30 Sep 2019

The Great Barrier Island roast robbery

From Checkpoint, 5:55 pm on 30 September 2019

There's a mystery of the missing roast on Great Barrier Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, after a resident's freshly cooked pork belly was taken from their kitchen bench. 

Long-time Great Barrier local and chef Tim Andrews lovingly cooked up a pork belly at home on Friday afternoon, before taking it to his partner Phaedra Armstrong's place for dinner. 

"Everything had been finished, I'd done a nice red cabbage to go with it," he told Checkpoint's Lisa Owen. 

"We decided we'll just put it on the bench covered in tinfoil, letting it rest while we took the dogs for a walk. 

He says they left the house for about one to two hours, and when they got back, he went to check the pork on the bench, "and have a nibble".

"I lifted up the tin foil and just found the roasting tray empty.

"It was a bit of a 'shock horror' to both of us, we were kind of stunned and didn't know what to do. We just ended up having a bit of a laugh and realised that, no, the pork belly was actually gone."

Mr Armstrong says he had bought the pork belly at the local shop, "and over here [they] aren't exactly the cheapest things to buy."

"The pork belly itself that was probably about around $32 to $35."

"I slow cooked it for about three and a half hours, so it got a nice crackling on top and nice and tender meat underneath."

"I made up a nice sweet potato and potato a la crème - layered potato.

"Every part of the meat was gone, the pork, the crackling."

But he says whoever took it obviously didn't like vegetables because they had left that dish alone.

"All the beer in the fridge was still there. Nothing else had been touched. It was almost like they had already cooked their own vegetables and needed some meat."

They have no suspects so far, Mr Armstrong says.

"The island's quite a free-spirited place where people come and go so we nobody really locks up anything here.
"Barrier community - we're always here to look after each other, so it's kind of a shock to us that somebody's come into our home and taken the main party of dinner.

 "They obviously got the scent of something wafting around, it was quite surprising that none of the vegetables have been touched. Just quite interested in the pork.

"That night we just ended up cooking some two-minute noodles for dinner and had the vegetables with some roast lamb the next day."