21 Oct 2019

Wairoa mayor condemns 'cowardly shootings'

6:07 pm on 21 October 2019

Armed police are on patrol in Wairoa after the police were targeted in two shootings over the weekend.

The Wairoa Police Station was also targeted on Sunday night.

The Wairoa Police Station was also targeted on Sunday night. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

A shotgun was fired at the front door of an officer's house at about 11pm on Saturday - followed by more shots outside the Wairoa police station Sunday evening.

An officer was at home with their family when somebody fired at their front door.

Nobody was injured in either shooting.

Acting Eastern district commander Iain Chapman said it is fortunate no one was hurt, but no officer should be targeted, let alone at their home.

"They were home, but by sheer luck nobody was hurt," Mr Chapman said.

"This could have had a very tragic outcome, and as I say, our staff do not deserve to be subject to this sort of attack given the community that they live in."

As a result of the shootings, the police have assembled an Armed Response Team which will patrol the town until further notice.

Members of the Armed Offenders Squad will be armed with Glock pistols, ready for any high risk callout they may have to attend.

Mr Chapman said they are in the spirit of new armed teams that will be patrolling in Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury from later this month.

Filling in for Tania Kura ...normally head of financial crime in Auckland

Acting Eastern District Commander Iain Chapman says there could have been a tragedy in Wairoa after two shootings in the twon over the weekend. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

The mayor of Wairoa, Craig Little, said he wants the shooters to be locked up, and for criminals to be driven out of town.

"My God, what a cowardly act," he said.

"If anyone thinks they're tough doing this sort of stuff, think again.

"I just hope that anybody who knows who the perpetrators are, that they just dob them straight in because why would you protect someone like this.

"I mean, there's families involved. When they shot, they don't know what's behind the walls. It's just disgusting."

Wairoa mayor Craig Little by the Waihi Dam

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little Photo: RNZ / Kate Gudsell

Mr Little said the police are simply doing their job.

"The police are doing what we want them to do, you know. They're looking after the public of New Zealand and doing it well in Wairoa and this is what they get.

"I really feel sorry for the police and the families involved."

Mr Little said despite what they went through, the police officer and their family are feeling positive, both about the incident and living in Wairoa.

That was echoed by Mr Chapman. He said about 30 staff members and their families turned out for meeting this morning to discuss the shootings.

"What it showed to me was just how connected the people are of Wairoa. It's so much more than just police, they are part of the community.

"And as a result of being part of the community, you absolutely deserve to feel safe."

Mr Chapman said the police are deciding whether it is safe for the officer involved to remain in Wairoa.

"They're absolutely committed to the community of Wairoa, making sure everyone is safe and feels safe.

"The officer concerned is very, very committed to continuing to serve the community of Wairoa.

"As we go about the investigation we'll make a determination as to their safety."

Mr Chapman has urged residents to call police or Crimestoppers if they have information about the shooting.

In recent months the police have ramped up their presence in the town in response to rising gang numbers, driven by the methamphetamine trade, he said.

In June, Operation Haurua was launched, which brought police, local leaders, iwi and gang leaders together to address the behaviour of a few individuals.

"This is one or two individuals who've decided to go and take that next step. So what we're relying upon is the goodwill of the people of Wairoa, the wider community, to sit back and say 'no, this isn't ok' and to come forward with that information to help solve it."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs