Armed robberies are continuing apace in New Zealand with yet another armed hold up in a bank. This must be the fastest growing occupation right now.
At 2.12pm yesterday frightened customers and staff at the ASB Bank in Grey Lynn, Auckland were ordered to drop to the floor by a masked gunman, whilst another climbed over a security screen and threatened a bank worker. The two escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash. The Herald said
“Police said one of the men was of medium build, possibly European, about 1.83m tall and wearing dark glasses and a blue and white hooded jacket.
The other man was a dark-skinned Maori or Polynesian, of stocky build. He was about 1.78m tall and wearing a light blue hooded track top.”
The people cowering in the photo look absolutely terrified, the poor gentleman in the middle can’t even kneel down properly. People have a right to go about their normal daily business without fearing for their lives. We’ve been doing this blog for some time now and have seen most things but images like these still shock and dismay us.
New Zealand often markets itself as being a safe country with a low crime rate, the reality is very different.
For details of other armed hold ups see: Armed Robberies
For facts and stats about crime see: NZ Facts and Stats
The mother of murdered school girl Liberty Templeman has spoken about Theo Kriel the youth who killed her daughter. She has been quoted as saying the immigration laws of New Zealand should be revised:
“Migrants like the Kriel family need to meet very stringent requirements before being considered”
3 News quotes her as adding:
““Send him back to South Africa and let him go into the woods. They’ll deal with him.”
She has called for Theo Kriel to be deported. Saying that the sentence was farcical and disrespectful and, he should have been given a minimum of 30 years in prison. She was also upset by the way his father smirked in court when his son was given such a light sentence.
“Mrs Templeman, with her husband Andrew at her side, asked what messages were being sent to criminals and other young offenders when sentences being imposed for heinous crimes were “mere tokens”.
“It’s not only disrespectful of the deceased but also the surviving victims [family and friends]… Can somebody please explain to us why they think Libby’s life is only worth a 11-and-half-years.”
The story has been picked up by the British Newspaper The Telegraph:
“The mother of murdered British girl Liberty Templeman has lashed out at the sentence handed down to her daughter’s killer by a court in New Zealand, saying “he should rot in hell“.
Hermanus Theodorus Kriel, known as Theo, aged 16, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of 11-and-a-half years before he is eligible to be considered for parole.
Kriel was found guilty last month of murdering and indecently assaulting 15-year-old Liberty in New Zealand in 2008.
The court had heard how Kriel, who was 14 at the time, repeatedly punched Liberty, then strangled her and dragged her into a stream where he left her face down to die in November 2008.
Liberty and her family emigrated to Kerikeri, in northern New Zealand, from Brightlingsea, Essex, in 2005.
Kriel’s family are migrants from South Africa who arrived in New Zealand just a few years before the Templemans.
Passing sentence, Justice Raynor Asher, the trial judge, told Kriel: “Life imprisonment means just that. Unless you satisfy the prison board otherwise, you will be in jail for the rest of your life.”
The judge said: “At the time of the murder, although possessed with considerable height and strength, you were immature.
“Your calmness in the days that followed was of a concern. It was a blankness.
“I accept that your terrible action was out of character. This is confirmed by the professional reports that have been prepared in the 18 months that you have been in custody.”
Justice Asher said the exact details of what happened when Kriel and Liberty were out walking in Kerikeri on the day of her death were unclear.
The judge speculated that Kriel had made a sexual advance towards her and been rebuffed.
After the murder Kriel acted as if nothing had happened and glibly lied to Liberty’s parents and then to police.
“You are the only living witness and you have given four different versions of events,” the judge said.
Kriel remained emotionless throughout the sentencing at the High Court in Whangarei, his shaved head hanging low as he sat between two guards in the dock.
The courtroom was filled with Liberty’s friends and supporters, many of them at times in tears.
Outside the court after sentencing, Liberty’s mother, Rebecca Templeman, said: “It’s farcical. He should have got 30 years minimum.
“Can somebody please explain to us why they think Libby’s life is worth only 11-and-a-half years?”
She said the sentence was “disrespectful of the deceased but also the surviving victims.
“He should rot in hell.”
