Four teens have been charged after two young German campers
were beaten and robbed in an "appalling and mindless" attack
Three males, aged 14 ,17 and 18, and a 15-year-old girl will
appear at Whakatane District Court today charged with
The 17-year-old is from the Whakatane area and the other
three are from Opotiki.
Police said they are still looking for a fifth youth who is
believed to have been involved in the incident.
The tourists, a 19-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman,
remained in Whakatane Hospital overnight recovering from
Police say they have been overwhelmed by a nationwide
outpouring of support for the couple.
The pair had decided to stay in Whakatane for Christmas and
set up their small pup tent on grass near their vehicle, in a
small reserve near a skate park.
They were later woken and attacked by a group of offenders,
but managed to get away and alert a nearby resident.
The young man received bruising, lacerations and lost some
teeth after being beaten, while his partner suffered facial
and arm injuries, including fractures.
A neighbour heard screams and phoned police, who arrived as
the group were ransacking the tent. Two of the alleged
offenders were caught after being tracked with a police dog
to a nearby river, while two others were arrested a short
time later nearby.
Yesterday, the park was cordoned off as police searched a
riverbank, recovering items believed to have been used as
The passenger door of the victims' vehicle remained open,
with contents spilled on the ground, and belongings scattered
about the entrance of their tent.
The pair were yesterday recovering in Whakatane Hospital and
have declined to give interviews. Some personal property
belonging to the couple was still missing, and their families
back in Europe had been notified of the attack.
Neighbours who spoke to the Herald expressed their dismay at
the incident, and said there had been no concerns around
safety in the park.
Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said his town was "as safe as any
other place around New Zealand" and the spot the tourists
chose to camp at was "not a bad area".
"We don't like it, we don't accept it, and particularly in
our area where we really welcome tourists to come in and see
the beauty of the Eastern Bay, we don't need that publicity
Inspector Sandra Venables, the Eastern Bay of Plenty area
commander, expressed disgust at the attack.
"This is an appalling and mindless attack on a young couple
and incredibly sad that this will be their lasting memory of
Christmas in our beautiful country."
The police station had been inundated with phone calls from
across the country offering donations and accommodation for
They included an offer of a free stay at the Murupara Motor
Camp, while another person who reached out through the Herald
offered $1,000 and a stay at Pauanui Beach.
Mr Bonne said his community was rallying around the pair.
"The love of the community goes out to the couple, and from
the injuries that they've got, it's just unbelievable, it's