Nearly one year since road worker George Taiaroa was
gunned down, police say they have made "positive steps" to
finding his killer despite not yet making any arrests.
The grandfather was fatally shot as he operated a stop-go
sign at roadworks in Atiamuri, near Tokoroa, leading police
on a search for a blue Jeep Cherokee seen speeding away.
Police today said an investigation had made "positive steps"
in the last 12 months, and belief in the theory behind the
murder has not wavered.
Although police have not named their prime suspect, it has
been widely reported their focus is on Whangamomona man
Mr Winders denied the crime when approached by a Sunday
newspaper last month, reportedly saying: "What they [police]
are doing is this big fabrication."
Bay of Plenty Police District crime manager, Detective
Inspector Tim Anderson, said it had been "important for the
integrity of the investigation from the outset to be patient,
thorough, and methodical, and to explore every possible
"We continue to do that and every avenue we have taken during
the last year has simply reinforced our belief about what
happened that day and why George was murdered.
"We still believe that the blue Jeep Cherokee vehicle we
seized in the weeks following the murder was involved.
"We still have that vehicle and we are continuing to carry
out work with that vehicle as part of the investigation.
"Although I am still not prepared to discuss the motive for
the murder; our position on that, and the fact that it would
appal any reasonable person, has not changed.
"My position also remains the same when it comes to not
making comment on individuals; but we still have one prime
Police wanted to make clear to the public, the person
responsible and anyone else who knows or suspects who was
involved, that the investigation is still very much active.
"The last year has not been easy for George's fa'Positivemily
and this week will no doubt be particularly difficult.
"He was a doting family man and the impact of his loss is
never far from our minds; it drives us forward and makes us
all the more determined.
"As the Taiaroa family has its own private reflection, we ask
that the public also reflect on this case and contact us with
any information they might have. It doesn't matter how much
time has passed or how irrelevant it may seem, it may be
* Those with any information regarding the case are asked to
phone the investigation team on 0800 Kingswood (0800 546
479). Information can be also provided anonymously to
Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
- By Jamie Morton of the NZ Herald