit the Department of Conservation website.

Department of Conservation website

New Zealand is a great country to experience the outdoors, but you need to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun.

Tips for protecting yourself

We recommend that when outdoors you “slip, slop, slap and wrap”:

  • Slip on clothing that covers your skin
  • Slop on SPF 15 or better sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Wrap on some sunglasses

When to be extra careful

Avoid direct sun for long periods between 11am and 3pm when it is at its harshest.

For more on how to keep safe while living life in the sun visit the Sun Smart website.

Sun Smart website

New Zealanders often plan recreational activities involving water, including swimming, kayaking, barbeques or picnics, and fishing.

Take great care near water such as rivers, lakes and beaches. These locations can appear very safe and calm, but there can be hidden dangers like strong tides or rips, or objects underwater that can’t be seen.

To be safe in the water in New Zealand you should:

  • Learn to swim
  • Never swim alone
  • Swim between the two flags at the beach (flags only at beaches with lifeguards)
  • Always wear a life jacket in a boat

You can find resources on staying safe in the water on the Water Safety New Zealand website.

Water Safety website

There are various scams on the rise around the world, including some scams targeting international students and migrants in New Zealand.

We want to make sure you’re all safe.

To stay safe online, remember:

Government officials will never ask you to share your personal details or transfer money over the phone or advise you not to contact anyone.

Take a few minutes to explore some tips provided by our friends at Netsafe to avoid scams.

Tips to avoid scams

Life in Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand's economic powerhouse and largest city, with 1.6 million people and easy access to key international markets. It has all the advantages of a big city and is culturally diverse. This makes Auckland a great city for your university studies.


Contact AUT security

Safety for students on campus is our priority. Our friendly security staff are available day and night to help.

Phone: 0800 AUT SAFE (0800 288 7233)

Download the AUT Safe app from Google Play and iTunes.

AUT Safe features include:

  • Emergency contacts
  • Friend walk
  • Safety toolbox
  • Campus maps
  • Emergency plans
  • Support resources
  • Safety notifications

Download today to ensure you’re prepared in the event of an emergency.