Five men responsible for a terrifying attack on a young
French couple as they slept in their campervan on their last
night in New Zealand could be connected to local shearing
gangs, say police.
The tourists were parked on a layby on Ohautira Rd, between
Raglan and Huntly, when a black 4WD pulled up and shone its
headlights through the window about 2am yesterday.
Detective Constable Nick Pirihi said two men approached and
tried to open the locked front doors.
The men, who were believed to have been drunk, then shook the
vehicle violently before trying a side door which they
managed to slide open.
One of the men did a haka directed at the couple, and
demanded "rent" from them.
"There were threats made, to the female as well. It was
absolutely terrifying for them," Mr Pirihi said.
The male tourist was dragged from the van and punched in the
"The men then said 'right, you've got two minutes to decide
what you're going to give us'. The couple went back to the
vehicle, offered them $10, which is all they cash that they
had on them at the time."
The offenders took the money but said it wasn't enough, so
the couple gave them their clothes from the back of the van.
The men eventually drove off with two pairs of jeans and the
man's empty wallet, which was later found discarded.
Mr Pirihi said police urgently wanted to speak to members of
the public who knew anything about the attack.
"We suspect they [the offenders] were either living or
working locally. I know there are shearing gangs in the area
at the moment, so they may be connected to something like
Mr Pirihi said the couple flew home last night after three
weeks in New Zealand.
"They'd had a fantastic time in New Zealand; they'd been down
to the South Island and unfortunately this happened to them
on their last night.
"They were very gracious and thankful for the support they
received and said they still loved New Zealand and would have
good memories [but] obviously they were very shaken by what
The couple had provided descriptions of the two main
offenders to police. One was Maori, of solid to fat build,
about 175cm tall, with black hair and a goatee, wearing a
black and white T-shirt.
The second offender was described as European, also of solid
to fat build, about 178cm tall with short blond hair, wearing
a green hooded sweatshirt with white writing on it and a