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Ten dangers Kiwis face this summer

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/01/2015
A woman standing on a cliff. © Getty Images A woman standing on a cliff.

The great New Zealand summer is a chance for many to free themselves from the daily grind, but the sun, sand, sport and frivolity can all be fraught with peril.

Here's a rundown of 10 dangers over summer to Kiwis - of all kind. 

SUNBURN: Summer may not have brought much sun yet, but when the sunshine does arrive, it's a threat. New Zealand and Australia have the highest melanoma rates in the world, so it pays to cover up and to keep the sunbathing to a minimum. 

WATER: The water is like a magnet to New Zealanders in summer, but its pull can become too much for the unwary. Drownings while swimming, fishing, boating and in other water-related incidents claimed 35 lives last summer.

SAND: It's not only the sun and the water which causes problems on the great kiwi beach holiday. ACC received claims for more than 850 sand-related injuries two summers ago - including a number of people who burned their feet walking on hot sand. 

DRIVING: For many New Zealanders, the biggest danger on the way to summer fun comes from getting there. Between December and February last summer 64 people lost their lives on the road and many more were badly hurt.

SPORT: Nobody disputes the value of exercise, but sports injuries are the bane of many over summer. No activity hurt New Zealanders more last summer than sporting activity - nearly 92,000 ACC claims were made for injuries suffered during sport.

FRUIT FLIES: Primary Industries officers are as vigilant with travellers as security officers, but discoveries of unwanted Aussie fruit flies still caused havoc twice in Northland last summer. Given how the PSA virus devastated kiwifruit, it's not hard to see why the fruit flies had authorities worried.

PLAYING: Summer is a great time for children to let loose, but the summer holiday gets cut short for many Kiwi kids. Nearly 18,000 claims were made to ACC last summer for injuries children picked up while playing.

SEX: Summer lovin' may be free and easy, but sex can also be a hazard - and not just from STDs. Over-exuberant sex cost the taxpayer $452,000 in the past five years via some 1200 claims made with ACC.

STOATS: For real kiwis - i.e. the birds, not the people - there is no greater danger. Stoats are responsible for about half of kiwi deaths, playing a big part in reducing them and other native birds to endangered status. DOC is hoping 1080 poison will help control them.

TOXIC ALGAE: A freshwater toxic algae, cyanobacteria, can develop in waterways during periods of warm temperatures, sunlight and low flows and can be deadly for dogs that eat it.

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