If you believe someone you know is missing, and before you phone the police, first determine if the person is really lost; maybe they have just changed their plans.

Then gather this information:

  • The person’s name
  • A description of the person including age
  • A description of any vehicles, clothing or equipment
  • Where they were going and what time they were supposed to be back
  • What you have done to locate them.

There are no hard and fast rules about how long you should wait after you think a person is overdue before you call for help. For example, if you can’t find a child within an hour or so, it is time to call for assistance. An experienced tramper who is 6 hours overdue from a 2-week trip might not be quite so worrisome. It depends on the people, how prepared they are, the weather, medical conditions, etc.

Remember: everyone in Search and Rescue would rather be called out and have the missing person show up five minutes later, than be called out too late.

The Land Safety Code

There are 5 simple rules to help you stay safe in the outdoors…


1. Choose the right trip for you

Learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it.

It’s important to choose a trip that suits you and everyone in your group.  

When you are looking at the options, make sure you think about everyone’s fitness levels and experience in the outdoors.

2. Understand the weather

It can change fast. Check the forecast and change your plans if needed.

Weather can make or break a trip. It’s one of the most important things to consider when going into the outdoors.  


3. Pack warm clothes and extra food

Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected night out.

Any trip, even if it is short or easy, needs preparation. Packing the right things makes trips safer and more enjoyable.  

4. Share your plans and take ways to get help

Telling a trusted person your trip details and taking a distress beacon can save your life.

We all want our trips to go as planned – but sometimes they don’t. If you got hurt or lost on your trip, how would you get help?  


5. Take care of yourself and each other

Eat, drink and rest, stick with your group and make decisions together 

The best way to enjoy your experience in the outdoors and make it home safely is to look out for one another.  

Plan My Walk

Plan My Walk will help you plan and prepare for your NZ outdoor adventure.

Download the Plan My Walk app designed by the Mountain Safety Council to make planning easy #MakeItHomeNZ