28 Dec 2013

Whakatane still safe to visit - mayor

9:45 pm on 28 December 2013

Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne says the town is a safe place to visit and visitors should not be put off camping there, after two tourists from Germany were beaten and robbed in a tent near the town centre.

He says the incident occured in an area that is considered safe and the town will not place restrictions on freedom camping, which is permitted in certain areas.

Four teenagers were remanded in custody after appearing in court in Whakatane on Friday, two in the District Court and two in the Youth Court.

The police are still looking for another person in connection with the incident.

The Tourism Industry Association says incidents like this are uncommon in New Zealand. Its chief executive, Martin Snedden, says tourists should still feel safe to camp here.