I purchased this guide as a break from the Lonely Planet guide I used the last time visiting New Zealand three years ago. With that guide, I encountered the same travelers again and again. This was my second trip--the first was two weeks touring by motorcycle, this second trip was for 6 weeks engaged in a variety of activities on both the North and South islands.
Unfortunately, while Mr. Donald provides a refreshing tone to the book, the inaccuracies and lack of critical information made the book useless to me. As my trip continued, I became increasingly annoyed by minor and major issues, and eventually stopped using the book by week 4.
A glaring example is a lack of useful information (and index reference) regarding Milford Sound itself. Perhaps it was just an editorial oversight with a section cut mistakenly, but this is one of the most desirable places to visit in New Zealand. There is a description of the road to Milford, but as I approached the area looking for lodging and activity information, I could find none and had to turn to the internet for useful information. As a popular, yet remote destination, it is critical to have information about boat trips, kayaking, flights, lodging, fuel, bookings and other transportation options. I can't see how this could have been omitted deliberately--but it's just not there (although it is pictured on the cover and not referenced in the photo).
A second example is the dearth of useful maps to help get orientation. The book mentions a lot of towns, but doesn't provide map guidance to show you where they are. The primary maps seem to be the ones that show 3-6 major cities at the head of each of the 15 sections that discuss potential destinations. There a few local maps, but not nearly enough as other guides. A travelers problem that resulted: The listed bus went close to Invercargill, but not through--couldn't find out how far Gore or Balfour are from Invercargill (pretty far).
There are several small instances of a lack of clarity which could be editorial overight, but for travelers, some small omissions could end up as larger problems. I.e., the transportation section for Whitianga discusses a 5 minute ferry crossing--in the graphic it says "passenger ferry" but in the text discusses it as an option for gaining access to the sights on the other side. Unfortunately, there are few transportation options once you get across without a vehicle--or you'll need to backtrack 40km in your car if you don't want to take a tour.
There are numerous minor editorial mistakes (mis-spellings, innacuracies, businesses and activities that no longer exist) which you expect with any guide book. These are easy to bypass initially, but after finding a pretty shallow look at the rest of the country, they leave you feeling more and more annoyed than patient.
Overall, one would do far better by joining the local auto club, where you can get a guide to lodging, maps, and guides to activities that are actually up to date (which I ended up doing). The Lonely Planet guide was the only other one I used, which as better, but still mediocre (3 stars) Originally, I purchased the book as a change. I got that--a fresh tone, but I also received too much empty space and won't look to Footprint again for now.