Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another Old Person Murdered in Own Home - Updated

It looks as if the elderly Christchurch woman who was found murdered in her own home yesterday may have died during a robbery that went wrong. Her death has been described as "horrific"

Police are saying that various items went missing from the woman's Huntsbury home, including her car, large screen television and computer, they later found the car a few kms away, suggesting that this may have been a local crime. They are not releasing details of how she died until the results of the post mortem are known but they did indicate that her body had probably been in the house for a couple of days.

Update 22 February
The deceased woman was later named as Gaynor Alice White, 62, a widow who had lost her husband to cancer 5 years ago and who had recently become a grandmother. Shaun Skilling, an unemployed 22-year-old from Parklands, Christchurch  has appeared on 4 charges in the Christchurch District Court and more are expected to follow. Police have said that a weapon had been used to kill Mrs White but aren't saying what it was.

This appalling attack on a defenseless woman is shocking. There have been so many similar crimes recently that we wonder if old people are now seen as easy targets in New Zealand. We think it would be a good idea if the government funded payments to old people so that they can install better security measures in their homes.

We've said before that one may judge the character of a society by how it treats the weak, the vulnerable, the most easily forgotten. Abuse of the young and the old is widespread in NZ, recent attacks on elderly people include:
  • A 72 year old man left shaken and bruised after being robbed at gunpoint at his home in Beerescourt Rd Road, Hamilton
  • Lois Dear, 66, murdered and sexually assulted in her classroom at Tokoroa primary school
  • Retired teacher John Rowe, murdered by two teenage girls in his Opotiki home
  • An elderly couple who were hopsitalized after a home invasion in New Plymouth
  • An elderly man kicked to the ground and assaulted by a truck driver in Manukau
  • An 85 year old man badly beaten during a home invasion at his Bethesda Village retirement home in Wiri.
  • 86 year old Patricia Burrows was left with a fractured pelvis, cuts and bruises after she was mugged in a Christchurch shopping mall
  • Yin Ping Yang, 80, died following a savage attack during a home invasion in Manurewa East that lasted for several hours.
Today's posts - click here

Theo Kriel. Suppression Orders And Bullying

The name of the boy that killed British school girl Libby Templeman has now been released. He is Hermanus Theodorus Kriel, known as Theo Kriel.

For some unknown reason his image has been suppressed until sentencing next month.

Just how this is going to work in practice is unclear because he has posted videos of himself on the net and they've been there since the middle of 2008. Is he technically in breach of his own suppression order and doesn't this highlight just how flawed New Zealand's suppression laws are?

According to a report on Stuff:
"A separate suppression order prohibiting publication of his image will remain in place until his sentencing on March 26. The court heard Kriel had moved with his family from South Africa to New Zealand when he was eight-years-old. He attended Kerikeri High School with Liberty, but told the court the pair had not been close friends.

They had both been in Year 10 at school and would occasionally text one another. "
Immediately after the verdict yesterday Liberty's father said:
"Since the first of November, 2008, when the life of our beautiful daughter Liberty was stolen, our lives have been in turmoil.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare that their child should die at the hands of someone else. We still struggle to see her without – I can't say his name until 12 o'clock tomorrow – just being there in the background."

The family did not understand why they had to go through the traumatic trial process after the boy had confessed so early in the case, Mr Templeman said.

He rejected the defence's claim the killing was manslaughter.

"For us there could not have been another verdict. If his only motive was to hide Liberty's body believing her to be already dead, then why did he drag her semi-naked through the shrub and into the stream and then hide her under the ginger [tree] when the long grass surrounding her would have already have hid her?

"Libby gave so much to so many and wanted nothing in return. Her big heart, her warm smile, vivacious personality will be missed by all who knew her."

The officer in charge of the case, Inspector Martin Ruth, said it had been a gruelling police investigation. "It was a tough job right from the start. At the end of the day there are no real winners, this young boy's going to get what's coming to him."

I'm just pleased for the Templemans that they got some justice in the end."
We'll reserve judgment as to whether the Templemans, and Libby, have got justice until the sentencing hearing next month.

A youth, who was 14 when he beat Scottish woman Karen Aim to death with a baseball bat in Taupo in 2008, got 'life' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12.5 years. Karen's father has vowed to fight any parole bid the youth may make in future.

It's a reminder that, despite' justice' being handed out, families of murder victims seldom know a moment of true peace and are forced to re-live the anguish of the crime every time a parole hearing is scheduled.

