Otago officer dies on school camp

Stefan Witehira.
Stefan Witehira.
East Otago High School is mourning Senior Constable Stefan Witehira, a Palmerston police officer and the school's board of trustees chairman, who died at a school camp in the Queenstown Lakes district on Wednesday.

In a statement, East Otago High School principal Lennox Sharp said Mr Witehira was well-known in the community and news of his death had come as a shock.

''It is with deep regret we advise that Mr Stefan Witehira, the chairperson of the board of trustees, passed away during our year 10 camp in Glenorchy yesterday.

''Stefan was a well-known and highly respected member of both our school and the East Otago community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Witehira whanau during this most difficult time.''

Mr Witehira and a colleague, Senior Constable Darrin Low, were shot at after laying road spikes during a police pursuit in February 2009.

The suspects in that incident were eventually overpowered and arrested.

The pair received Silver Merit Awards from for exhibiting "professionalism and courage" during the incident.

The East Otago High School library will be open from 9am until 3pm so members of the East Otago community can leave flowers and messages for Mr Witehira's family.

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