With her husband Andrew at her side, Mrs Templeman had some angry words for Kriel’s father, also called Hermanus, saying “that man smirked” during sentencing.
“I could have gone back in there and slapped him.”
Mrs Templeman said she had been told that her daughter’s killer wanted to apologise.
“It’s too late now,” she said. “That apology should have come 16 months ago.”
Earlier, reading her victim impact statement to the court, Mrs Templeman said: “Every morning when I wake, for a few seconds, everything feels okay.
“With the privacy of my bathroom with the door shut, I can cry loud and let the water wash away the pain and the grief, and I put on a mask of a warm smile.”
She looked over at Kriel towards the end of her statement.
His eyes briefly met hers and then he quickly looked down at the floor as she told him: “We saw the marks on her face, the bruising on her face.
“The battered and bruised face of the girl who saw the good in everyone.”
Liberty’s father almost broke down as he read his own statement to the court saying that, without the support of his family, he would have taken his own life.
“How do you summarise the emptiness that accompanies the loss of your daughter?” he asked.
“I smile and cry in equal measure when I think of Liberty.”
Liberty’s brother Billy, 13, also spoke of his anguish at his sister’s murder.
Michael Smith, prosecuting, argued for a minimum non-parole period of 17 years as a starting point for sentencing, saying that after the killing Kriel had deliberately deceived Liberty’s parents.
“The very person they spoke to for help and guidance in finding out where Libby was and how she got there was in fact the person responsible for her death,” he said.
Catherine Cull, for the defence, said Kriel’s family had not spoken to the media and would not be doing so. “
Although there has been some talk of Theo Kriel being bullied at school for ‘being different’ one has to wonder what part his upbringing played in the tragic events that led to Liberty’s death. Children learn from what they see around them, could it be that Kriel thought nothing of giving a woman a slap when she ‘stepped out of line?’
Whatever caused him to do what he did the outcome is that he is to lose the greater part of his youth locked up in a prison with similar offenders. Nothing is going to restore Liberty to her family and friends who have a lifetime of yearning emptiness and grief ahead of them.
Calls have already started for him and his family to be deported. Will he, should he, serve some of his time in a South African prison?
A group of friends who knew Mia Pusch, the German cyclist who was killed by a truck in central North Island in July, have announced that they are to visit New Zealand in July to pay homage to her memory:
“Dear ladies and gentlemen,
We would like to inform you that we (Jonathan Guggenbichler, Mia’s boyfriend and his father Norbert Guggenbichler) will travel to New Zealand in memory of Mia .
We will arrive in Wellington at the 23rd July at abaout 2.00 p.m. and fly back 3rd August from Wellington. We will visit the place where Mia died to bring some flowers and to bid farewell to her. We would be glad to get to know people who mourn like us for Mia. Hoping to give a signal with our visit, a sign to strengthen consciousness that every human life is precious, we want to show clearly, that we must make every effort to protect the future of human beings and our blue planet.
Only a death which allows new life is not in vain. We hope that from the grief over Mia’s death something originates, which is able to provide more security for people travelling in New Zealand or anywhere else.”
A number of cyclists have been killed and injured on New Zealand’s roads, their deaths have been attributed to motorists’ aggressiveness, careless driving practices and drunkenness.
German tourist Stephan Stoermer had been on a cycling world tour since 2006, he had been safely winding his way through 26 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia since early 2006 before arriving in New Zealand. He died a week before his tour was scheduled to end when he was hit by a logging truck near Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty on March 12, 2009.
Another German cyclist died on 6 August 2009 in a hit an run at Leeston, 45 km south west of Christchurch. 34 year old Jens Richardon had been living in NZ for a few years. He must have been quite familiar with the peculiarities of the roads and the local driving habits. His body was eventually discovered by a passing motorist at 7.30pm and police located the offender’s car, a dark blue BMW 3251, 20km away.
The motorist responsible for Jens’ death was seen slumped over a bar shortly before the crash. Phillip Kirkwood Hamilton, 40, of Southbridge, pleaded guilty on 6 November 2009 to driving under the influence of alcohol causing death and failing to stop for an injury accident. He had drunk around 10 pints of beer at a bar in Rolleston from around 2.30pm that day. He told police he knew he had hit a cyclist but panicked because he had been drinking.