Balance that against a decision to restrict publication of Kriel's image  and you have to wonder whose interests the law really puts first.

Kriel a product of a bullying culture?
The trial verdict has been the subject of a thread on the NZ Yahoo message boards. One comment by caught our attention as it may explain why Kriel reacted in the way he did:
"I feel sorry for the boy since he was the focus of relentless bullying at Kerikeri High School. I don't actually know him but lots of students there who said his life was made hell. No wonder he as terrified to be mocked yet again! Why did this not come out in the trial? Kerikeri High School management and teachers should take a look at themselves!!!"

Today's posts - click here

Guilty Of Murder - Libby Templeman's Killer Convicted

The 16 year old youth who killed British school girl Liberty Rose Templeman was today found guilty of her murder by a 11-1 majority verdict, he was also found guilty of indecent assault.

The boy, who is thought to come from another southern hemisphere country, has been granted name suppression until overseas relatives have been informed of the verdict. He had already been named some time ago on a social networking website and comments were left beneath a video he'd posted on the net.

The verdicts, which came after a lengthy jury deliberation, will provide some relief for Libby's family, who are still left wondering why this kid did what he did. Was it a spur of the moment act or something that arose from a personality disorder that renders him likely to re-offend? we may never know.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the Templemans and to Libby's friends and school mates. Hers was such a bright light, gone too soon.

For more posts about Libby Templeman see here

Today's posts - click here

Thursday, February 18, 2010

NZ - The Most Boring Place On Earth

Earlier today we covered the MSN Travel UK announcement that New Zealand was the most boring place on earth according to the people on their message board.

Here are some more of the comments that were made, why chose NZ when you could have...Wales?

"New Zealand.
Well...dull if you come from UK and then after 30 hours of travel, you realise you could have gone an hour into Wales instead!  ...but then it's your own fault; firstly for giving it the benefit of the doubt and secondly for staying 2.5 months when you were really after a change of culture that you subsequently found in Asia!!
I know many people love 'the dullest place on earth' ;-) but for me, Australia beats it hands down."

"have to agree with you about New Zealand!
Rotura is the smelliest place in earth it was also the most unfriendly - I was walking across a road and 2 guys in a van decided to use the middle finger gesture for no reason!
It is def the southern hemisphere's answer to Wales!
Just another thing Air NewZealand - they are c*ap as well - the country can't do anything right."

"New Zealand is without doubt, although very beautiful, the most depressing place to live, been here for three years, as for shop staff being friendly you are sadly misguided they are more false than Jordan's breasts, pre proggrammed responses to everyone "how are you today" to everyone but when you respond they are completely flumoxed because they cant engage in conversation or they ask you the exact same question 2 seconds later lol.
Also came here as supposed to speak English but dont understand us even though we speak clear English, really low wages very expensive housing in comparison to wages. Boring lifestyle, bad education system, aggresive drivers, drugs are considered part of normal life as is drink driving."

"Sorry, but having spent a while working in New Zealand, I was disappointed in the place.  It has its' redeeming features but moving there should be considered very carefully.  It was boring, the wages suck and the weather can be as bad as the Uk and is often worse.  Beautiful scenery doesn't pay for the high cost of living and do not get me started on the damp homes and lack of central heating!!!!!!  It's ok for an expensive holiday but if you want to live somewhere picturesque with a few friendly people and lots of outdoor activities, then move to Wales or the Lakes!!!!!!!!!!"

"New Zealand.Really Dull,with its pompous Population of dead beats who enjoy a strange,boring life style."

"yes new zealand is 30 years behind avoid at all costs its very overrated."

"Yes New Zealand is incredibly dull. All you ever get from the Kiwis is how beautiful it is...... but they are actually all completely bored themselves. A vast percentage of them are always in the UK...... probably looking for some stimulation!"

"Either Norfolk, England, or Aukland, New Zealand.
I went on holiday in Aukland, and we were so bored, my father, my sister and I, went to a food court of a mall and gave ourselves a challenge: to eat one full portion of something from every restaurant in the food court. There were about twenty different restaurants.As you can tell, we were bored out of our MINDS!!! Well, it goes to show; the only funny thing about New Zealand is 'The Flight of the Conchords.' "

Today's posts - click here

"New Zealand - The Most Boring Place on Earth"


A few days ago Travel MSN UK published a list of the Most Boring Places on Earth. 

