The Ugly Underbelly of Te Anau – Commercial Pilot Stabbed in Moose Bar Toilets

A woman was subjected to an horrific knife attack in the toilets at The Moose Bar, Te Anau

A young woman was subjected to an horrific knife attack in the toilets at The Moose Bar, Te Anau

The ugly underbelly of Te Anau has again been exposed, a female pilot (with Mainland Aviation College) on an evening out with work colleagues, suffered an horrendous stabbing attack in the toilet of the township’s Moose Bar.

In 2011 we reported how the township was gathering a reputation for its tourist attacks after a gang of youths attacked a group of people on their way to drink at the same bar (scroll to the bottom of the page for that story).

The 27 year old woman sustained 8 stab wounds. She spent two days in intensive care with a collapsed lung after the random attack in a cubicle early on Sunday morning. “Police say she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time” said the victim’s mother. A family member, Chrissy Signal, said the victim and her attacker were not known to each other and a scissors had been used in the attack.

mainland air

The instructors of Mainland Air (Facebook)


A NZ Herald report stated

A young woman who was stabbed multiple times in the bathroom at a Te Anau bar is urging other young woman to never enter a public bathroom alone.

The 27-year-old Dunedin woman, who did not want to be named, was attacked last weekend at the Moose Bar. Her mother said she was out for dinner with a group of friends.  “She was just having a good time. It was just completely unexpected.”

Her daughter went to the bathroom and was pushed into a toilet cubicle and the door was closed behind her before the assault, her mother said. It looked like something out of a horror move – and she just wants people to know she fought and she survived.

And she just wants people to know, every young girl out there don’t ever, ever, ever walk into a toilet or a bathroom on their own.” read more

Police have since arrested and charged a 40 year old Te Anau resident Marama Kiri Pukepuke with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. She has been remanded in custody pending a court appearance on 29 April

On 18 March 2015 Te Anau was the subject of one of our migrant’s tales. Here’s an excerpt from that article …

If you’re planning to visit or live in the Fiordland township of Te Anau you may find this interesting. Don’t be blinded by the region”s beauty, for there are many problems besetting this small community, most of them endemic to small town New Zealand. You may want to give Te Anau miss, maybe consider Queenstown instead?

This tale was sent in by a migrant who lived and worked in Te Anau.

Seldom is the juxtaposition between beauty and ugliness as stark as in Te Anau, New Zealand. Many might recognise Te Anau as a tourist town on the edge of New Zealand’s Fiordland Wilderness. Regrettably and notwithstanding the beauty of the surrounding region, Te Anau is no different to many of the Podunk towns in New Zealand.

I spent a few months in Te Anau taking a break to re-centre myself and to enjoy the beauty of Fiordland. On the surface, Te Anau appears ok, yet the town quickly reveals its ugly underbelly.

The first thing that struck me about the town is the functional retardation of the inhabitants. One often encountered tourism advertisements riddled with misspellings and typos. Surely it would make sense for a town deriving most of its income from tourism to project a modicum of sophistication and at least try to conceal its parochial backwardness. Even the regional promotions agency seemed incapable of publishing brochures devoid of misspellings and typos.

Additionally, I found the locals extremely insular, unfriendly, and uncultured. Of course, there were indeed some nice people, although they were usually foreigners. I will always remember the nice Zimbabwean lady at the Fresh Choice or a couple of the Chileans I met.

Unfortunately, the local variant of the Kiwi inbreds were usually rude, uncouth, and stupid. For example, Te Anau relies on tourism as its principal economic activity and the town is trying to tap into the growing Chinese middle class that is travelling abroad in increasing numbers. However, none of the town’s hoteliers or tour operators bother trying to learn Chinese or other languages to make visitors feel welcome. Instead, many of the hoteliers openly express racist sentiments towards Asians. They even go so far as to tell tour operators that they do not want Chinese or Indian guests.

Similarly, many in the town view tourists as little more than cash cows to milk. For example, the local hoteliers and tour operators deliberately and openly collude to keep prices high so as to avoid “undercutting” each other. Such a strategy might succeed if Te Anau were the only destination in the world, something the locals seem to think is the case. However, Queenstown is not too far away and it offers far more interesting and varied activities, accommodation, and dining compared to Te Anau. Consequently, many visitors elect to pass through Te Anau and to stay in Queenstown because it has newer and better accommodation at the same or lower prices than Te Anau. This has produced an overwhelming and irrational hatred towards Queenstown amongst the locals. Perhaps Te Anau would do better if local business owners did not try to sell expired drinks in their stores.

When the locals are not too preoccupied hating Queenstown, they divert their anger towards the owners of the two Chinese restaurants in the town. The Chinese restaurants are always full and the locals complain about “unfair competition”, which is to say that the owners of the Chinese restaurant market their businesses directly to the tour companies and, more importantly, the Chinese restaurants offer better prices compared to the other restaurants in the town. Perhaps the locals should concentrate on improving the food they serve, lowering their prices, marketing their businesses more effectively, and displaying genuine hospitality towards guests rather than viewing them as cash cows to exploit.

Instead of working to improve their businesses, the locals spend most of their free time drinking and gossiping. Te Anau’s inhabitants seem incapable of hosting an event without making alcohol and drunkenness a focal point. Rugby does not count because the local bogans from Te Anau and other nearby towns inebriate themselves after playing that silly and unstimulating sport.

The quality of houses in Te Anau is also crap. I remember waking up to temperatures of 2C inside the house and having to clean mould from the walls. Never again will I live in a cold place where the locals lack the intelligence and wherewithal to construct houses properly.