Incredibly the judge took pity on him a gave him a sentence of home detention.
But soft sentences are sadly the norm in crashes involving cyclists.
Drunk driver, 71 year old Alison Downer, bagged a lenient two year sentence for her 4th conviction after she hit and killed Frank van Kampen as he was cycling along State Highway 1 in Te Horo on September 18 2009. Mr van Kampen’s partner wept through the hearing at Palmerston North District Court and said that she was disgusted by the sentence. Can you believe that her defence lawyer was alleged to have told the judge that “this was not the worst type of offending because there was only one victim.”
And in the ‘Tamaki Drive Carnage’ a female student lost her licence for 6 months and was ordered to pay $1,000 to each of her victims after she ploughed into a pack of cyclists travelling along Tamaki Drive, Auckland. The cyclists, one of whom suffered long term brain injuries and may never be able to work again, said that the sentence was far too lenient.
We wish Mia’s friends good luck with their trip and hope it will help them come to terms with their terrible loss. If in the process they manage to raise awareness of the perils that cyclists face on roads in New Zealand and bring about a change in driving habits and the treatment of offenders then Mia may not have died in vain.
Update 31 May 2010
The Wanganui truck driver responsible for Mia’s death has had his licence suspended for just a year and has been ordered to pay a measly $5,000 in reparation to her family (source)
For anyone wanting to get a feel for good old grass root opinions and issues in New Zealand you can’t go far wrong by logging on to the community message boards at the NZ auction site Trademe.
This is a thread that was started on 22 March 2010 and has generated a heated debate on the site about racism and how difficult it is for people to be accepted into NZ culture if they look different, it’s not even a ‘cultural thing’ just an open hostility toward anyone who doesn’t look like they ‘fit in’ Here’s the opening post and taste of the responses it generated:
“There is much discussion in our flat. We have one Chinese (19 years in NZ), one Filipino (8 years in NZ), one English (3 months in NZ) and two PI (12-16 years in NZ). The Chinese, Filipino and PI’s receive racist remarks on a regular basis yet funnily enough our English flatmate who have been in NZ the least amount of time is welcomed with opened arms. The Chinese is NZ citizen. Filipino & PI’s are permanent residences. English on working visa.
The majority of the racists looking down their noses at us are usually white. Umm didn’t you come here after the Maori? Tossers.
Our landlord & neighbour will gladly rent to us but complain immigrants spoiling NZ, stealing jobs here & stealing contracts overseas. It’s OK to take our money but it’s not for us to get jobs here. Hyprocrite. As soon as our lease ends we’ll be going.
NZ is seen as a racist country in some parts of the world. Even Bic Runga said so. The British countries are the most racist towards the Chinese and there is a lot of racism towards Maori. Being half Chinese and half Maori can’t be easy for her.
It’s no wonder there’s a decline in rentals in Auckland. So many empty apartments. Now all those redneck aparment owners and real estate agents wish there were Asian to fill the rentals. Sorry but the Asian students won’t be coming back to line your pockets.
There’ll probably be less tourism as well. Japanese friend have mentioned articles that frequently pop up on the web or newspapers about racism during tours in NZ. Again, it’s OK to take their cash and let them on the buses and let them stay in your hotels, eat in your restaurants but you want them out of sight. Hypocrites.“
- “NZ has always been racist. It’s more noticeable now because of the increase in our immigrant populations (which I think is great, by the way)”
- “yes i agree but nz is still better than were the complaining immagrants came from so if they don’t like it here fark off back to were they came from. and nz is not known as being a really racist country thats buls***.”
Original Poster: “We live in Auckland CBD and most of us are students.”
- “Oh well nothing more to do then bugger off then if you aren’t happy. Close the door behind you , thanks”
- “yea, and i agree this country is racist. I wonder why? when the goverment starts favouring one race, then it leads to unrest and that is what is happening.”
- ” for many of us the “Asian Invasion” (as it was called) happened too fast…..too many and too fast. It changed the face of city’s and suburbs that at times it didn’t feel like home any more. It was if we were the ones in a foreign country. It takes time to assimilate into a new culture.If immigration was processed slowly, many NZers would have been a lot more accepting. It has also been very hard to deal with rude arrogant and ignorant people, and sometimes I am not surprised NZers have become sick and tired of some immigrants.”
