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New Zealand Murder Victims

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  • Neil McLeod (1846 - 1890)
    The murder of Neil McLeod (1846-1890) is believed to be the first incidence of a New Zealand police officer to lose his life in the line of duty. McLeod and his assailant, a rowdy, drunken gum-digger n...
  • Sgt. John Patrick Hackett McGuire (c.1866 - 1910)
    Sergeant McGuire had worked 14 years of his 16 year Police career as a clerk, looking after Wellington District’s paperwork. He had married Mary O’Brien in 1905 and was described by his colleagues as a...
  • John Doyle (1865 - 1913)
    The stable behind the Albion Hotel, Shannon, was the scene of a serious assault on local Police Constable John Doyle. Two men had dossed down in the hay but were discovered by the owner, Arthur Gripp, ...
  • Vivian Dudding (1888 - 1919)
    Constable Vivian Dudding remains the only police officer murdered on duty in Wellington. On 6 October 1919, on a break from his duties at Parliament, Dudding went home to Brook Street, Thorndon, for te...
  • James Dorgan (1884 - 1921)
    James Dorgan was born in Ireland. He moved to New Zealand as a young man, and worked as a farm labourer before joining the New Zealand Police in 1912, aged 28. He briefly served in Christchurch before ...

This page is intended to stand as a memorial to the victims of murder in New Zealand. Please add names by year and then by date of murder. Please note that this page is a work in progress. There are separate pages, indexed on this page, for New Zealand mass murders (defined as the murder of four or more people at one time).

19th Century (1800-1899)

1841 Maketū Wharetōtara murders On 7 March 1842 Maketū Wharetōtara (also known as Wiremu Kīngi Maketū), the 17-year-old son of the Ngāpuhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, became the first person to be judicially executed in New Zealand.

  1. Thomas Bull
  2. Elizabeth Roberton (nee Blackie)
  3. Eliza Isabella Brind aged 3
  4. Askina Roberton aged 1
  5. Gordon Roberton aged 8

1847 Snow family murders On 22 October 1847 Joseph Burns, desperate for money, murdered a naval lieutenant, Robert Snow, his wife and daughter, for the sake of £12 in naval pay kept in their house. The bodies were mutilated to suggest a Maori attack, and the house burned.

  1. Robert Snow
  2. wife
  3. daughter

1854 Mary Rogers Died of multiple stab wounds inflicted by Joseph Cassidy. Mary's was the first known murder of a white woman in the New Plymouth settlement. Mary came to NZ with her husband John and 8 children in 1843 on the SS Essex.

1861 Murder at the Rutland Stockade William Alexander: On 1 November Colour-Sergeant James Collins fatally shot Ensign William Alexander in the Rutland Stockade, Whanganui, after the latter insulted him. Collins was the first criminal hanged in New Zealand following the abolition of public hangings by the Execution of Criminals Act 1858.

1864 The Jarvey poisoning Catherine Jane Jarvey: On 26 September ship’s captain William Jarvey poisoned his wife, Catherine Jane, in Dunedin. The crime was reported by their daughter Elizabeth. The first jury could not agree, and a key scientific expert died of ‘excessive debility and general exhaustion’ on his way to give evidence at the second trial. Jarvey was nevertheless convicted and hanged.

1865 Finnigan family murders In September 1865 neighbours noticed that Ōtāhuhu woman Mary Finnigan and her three sons were missing. Finnigan’s son-in-law James Stack, who lived in the family home, said they had all gone to the West Coast goldfields. After Stack abruptly left Ōtāhuhu in December, the property was searched and the bodies of Mary, 17-year-old James and 14-year-old Benjamin were found buried in the garden. Stack was captured, tried and convicted of murdering the four Finnigans. He was hanged in 1866. The body of 10-year-old John was found in 1869.

  1. Mary Finnigan
  2. James, 17
  3. Benjamin, 14
  4. John, 10

1866 Maungatapu murders Five men were robbed and killed on the Maungatapu Track near Nelson in 1866 by members of the Burgess gang in two separate attacks on 12 and 13 June 1866.

  1. James Battle was murdered on 12 June 1866 on the Maungatapu track by the 'Burgess gang'.
  2. James Dudley was murdered on 13 June 1866 on the Maungatapu track by the 'Burgess gang'.
  3. George Dobson, surveyor, was murdered by the 'Burgess gang' on 28 May 1866.
  4. John Kampthorne was murdered on 13 June 1866 on the Maungatapu track by the 'Burgess gang'.
  5. Felix Mathieu was murdered on 13 June 1866 on the Maungatapu track by the 'Burgess gang'.
  6. James de Pontius was murdered on 13 June 1866 on the Maungatapu track by the 'Burgess gang'.

1867 Alfred J Campbell Private Campbell (Private, 1st Waikato Regiment) attended a parade before collecting rations at Gate Pa then heading home to his Oropi smallholding. It is thought that he encountered Te Kaumarua and was fatally struck by Kewene. He was reported missing. Some time later his skeleton was unearthed at the side of the road between Waimapu and Oropi, along with those of a horse and a foal. The skeleton provided evidence of broken vertebrae due to gunshot wound. Inquest result: 'Murdered by natives on about 7 January 1867.' Alfred was the first casualty of the Tauranga Bush Campaign (1867)

1868 Matawhero massacre (also known as the Poverty Bay massacre) In the early hours of 10 November 1868, a war party led by Te Kooti Rikirangi of Rongowhakaata struck the small settlement of Matawhero. Some 70 Māori and Europeans, including babies and the elderly, were killed. A lot of misconception regarding this incident remains including that all of Te Kooti's victims were European. However in the cases of 14 year old William Wyllie, 15 year old Maria Goldsmith and her 4 year old brother, Albert, they were of Maori descent through their mothers.