Interestingly, Te Anau does have some newer housing, but it is the cheap and useless Kiwi she’ss be right Kiwi housing that will quickly fall apart. The locals who own the older houses are extremely irate that the local council approved development of large tracts of land back in 2008. The owners of these houses want to protect their “investments” (i.e. what they should call shacks but have the gall to call houses) from more “unfair competition”, which is to say from houses that are only slightly better and newer built than the crap housing stock of Te Anau. These homeowners want to prevent any kind of residential development and artificially constrain the supply of housing so that they can sell their shacks at a profit. The local realtors in the town were another bunch of swindlers, but I will save you the stories.

The locals in Te Anau often extol the place as a great place to raise kids. Yet I remember witnessing a fight outside the house next door in which a low IQ young single mother on a benefit and her two brats from two different fathers dwelt. The fight was between the woman’s ex-boyfriend and her new boyfriend and took place in the front yard right in front of the children. Te Anau is absolute white trash. No one reads any books or can talk about anything other than rugby, local gossip, or drinking. There were a couple loud parties whilst I was there, but the place has no such thing as noise control or common courtesy.

Admittedly, the area around Te Anau is beautiful, but there are far more beautiful places in the world. I am glad that at least I enjoyed some of the nice hikes in the area, but I would urge anyone thinking of living there to reconsider.

I think the worst part was probably the isolation. It was not the geographic isolation, as evidenced by the nearly two hours of driving from Te Anau to relatively large centres such as Queenstown and Invercargill. Rather, it was more a question of the insularity and inwardness of the inhabitants. Very few people there had any interest in travelling or exploring the world. Consequently, the locals really believed that Te Anau was a great resort like Whistler or Innsbruck.

Rather than working towards improving the town and making it more appealing to visitors, the locals loved to conceal the problems or exaggerate the virtues of the town. The Stuff website has an annual survey on the best town in New Zealand. The local bogans try to vote repeatedly on the website so that Te Anau will be number one. If the locals spent half as much energy making Te Anau a better place to visit and live, they might actually succeed as a tourist destination rather than lamenting the decrease in visitors. Word is getting out that New Zealand generally and Te Anau specifically are overpriced and overrated tourist destinations.

The stories extolling the virtues of small town New Zealand are just stories, much as the Tooth Ferry is a fictitious story. It was thrilling to leave Te Anau and New Zealand.

Related Te Anau articles

Arrested man charged with indecent assault (12 March 2015) – ” Invercargill police have arrested a 37-year-old Te Anau man in relation to an alleged incident at a Quinton Dr house in Te Anau early on Monday. The man was charged with indecent assault, assault with intent to commit sexual violation and injuring with intent.” read more

Te Anau Troubled By Tourist Attacks (March 2011) – Te Anau’s tourism reputation is in danger after a gang of drunken youths assaulted visitors to the town recently. The story was picked up by the Southland Times who reported that

Constable Glen Matheson, of Te Anau, said a group of seven visitors was attacked at the skate park on the outskirts of the central business district about 11.30pm on Saturday on their way to the Moose Bar…

…The incident was one of three unprovoked attacks in as many weeks, all believed to be carried out by the same group.

And the level of violence was escalating, he said. “We believe this is the core group that is causing it so we are making a move to stomp that out.” read the full story on the Southland Times site

4 thoughts on “The Ugly Underbelly of Te Anau – Commercial Pilot Stabbed in Moose Bar Toilets

  1. O loved your point about the Chinese visitors and the locals’ attitudes to them. I got told 10 years ago by one of NZ’s biggest tourist hotels (name begins with H and ends in.e) that they didn’t need any Chinese speaking guides because they didn’t have any Chinese visitors – when I suggested to them that they might like to try and tap into that market they weren’t interested – they had lots of Japanese visitors anyway.
    I speak Chinese and have worked as a tour leader, and the reasons why the Chinese tours stick to Chinese restaurants is 1/ that the food is a known quality (Like the many tourists of all nationalities who prefer the group travel and are not very adventurous when it comes to new cuisines) 2/ The local Chinese have made personal connections with the tour leaders and agencies and 3/ their prices are highly competitive and 4/ the local Kiwi food often isn’t very good in any case, and the service sucks. Although NZ claims to have a strong cafe and dining out culture, I’ve eaten an awful lot of crap cafe and restaurant food in this country. That said, ripping off the tourists occurs in very country, most especially in self-proclaimed tourist resorts. As for the merits or lack thereof of hick town NZ – I agree. Hick-town NZ is largely populated by those too dumb to get out… and you are correct too about the undercurrent of violence in some of these towns, an undercurrent that gets ever stronger as rural and provincial NZ gets ever poorer and more desperate.

    • Hi jingyang,

      Frankly if they’re (the locals) unable to cope with french, italian , german, spanish what hope have they with Mandarin, Cantonese, Urdu, Hindi – I’ve recent memories of a kiwi effectively shouting to an elderly German customer in english.

      I can see tourism from china / india becoming a tightly vertically integrated market i.e. hardly any of the benefits flowing to NZ – benefits flowing back to china, india etc.

      Perhaps if the government consulted (and effectively supported) more with the local chinese / indian communities we might have less taxi drivers / takeaway owners and more genuine wealth creators – a classic case of allowing immigrants to fulfil their ambition to the benefit of NZ in general etc.

  2. small town people are too bored and small minded, xenophobic. glad that this ugly underbelly of nz is being revealed

  3. I strongly believe that Te Anau needs to address its alarmingly high number of psychopath and criminals. Pretending that the problem segment of the population only exists in Gore, the United States, or South Africa is not the way to improve safety in the town.
    My best wishes go out to the victim and her family.

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