- if you came to NZ for a better life because your country is crap & it’s not working out for you then go somewhere else, i’m sure it wont bother any other NZ citizens. And I would bet that you were seeking cheap rent so will be living in an area with a significant number of ‘undesireables’ around you… that’s what happens. The answer is very simple… move to a better neighbourhood or go to another country… or go back home where everyone is so nice to you. lol.
“To avoid confusion this is the Chinese flatmate here. Let me tell you about my experiences. I was one of those who immersed themselves into NZ culture. I came to NZ at a young age and totally embraced NZ. Was even in the kapa haka at school.
There weren’t any Chinese schools or language lessons back then so I don’t know how to read or write Chinese. I can speak in a southern dialect but I don’t speak Mandarin.
You can’t imagine how much crap I get from NZ’ers about me not being able to read/write Chinese. They look at me like I’m stupid and sometimes they will say so.
You immerse you get crap. You don’t and try to sustain some of your own culture, you still get crap.
It’s a lose lose situation.”
Original poster: No cheap rent. We live in Auckland CBD. Telling us to leave NZ when we’ve been here for most of our lives. You’re just as bad as those who tell us to either die or leave NZ on the street….”
We’ll leave you to read the rest. link
Theo Kriel was today given a life imprisonment for the murder of Liberty Rose Templeman.
He must serve a minimum period of 11.5 years before he can be considered for parole. He must also serve a concurrent sentence of 6 months for indecent assault.
Stuff.co.nz had an account of the hearing:
“Life imprisonment means just that. Unless you satisfy the prison board otherwise, you will be in jail for the rest of your life,” Justice Raynor Asher told Kriel.
The teenage Kriel was found guilty of murder and indecent assault after a trial last month which heard how in November 2008, when he was just 14, he beat and strangled Liberty, 15, and dumped her body in a creek.
The judge said the fact that Kriel was a youth and not a very mature one at the time of the murder was a factor in his crime.
“At the time of the murder, although possessed with considerable height and strength, you were immature.”
“Your calmness in the days that followed was of a concern, it was a blankness,” the judge said.
“You acted as a child.
“I accept that your terrible action was out of character; this is confirmed by the professional reports that have been prepared in the 18 months that you have been in custody.”
“I see the drivers as being anger driven by we know not what, and then panic and the desire not to be caught.”
“It would be manifestly unjust to impose a minimum sentence of 17 years.”
The judge’s starting point was 13 years imprisonment.
“I am entirely satisfied that the attack on her was unprovoked,” the judge said.
“You appear to remove yourself from the reality of what you’ve done.”
Kriel, 16, sat between his two guards in the dock. He had a shaved head and was wearing a white and grey striped shirt and loose pants.
He sat slouched, head dipped low, mouth slightly agape. His eyes shifted across to Templeman family members and later at the judge. His stare was blank.
“The damage is not just limited to you, it extends to Liberty’s close group of friends who will live their life with the loss of such a close and dear friend,” the judge said.
The wider Kerikeri community had been shocked by this brutal and inexplicable killing, he said.
“She was a very special and talented woman, with a very exciting future,” the judge said.
The judge said he had no doubt that it was a chance circumstance Liberty and Kriel had ended up walking together. He said the precise details of what happened after Liberty and Kriel crossed over the bridge on their walk together was unclear.
“You are the only living witness and you have given four different version of events,” the judge said to Kriel.
The judge said the inherent problem with Kriel’s version of event was that it was unlikely that Kriel could have thought that he was threatened with police action if all he had done was accidentally push Liberty into the stream.
What seemed more likely, the judge said, was that Kriel had made a sexual advance on Liberty and she had punched Kriel, leaving a red mark on his chest. That was speculation though, he said.
The judge said after that attack Kriel had acted as if nothing had happened and glibly lied to Liberty’s parents and then police. “On the Friday you came into the police station with your parents.”
“In that third statement you confessed to killing Liberty,” the Judge said. “
The sentence is comparable to that given to Jahche Broughton, who was 14 when he bashed Karen Aim to death in Taupo. Broughton received a life sentence with a minimum non parole period of 12 years.