It was based on feedback from users of the site's message board,  readers were asked which places they thought were the dullest on the planet. "Home" came first in the first 4 locations, understandable because afterall this is a travel site, Brits aren't shy of saying what they think about their own backyards under such circumstances.
The readers' first placed foreign destination, New Zealand, may come as a surprise to a few but not to others. The country has long aspired to be the premier destination for cashed-up adrenaline junkies, how can it be boring? Interestingly it's not just travellers that responded to the survey but migrants living in New Zealand too.
"...And so to perhaps one of the most surprising entries on the world's most boring places list. The filming of the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand must have roughly quadrupled the number of British people who fantasise about the country as a place of mystery and beauty to which they long to escape.

Should they do so, however, they may find they have underestimated the (large) extent to which sheep outnumber humans in the country.

"We moved to New Zealand for a change of lifestyle," says Richard Fromage, one of several users disillusioned with the twin Antipodean islands. "We certainly got it: we felt like we'd moved into semi-retirement."

Another user calls the country "dull", with a "pompous" population who enjoy a "boring lifestyle". Yet another observes: "All you ever get from the Kiwis is how beautiful it is." So why are they all in the UK, he asks.

Yet Lalua is probably speaking for many when she says: "I lived in New Zealand for a year and thought it was very beautiful and the locals warm and friendly."
But this is nothing new.  Travel journalists have been taking their professional lives in their hands and saying New Zealand is boring for some years.

In 2002 Round the World Netjetter "Ellie" caused an absolute uproar when she described New Zealand in the Guardian newspaper as "One of the dullest places on earth." It quickly earned her the title of "public enemy number one" within New Zealand and even prompted a rebuttal from the tourism minister of the day. This is what she said that caused so much offence to so many:

"Describing travelling in New Zealand, I feel like the woman who swallowed a thesaurus in an incident described as tragic, awful, calamitous, disastrous and lamentable. There are lots of ways to describe the country, but it all boils down to the same thing: it's pretty. The Marlborough Sounds? Well, yes, they're beautiful. Fjordland? Dramatic. The glaciers? Remarkable. The mountains? Impressive. Waterfalls? Sensational.

What about the landscape, surroundings, terrain and views? Oh yes, they're all charming, dazzling, lovely, spectacular and striking. And they are. But nice hills and rivers don't hide the fact that New Zealand is essentially one of the dullest places on earth.

Take the Tranzscenic railway which runs from Greymouth to Christchurch. It is touted as one of the world's best train journeys. And while New Zealand remains as far away from most other countries as it is, Kiwis can probably convince themselves that this is true. But really, it's no nicer than that scenic bit in Staffordshire that British trains go through when they head north.

While Helen Clark, the country's prime minister, was in the UK trying to convince Britons that New Zealand is dynamic and ready for the 21st century, I was touring some of the cities here. Wellington, the capital city, has a population half the size of that of Luxembourg. Auckland, with over a million people, is supposed to be a cosmopolitan city. Nearly a third of the people in New Zealand live there. But a bustling city it certainly isn't.

One of the most frequently heard compliments about the country is that the people are friendly. They are, actually, but alas, friendly doesn't equal interesting. No wonder so many Kiwis spend years working for minimal wages in bars and pubs across the UK. I would too, if it was the only way to get away. The national bird is flightless and even the national fruit was brought here from somewhere else - China, in fact. Even New Zealand-born Russell Crowe has just applied for an Australian passport.

It's not that New Zealand isn't pleasant. As I've said, parts of it are very nice to look at indeed. It just lacks something. Personality, perhaps? The prettiest part of the country is the west coast of the South Island, which plays host to the Franz Josef and the Fox glaciers. I took a helicopter ride to a point on the Fox glacier where, kitted out with hobnailed boots, crampons and a walking stick, I hiked on the ice for a couple of hours. Because the glacier moves new paths and footholds have to be cut every day but, as this was the luxury helicopter hike, someone else did that for me.

The glacier can actually move up to 4m a day, surprisingly quick for New Zealand where "no worries" and "chill out" are regular refrains. "This hole is several hundred metres deep," said Ricky, the guide, pointing to a crack in the ice. I promptly dropped my sunglasses down it. This was the second pair to go, the first having committed suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Apart from the scenery, there are two things New Zealanders are proud of: Lord of the Rings, and being reigning champions of the America's Cup. Actually, make that three. New Zealand is also proud of being a nuclear-free zone. But this is one of the things the London Borough of Hackney boasts about, and you wouldn't want to spend three weeks touring Dalston, would you?

