An Otago University study shows areas popular with children in summer need more shade.
Researchers used cameras to monitor sun protection in popular outdoor recreations.
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It found only 10.7 percent of people get out of the sun when protection is needed, and only 4.3 percent wear sun-protective hats. Hat-wearing was much lower among children at only 1.3 percent.
Author Ryan Gage told Newshub playgrounds and pools lack cover.
"These other recreation spaces, they are a site where sunburn is quite common over the summer months, so they are a good setting to focus on," he said.
Mr Gage says the melanoma level is too high and New Zealand doesn't have a strong sun safety programme.
"In contrast in Australia they have run a sustained programme over the last 30 years or so," he said.
Mr Gage said people are more likely to die from melanoma than on the roads.