Just another relatively unknown patch of NZ coastline. Photo: Rambo Estrada
14-Year Old Surfer And Two Adults Shot At While Surfing
"The second one sounded a lot closer and the third one landed in the water adjacent to where they were."
Last Thursday, a father, his friend, and 14-year old son were shot at three times while surfing a spot on the Taharoa coastline in New Zealand. The three surfers had taken a ski out from nearby Kawhia to surf the isolated and heavily localised spot, and were soon fired at by someone on the headland.
Typically, acts of localism involve waxing a car, dinging a board, of if you're really quite the tweaker, beating some senseless on the beach. Shooting bullets at someone on the other hand is moving beyond localism, and into the realm of attempted murder.
The three gents who were shot at are from Te Awamutu, an hour inland from the location where the incident occurred, and police believe this may have motivated the potential act of localism. According to Stuff, the three thought the first shot was from someone hunting nearby, but as the second and third shot came, they realised the shots were seemingly directed towards them.
"The second one sounded a lot closer and the third one landed in the water adjacent to where they were," Sergeant Andy Connors from the Ōtorohanga police department said.
The three surfers spotted people on the bank aggressively yelling at them moments after the shooting, and hurriedly retreated to the boat ramp on their ski, before phoning the local police station to report the incident.
Unfortunately, they weren't able to clearly identify the two individuals yelling from the bank, and are unsure of their relation to the shooting.
At this stage it is unknown whether these shots were deliberately aimed towards the surfers, or whether the three rounds were courtesy of the horrendous aim of a nearby hunter. Based on the police report however, it looks more likely to be the former of these two options.
The exact spot in question is known as Albatross Point, a wave similar to Raglan – sans the overblown crowds – which Daniel Kereopa, a Raglan local, described as an 'invitation only' wave.
"Ever since I have known the place and the people that have cared for it, it's generally been by invitation." Daniel said about the spot following the shooting, "It's one of those places that is still New Zealand - not affected by tourists, not promoted. People live there because they are born for that land and, unfortunately, it's brought some attention by what's happened down there."
And when pressured on the issue of whether the three people should have been surfing the spot in the first place, Daniel said, "If people ask you to surf down there, and they're from there, then that's the way it is. If you don't get asked, you shouldn't think you deserve to go down there."
After the incident the Waikato Police posted a Facebook post asking for information – which has since been removed – but prior to it's deletion users commented claiming that this wasn't the first instance of weapons being used to protect the spot.
"Several fishermen fishing out of Kawhia have been shot at around there. Been happening for a couple of years now," one Facebook commenter wrote on the now-deleted post.
The police along with the three surfers hope locals might know who was hunting at the time and can provide further information regarding the shooting.
The unknown shooters, whether intentional or not, have undoubtedly succeeded in preventing the three from returning (traumatising a young teen in the process), but overall, have brought more attention to their untouched and previously unknown coastline.
Although we can't imagine too many visitors flocking towards the region if their welcoming procedure involves loaded rifles and attempted murder disguised as localism.
If you have any information on the incident and wish to report it, call the Kawhia Police on 07 871 0827.