"I was in Lord of The Rings," said Dave, my bus driver. "I was one of the army fighting the Orcs in part two." We were driving through Twizel, a village on the South Island. "This here," said Dave, "was part of Middle Earth."

Ask a New Zealander to tell you something interesting about their country and after hesitating for several minutes, they'll probably come up with the America's Cup. For the uninitiated, this is a yacht race. As Team New Zealand are the reigning champions, a whole harbourside development in Auckland has been built on the America's Cup theme. "Look, there are our boys out on the water, practising," said the guide on my dolphin-spotting expedition. "Now all turn round and bow to them. They are our heroes."

The country has been living off this piece of sporting success for years, and probably will continue to do so for years to come. Which would be rather like the Brits still basking in the glory of their 1966 World Cup victory. Something we'd never do, surely?"
Here are some fairly typical responses from the NZ public to her critique of "God Zone"

  • "NZ lacks personality? You wouldn't know "personality" if it bit you on the arse, I'm afraid. All I can say is that it's high-and-mighty, jealous attitudes like yours which lost Britain its Empire!"
  • "For sure, New Zealand is a very small country, but for such a small and dull country we still manage to beat you in the recent cricket test and we often beat you by large and memorable scores in the rugby. Sure, our native bird may be flightless but you are wrong about the kiwifruit. See - we New Zealanders are interesting people." 
  • "It's a pity that you felt so bored in "Godzone". We certainly must be dull: we have no terrorists attacking us, no children being attacked by mobs and killed in front of housing estates and we enjoy a pretty fair amount of racial harmony for a country with such a diverse ethnic population. We also do not have to step over young men with dogs selling the Big Issue on the streets because they don't have a home to go to, most of us don't have to commute for ages just to get to work, and we don't get frozen in our moderate winters. We may indeed be dull for loving a lifestyle that can be found nowhere else on earth. If so, good on us!"
We are wondering what will happen when the news of the Travel MSN UK survey gets out!
See also:
The History of the Kiwi Fruit - Wikipedia 
See also blog posts New Zealand's problems with:
Child Poverty
Homeless People
Tourist Attacks
Armed Robberies
That's cold - exposing the myth about a sub tropical New Zealand
Migrants' Tales - First hand accounts of migrant life in New Zealand. 

Today's posts - click here

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Swiss Tourists Assaulted And Racially Abused In Kaitaia

 Welcome to Kaitaia

We've heard that a family of Swiss Tourists were attacked in Kaitaia, Northland in January, as far as we know the story never made it to the national press but it was reported by The Northland Age.

Local moteliers Dave and Jay Galbraith have spoken publicly a number of times about the disorderly anti-social behaviour that regularly takes place on  Kaitaia's North Road and they were stunned at the way the tourists were treated. Sadly it is yet another story about tourists not being forewarned about the possible dangers they face. According to The Northland Age:

"A Swiss couple and their daughter arrived, intending to stay for four nights, but left after one, complaining that their hosts should have warned them that the town's streets were too dangerous to walk - at seven o'clock on a summer's evening.

The family left the motel on their first evening in Kaitaia to walk into town, looking for a meal.

They had only travelled a hundred metres or so, however, when they were subjected to what Jay described as racist abuse from a group of young people, male and female, who were drinking on the other side of the road.

They quickened their pace but were struck by a flying bottle and other missiles. Fearing for their safety, they sought refuge at the Beachcomber Restaurant.

Clearly upset, they but did not stay for a meal, the proprietor driving them back to the motel.
They spent the night in their unit, doors and windows locked, and checked out next morning.

Jay said she and Dave had tried to undo some of the damage, but all the visitors wanted to do after that experience was leave.

"I wonder if these yoyos realise the damage they do to Kaitaia employment and tourism..."

"Yoyos" that's putting it a bit lightly, and what of the damage done to people to people and property? What about pro-active policing?
This and other incidents have been serious enough for the editor of the paper to write a lengthy article on the problems in Kaitaia, condemning mob rule in the township.  He says it's time the streets were "cleaned up":
"This is not the first time that something approaching mob rule has been experienced in Kaitaia. Some years ago an English visitor, a tank commander no less, abandoned a walk through the town's streets on a summer's evening after encountering numbers of young people whose demeanour was so threatening as to raise questions, in his mind at least, regarding his safety.
It is time the streets were cleaned up. "
In another report a reader contacted the paper to say she had been the subject of racial abuse from teenagers in Matthews Road whilst driving her two young grandchildren along the road. A gang of youths had battered her car and hurled insults. She reported the incident to the police but had heard nothing back:
"The woman added that she had thought Kaitaia was a "pretty threatening place" when she arrived in the town 13 years ago, but had now reached the point where she was encouraging her daughter and son-in-law to take their family and leave.

