Wanaka detective Dave Evans with two of the helmets he once
wore. Photo by Mark Price.
If you remember being drunk and threatening in the
Invercargill pie cart 37 and a-half years ago and running away
when arrested by a young policeman, it is probably safe enough
now to own up.
Retiring Wanaka detective Dave Evans holds no grudges.
Det Evans recalled to the Otago Daily Times with a laugh
yesterday that the man, who had been wielding a plastic
knife, ''legged it'' as they left the pie cart. That was in
1975 at the start of a police career that has brought Det
Evans into contact with many of the major crimes committed in
the lower half of the South Island.
One of a family of seven children, Det Evans was born in
Balclutha in 1955.
He attended South Otago High School then spent a year at the
University of Otago.
It was while socialising in Dunedin he met then police
officer, the late Gordon Hunter, who suggested the police
force might be an option for him.
''He was always the man I credited with joining the police.''
After three months of training at Trentham, Det Evans took up
the offer of a uniformed position in Invercargill where he
spent most of his working years until arriving in Wanaka five
Det Evans recalls his time in one of the team policing units
during the 1981 Springbok tour and having his jaw broken
before the final test in Auckland.
''I ended up on the ground and got my head stomped. My helmet
and visor were smashed.''
Det Evans said his police officer fiancee Sue was not
impressed with his appearance after the attack as they were
due to be married two weeks later.
In 1982 he joined the Invercargill CIB, his first job
investigating the robbery of the Lumsden BNZ where two men
got away with $106,000. One was later murdered in Auckland.
Det Evans is philosophical about the justice system and about
police sometimes losing cases.
He considers police ''servants of the court'' with the job of
presenting it with evidence.
''It's not about getting convictions. We don't get bonuses
for convicting people.''
Since moving from Invercargill to Wanaka, Det Evans has had
less to do with gangs but had plenty of work on fraud and
He said Wanaka had an upsurge in the use of class A drugs
such as LSD and ecstasy during the ski season but the biggest
problem was alcohol.
Det Evans finishes on January 3 and hopes to find non-police
work in Wanaka.