The Grinch who stole Christmas gifts: Kiwis are falling victim to ‘porch pirates’

  • News
  • December 8, 2017
  • Findlay Buchanan
The Grinch who stole Christmas gifts: Kiwis are falling victim to ‘porch pirates’

Online sales are up by 16 percent year on year, and with Amazon setting up across the Tasman, these numbers can only be expected to increase. So, as Kiwi verandahs receive more and more goods, how can we make sure that shoppers’ online orders are not intercepted by package-stealing porch pirates?

According to New Zealand Police Data, the month before Christmas has an increased rate of burglary and home invasion. Additionally, new research commissioned by Nest, which surveyed 500 people across New Zealand, show that 17 percent of Kiwis have at some point been subject to package burglary.

Wellington resident Grace Mirams says that within the space of a year, thieves stole five packages from her property.

“I was silly enough to not request signing a few times and managed to lose hundreds of dollars worth of my property. I’ve learned since then, but a lot of the time there’s no way around it, I’ve found,” says Mirams.

Nest’s study found that of those that worked full time jobs (35 hours or more), one in five had been victim to this kind of theft.

According to the data, Mirams, a full-time student, would’ve been in the minority with her loss. Ten percent of full time students surveyed said they had had their possessions plucked from their doorsteps. Comparatively, 20 percent of full-time workers are hit with package theft.  Apartment dwellers are also commonly targeted and 19 percent fall victim to package theft. Nest’s insightful research seem to suggest that the issue is bigger than we might understand, so how can we keep a wrap on these pesky suburban package thieves without being there to stop them?

Although 33 percent of Kiwis have experienced theft at some stage, 48 percent have still not put adequate safety measures in place. Solutions via emerging technology and innovative services are available, however Kiwis seem reluctant to deploy them. Here’s three useful products or services which could help keep unwanted visitors at bay.

New Zealand Post:

NZ Post’s local initiatives include its first multi-brand deal, Shipmate. In collaboration with The Warehouse Group, for one upfront payment online shoppers have an unlimited amount of purchases free of a delivery fee. To make sure these deliveries are secure, New Zealand Post has enabled customers to communicate with delivery drivers, letting parcels be placed in personalised, secret locations. Whether it be behind the barbeque, in a pot plant or under the porch, the NZ Post reckon they’ve got you covered.


The ecommerce giant has released a new delivery scheme - an interoperable smart key service. The service notifies the owner’s cellphone when a package is being delivered and verifies courier drivers by sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. Once accepted, the camera unlocks the door and begins recording. After the parcel has been delivered, the camera notifies the owner and locks the door, supposedly leaving your parcel intact while keeping a tab on the courier driver.


Nest, which recently arrived in New Zealand, is selling an outdoor camera that alerts its owner when unwanted pests are sifting around the premises. By pests we mean both human and non- human beings - Nest cameras are smart enough to distinguish between the two and  will let the property owner know about it. The Nest Outdoor Cam alerts its owner’s phone when somebody is on the property, enabling them to view any suspicious activity on their phone.  Additionally, the owners can speak into their cell phone, which is relayed through the camera to ward off those pesky porch pirates with a verbal spray.

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