"I'm not doing that just because of this incident, but because I don't think this is going to be a good place to live," she said.

The change that she believed had taken place over the last 13 years, she added, was that the racist attitudes that had probably always existed were now being openly displayed."
Perhaps her family are well advised to leave. In November elderly retired teacher and grandmother  Barbara Catherine Julian was battered to death in her Kaitaia home by an intruder, she'd earlier told her niece she'd been thinking about leaving the town because people in the area were frightening her. A 17 year old youth has been charged with her murder.

For other posts about crime and tourist attacks in Northland, including an attack on Chinese tourists at 90 mile beach that was linked back to residents of Kaitaia, click HERE

Today's posts - click here

Families Of Murder Victims Protest Suppression Laws

The Press is carrying a story today about the families of murder victims asking for changes to suppression laws and protesting a failed justice system that they say puts the interests of the criminal above those of the victims:
"Families of murder victims have made a plea for changes to suppression laws"

"They gathered outside the Christchurch District Court yesterday to support the Sensible Sentencing Trust's call for the names and criminal history of those accused of murder to be made public. "We're making a statement that the law isn't working. The law needs to be changed. There's no doubt the system has failed," trust spokesman Garth McVicar said.

Nick Donald, cousin of Marie Davis who was murdered by convicted rapist Dean Cameron in 2008, said the justice system was geared towards the criminal and victims were forgotten.

Donald said suppression laws were "a joke" and the public "should be able to look up who it was and see their past records".

"In our case, the jury was told Marie committed suicide by walking into the river on her own. Why should we not be able to bring up that Dean Cameron is a rapist and has that tendency to do what he did?"

Donald said that while the three-strikes policy would be an improvement, he wished there were harsher penalties "then Marie could still be alive today".

"If someone doesn't stand up and make some noise, then nothing will change," he said. "
For posts about name suppression issues in NZ click HERE
For posts about Marie Davis click HERE
For posts about murders in New Zealand click HERE

Today's posts - click here

Freedom Campers "Should Be Shot" - Updated

The president of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, Dick Waters, may have wounded himself in his own foot after issuing another call yesterday for freedom campers to be "shot" if they use vans that don't have their own toilet facilities. Mr Waters, is reported as having said yesterday that "Messy freedom campers who trundle around the country in sleeper vans without toilets or self-contained utilities should be "shot".  It followed similar comments he made in January

His remarks will probably touch a raw nerve with campers who have suffered assaults and robberies whilst camping in New Zealand (see posts tagged Campsite Assaults)

Effectively declaring open season on certain types of campers isn't going to do much to enhance the country's tarnished reputation for visitor safety is it?  Even if the comment was meant to shock, rather than be taken literally, it may cause certain elements of NZ society to feel less than 'gracious' towards visitors, who may be now viewed as little more than vermin.

The Rugby World Cup will be held in NZ next year, there is already said to be a shortage of accommodation and talk of bringing in ships to provide extra beds. Many visiting fans will probably be hiring camper vans. We have the feeling this is not a good time to be issuing a 'call to arms.'

Update 9 March 2010 from
Residents target freedom campers
"Freedom camping "bludgers" and roading concerns came under the microscope as Marlborough Sounds residents met last night to share their priorities for renewal plans.
One Marlborough district councillor even suggested they be "shot" as an incentive not to stop..

Sue Snape, of The Grove, said she did not have a problem with those in self-contained campervans. "It's the freedom bludgers I don't like."
Calls from other residents for better signs telling freedom campers not to stay overnight won support from Picton councillor Nigel Weetman.
"We've got to give them some idea that `you will be shot or something' [if you camp here]. That might make a difference."

However, one Ohingaroa resident said the situation was becoming more serious.
Residents were encouraged by the council to ask campers to move on, but one had been pushed by a camper on Saturday, he said. The incident has been reported to the police.
However, one Sounds resident called for support to be given to freedom campers. Ngakuta Bay Community Association chairman Paul Fitzharris said some facilities should be provided for freedom campers, and called for a thoughtful solution.
"A lot of people here rely on the tourist trade. While we hate them in one sense, we love them in another."
 For Today's posts - click here


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