20 Apr 2017

'Tough time' for Rolleston shooting victims

8:30 pm on 20 April 2017

Neighbours are shocked by the shooting of two women in Rolleston last night, with the alleged gunman also accused of robbing an Ashburton hotel.

A police officer stands guard outside the property where two people were shot.

A police officer stands guard outside the property where two people were shot. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

A 23-year-old man was arrested by the Armed Offenders Squad about 7am today while police were searching a property at the remote Rakaia Huts, 60km north of Ashburton.

He appeared briefly in the Christchurch District Court this afternoon, where he entered no plea to the charges of wounding the women as well as stealing cash at gunpoint.

He was granted interim name suppression and was remanded in custody until his next appearance on 11 May.

The two women are in Christchurch Hospital, one with serious injuries and the other with moderate injuries, after the first incident, in an area of lifestyle blocks close to the settlement of Rolleston, about 30 minutes drive south of Christchurch, about 10pm last night.

Police said the second incident, at the Ashburton Hotel on Racecourse Road, happened about 11.20pm. They said a man on his own entered the hotel, fired a shot and took some cash.

There were several people inside the hotel at the time, but nobody was injured.

Police said properties across the Canterbury region would be examined as part of their investigation.

Detective Senior Sergeant Michael Ford said this morning that the accused knew the shooting victims.

Neighbours said the two women were mother and daughter.

One neighbour, Gem Field, said the news was shocking and sad. The family ran a poultry farm and was well-known and liked in the area, she said.

They had suffered another tragedy about 18 months ago when the father died during a fishing trip, she said.

The mother was well known and liked, she added.

"And she's such a bubbly little thing, everything's 'doll' and 'sweetie'. We always worried how would she cope without him but she seemed to be getting along OK."

Ms Field's partner, Steve Templer, was also shocked when told about the shootings.

"I'm really, really taken aback by that to be honest. [They're] well-known around the district, well-known and popular people."

Paul Michael, who runs a nearby nursery, also paid tribute to his neighbours.

"They're very local people and they've been fantastic, good neighbours and we're obviously incredibly sad that this event has happened."

His thoughts went out to the family.

"It will be ripping through them and I think, with the husband dying not that long ago, it's going to be a tough time for them and just the psychological effect, aside from the physical effect."

Police said the family have had a traumatic experience and did not wish to talk to the media.