Stab Magazine | NZ Surf Shooting Not The First Time: “It's Been Going On For 10 Years”

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NZ Surf Shooting Not The First Time: “It’s Been Going On For 10 Years”

Multiple accounts of extreme localism surface after yesterday’s story.

news // Aug 21, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last Thursday three men were shot at while surfing in what appeared to be an isolated and extreme occurrence of localism on New Zealand’s west coast. Today, as reported by the NZ Heraldthis incident was far from a once off, and is amongst an array of violent and life-threatening bouts of overt localism.

As reported here yesterday, a father, his son (14-years old) and friend were shot at while surfing the point off the Taharoa coastline three separate times in what appeared to be a targeted warning. The three quickly scrambled to the ski, made their way to shore, before quickly reporting the incident to authorities.

It appears that these three individuals aren’t the only people on the receiving end of misused hunting rifles in the region in recent years.  

An unnamed fisherman has now come forward to detail his own similar experiences at the wave. He told the NZ Herald that he was supervising a friend freediving in the region – not surfing – when people opened fire on them from the bushland nearby. The freediver quickly got into the boat, and according to the fisherman, bullets continued to fire until they sped off to the safety of the boat ramp. 

What is even more surprising is that the fisherman claims that these two incidents aren’t isolated, and simply add to a number of similar shooting and violent acts of localism over the years.

“There’s been heaps of boats shot at out there. It’s been going on for 10 years…I know guys that have actually gone and stopped on the beach there, or fished off the beach or even gone to land a boat there to go and look for some paua and they will actually get run off the beach.” The anonymous fisherman told NZ Herald.

The man’s wife added that the violent localism has increased in recent years, “There could be an outright murder and it would be buried at sea.” she said. 

While the shooting incidents can’t be confirmed as either deliberate warning fires or coincidental hunting misfires, other recollections of aggressive encounters at the wave can be attributed to localism at the ‘invite only’ spot. 

An older surfer also described to the Herald the “hardcore locals” that surf there, “They’ve got access via land – they can get on to the Maori land or the private land.

“I was out at Raglan in March and I was talking to a couple of guys there and they said they had an invite, but basically if I tried to paddle out there and I wasn’t welcome they would just heavy you basically.” The older-generation surfer continued, “They would punch you out – absolutely.”

He also went on to detail past incidents of vehicle damage, including, smashed windows, broken windscreen wipers and slashed tyres.

Following our publishing of yesterday’s initial article, a few angry NZ residents messaged us asking for the removal of the article and Instagram post; one of them had the following to say, “It’s the first time it’s been made public…but there [sic] were just warning shots to tell them to get away from there [sic] wave”

With another adding, “Come on stab keep your ducking [sic] mouth shut.” in response to our naming of the region. 

The police are continuing to prompt individuals to come forward with information on these crimes to come forward and report them. Sergeant Andy Connors reiterated that these acts carry serious consequences and will not be tolerated, “we are not in a war zone,” Connors continued.

“The ocean is there for everyone to use and fish and enjoy and for people to go to this extreme to try and keep people away from their fishing spot – it’s an ocean for heaven’s sake, it should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Unsurprisingly, none of the individuals who angrily contacted us about the article were willing to provide opinion, information, or recommend anyone who would be willing to discuss the ongoing and excessively violent localism. The police will be meeting with the local community later this week as part of their ongoing investigation.

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