American Tourists Hospitalized After Vicious Attack, Paihia in Spotlight Again – Updated


It’s summer, it’s open season on tourists in New Zealand again.

Two American vacationers have been brutally assaulted in New Zealand’s lawless north, one of many regions in the country where tourists regularly fall victim to crime.

The attack comes less than a week man held a machete to the neck of a female staff member, at Paihia’s Four Square Supermarket at 10:25am on 29 December. The hostage situation ended without injury after police talked down her assailant.

According to an article in the Northern Advocate

Less than 48 hours into their holiday, two American tourists were the victims of a “vicious and unprovoked” attack in Northland – and one will need reconstructive surgery.

Sergeant Phil Le Comte said police were investigating the incident outside the Bay Adventurer Backpackers on Kings Rd in Paihia about 3am on Saturday.

“A vicious and unprovoked attack on two male American tourists, aged 22 and 23 years respectively, resulted in both being hospitalised overnight for their injuries.”

While the pair were discharged from the Bay of Islands Hospital later, the 22-year-old will undergo reconstructive surgery at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland in the next few days, Mr Le Comte said.

We’ve often written about tourist attacks in Paihia and in other locations around New Zealand. Our thoughts are with the injured men. Their names are unlikely to be released until such time as the story can be spun in a positive light, so they can be quoted as saying “this hasn’t spoiled our enjoyment of this wonderful country.”

People are acutely aware of the image New Zealand has abroad, as demonstrated by local police Sergeant Le Comte.

The two tourists arrived in New Zealand with an associate on January 1 with the intention of travelling throughout the country for 10 days, starting in the Bay of Islands.

They are recent engineering graduates of the University of Montana.

Mr Le Comte acknowledged the attack did not reflect well on the region.

“It is an isolated incident that has ramifications for the Far North and New Zealand.

“It’s not a good look for us”.

It is not the first time tourists have become victims of crime in the popular seaside town.

On the same road as Saturday’s attack, three English tourists were robbed at knifepoint on April 3, 2013. The robbers took their possessions and their car.

New Zealand has gained an international reputation as an unsafe tourism destination, as borne out by Kiwi’s living in Europe. This is a recent r/newzealand comment made by a Kiwi who has just moved to Scotland. He was saddened to discover how his country is viewed from abroad.


Many Scottish people will still have fresh memories of one of their own: Karen Aim, who was battered to death whilst walking through a school yard in Taupo. A 14 year old youth was later convicted of her murder. They will also be cogniscent of the murder of  ex-Radio Scotland journalist, Phillipp Cottrell who was beaten to death in Wellington; and pilot Stuart Martin from Berwick-Upon-Tweed, gravely injured in an attack in Taradale.

All of these attacks were perpetrated by youths aged 17 or under. Karen Aim’s attacker was only 14.

Read more posts tagged Tourist Attacks (there are pages of them)

The members of the TradeMe discussion board voiced their disgust at the Paihia attack, saying

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