Tips for a safe and enjoyable journey Waitangi Weekend


The NZ Transport Agency says everyone has a role to play in keeping people safe on our roads this Waitangi Weekend. “Please be smart and plan ahead if you’re heading away,” says Journey Manager Lee Wright.

Roads across the South Island are expected to be busy as people make the most of the long summer weekend. 

The northern route out of Christchurch will be heaviest from 4.30 to 7 pm, on Friday as will roads in and out of Dunedin and Queenstown.

The Transport Agency has no active work sites over Waitangi weekend, but there will be speed restrictions and traffic lights in operation in some places.

“Increased traffic volumes, tiredness and driving in unfamiliar environments can make driving over these long weekends not only more stressful but also more risky,” says the Transport Agency’s Journey Manager Lee Wright.

“Remember you’re sharing the road with many others, you have a responsibility to be courteous and patient to ensure you look after yourself, your families and other road users.”

“Think of the time getting to your destination as part of your ‘weekend away’, make the most of being together with friends or family even if it is in the car, relax and enjoy your journey.

Remember, while there are visiting drivers from other countries on the roads also at this time of the year, many Kiwis also visit unfamiliar places for Waitangi so we all need to take extra care and be patient.

NZ Transport Agency’s top tips for a safe Waitangi Weekend(external link)

  • Take the time to check your vehicle is safe –tyres/ spare tyre, indicators, windshield wipers, lights.
  • Allow plenty of time – make your journey part of the holiday.
  • Rest stops are important for the driver and passengers.
  • If possible, share the driving.

For the latest on highway conditions, go to link), phone the Transport Agency’s 0800 4 HIGHWAYS info line or check the Facebook pages.(external link)

Congestion Hot Spots South Island - link)

The tables in this PDF(external link) provide a snapshot of highway routes, dates and times where traffic congestion was particularly heavy during Waitangi Weekend in previous years. If you are able to avoid the congested times, do so. If not, be ready for a slower start or end to your trip.