'It could happen to anyone': Tourists in New Zealand on their new travel concerns

The death of British backpacker Grace Millane has shocked Kiwis and also unsettled travellers, who previously saw New Zealand as one of the safest places to backpack in the world.

She spent her final days at central Auckland's Base backpackers.  

Anita stayed with her and she says the young woman's joy about life and travel was infectious - but now, the mood in the backpacker's hostel has flipped. 

"Anger - major, major anger. Taking this lovely young girl away from her travels, her family, her friends," Anita told Newshub.  

And Anita's finding it tough to face the other travellers. 

"I've always been proud to say I'm a Kiwi - now, not so much. I either won't say anything or pretend I haven't heard the conversation."

Even those who didn't know Ms Millane are shaken.  

"We are all going out, we are going to party, we are meeting someone - we are all travellers, living our lives. It could happen to anyone," one tourist told Newshub.

"We always hear New Zealand is a safe country, it's very green, lots of tourists come," another said. 

And it turns out, New Zealand has a shameful history with female tourists. 

In 2012, Czech tourist Dagmar Pytlickova was killed near Waimate in south Canterbury. 

She was hitchhiking when she was picked up by her attacker, who sexually assaulted her and cut her throat. 

Scottish backpacker Karen Aim was bashed to death with a baseball bat on a Taupo street in 2008. Her killer was a 14-year-old boy.

In 2005, German tourist Birgit Brauer was hitchhiking near Whanganui. She was picked up driven to Lucy's Gully near New Plymouth before being bludgeoned and stabbed to death.

And in 1989, Swedish couple Heidi Paakkonen and Sven Hoglin vanish while tramping in the Coromandel. David Tamihere was jailed for their murders, but still maintains he is innocent. 

Chris Roberts from Tourism Industry Aotearoa doesn't think the latest murder will stop anyone coming here, but it is a safety reminder.  

"I think its made us reflect on the use of dating apps and a general view for anyone to be safe," Mr Roberts says.

"Let people know where they're going, who they're with and when they're expected to be back."

That view angers some, including Lizzie Marvelly, who wrote a blog saying the focus should be on male violence.  

"Women are already trying to keep themselves safe. We do, our entire lives, but these things keep happening - so maybe we need to focus on something else."

Tributes to Ms Millane is New Zealand's top trend on Twitter, under the hashtag #HerLightOurLove. A Catholic memorial has been held near her family home in Essex.   

And, half a world away, vigils are planned across New Zealand, for Kiwis who just want to say how sorry we are Ms Millane's life ended here. 

Police are also reminding people it is an offence to breach the strict suppression orders in place around the man accused of murdering Ms Millane. This includes using his name on social media.