  1. Reginald Newton Biggs, (late Major Commanding and R.M. of Matawhero; 38 years old)
  2. Emily Biggs (19 years old)
  3. George Biggs (1 year old)
  4. James Padbury (late Sergeant of the Poverty Bay Mounted Rifle Volunteers; 32 years old)
  5. Jane Farrell (26 years old)
  6. James Walsh (late Lieutenant of the Poverty Bay Mounted Rifle Volunteers; 33 years old)
  7. Emma Walsh (26 years old)
  8. Nora Ellen Walsh (1 year old)
  9. John McCullock (28 years old)
  10. Jane McCullock (25 years old)
  11. Emily Jane McCullock (2 years old)
  12. Mary McDonald (7 years old)
  13. John Cadle (28 years old)
  14. Richard Rathbone
  15. Finlay Ferguson (26 years old)
  16. William Wylie (14 years old)
  17. Benjamin Mackay (14 years old)
  18. James Wilson (Captain of the New Zealand Militia; 32 years old)
  19. Alice Sweetman-Wilson (30 years old)
  20. Alice Wilson (6 years old)
  21. Edwin James Wilson (4 years old)
  22. Jessie Gertrude Wilson (1½ years old)
  23. John Mann (29 years old)
  24. Emma Mann (23 years old)
  25. Infant
  26. Robert Newnham (60 years old)
  27. Jane Newnham (45 years old)
  28. Munn (1 year old)
  29. John Moran (60 years old)
  30. Maria Goldsmith (15 years old)
  31. Albert Edward Goldsmith (4 years old)
  32. George Neville Dodd (40 years old)
  33. Richard Peppard (25 years old)

1876 The murder of Edwin Packer Edwin Packer: On 27 January Edwin Packer was murdered on the farm on which he worked in Epsom, Auckland. His workmate Taurangaka Winiata of Ngāti Mahuta, the prime suspect, escaped to the King Country, where Pākehā authority was not recognised. Six years later he was captured by Robert Barlow of Ngāti Pikiao, who handed him to the police and earned a £500 reward (equivalent to $84,000 in 2016). Winiata was executed at Mt Eden jail on 4 August 1882.

1880 Mary Beatrice Dobie had her throat cut at Ōpunake on 25 November 1880.

1882 Woodland Drownings Suffering from what was probably post-natal depression, Minnie Dean's daughter Ellen Ann Milne (nee McCulloch) drowned herself and her two children in their home well.

  1. John Henry Milne
  2. Ellen Milne

1883 The Whanganui River murder Flossy Veitch: On 26 February the body of four-year-old Phoebe (‘Flossy’) Veitch was found washed ashore at the mouth of the Whanganui River, which had been in flood. Her mother, Phoebe Veitch, was convicted of her murder. Phoebe’s death sentence was commuted when a Jury of Matrons found that she was pregnant. This was the only time such a Jury – a medieval innovation for testing women who ‘pleaded their belly’ – was impanelled in New Zealand.

1886 The Hall poisonings On 19 October Timaru businessman Thomas Hall was convicted of the attempted murder of his wife, Kate, after a suspicious doctor had a sample of the contents of her stomach analysed. Hall, who had poison in his pockets when arrested, was sentenced to life imprisonment. In January 1887 he was charged with the earlier fatal poisoning of Henry Cain, Kate’s stepfather, found guilty and sentenced to death. This conviction was overturned on appeal because of an evidential technicality.

1891 Child murder in Christchurch On 5 January the head of a three-week-old male child was found by children in Christchurch. Anna and Sarah Flanagan, the mother and grandmother of the dead infant, were found guilty of infanticide but their death sentences were commuted. The case was a sensation because of the gruesome circumstances and the hysterical behaviour of the accused in court.

1891-1895 Minnie Dean Murders

  1. 1891 John Clark Disappeared from 'The Larches' - likely murdered by Minnie Dean.
  2. 1893 Sydney McKernon Disappeared from 'The Larches' - likely murdered by Minnie Dean.
  3. 1893 Willie Phelan Likely murdered by Minnie Dean (drowning).
  4. 1893 Cyril Scoular Disappeared from 'The Larches' - likely murdered by Minnie Dean.
  5. 1895 Dorothy Edith Carter Murdered by Minnie Dean (overdose of laudanum).
  6. 1895 Eva Hornsby Murdered by Minnie Dean (asphyxiation).

1892 New Zealand Mass Murders: Munro Murders (9 February 1892) Duncan Munro had suffered from increasingly worse epileptic fits for years which developed into a religious mania. He was employed by his step-father, businessman and former Mayor of Tauranga, James Bodell. Munro was certified insane after he tried to annoint his newborn son by breaking a kerosene lamp over his head. His mother had him released after six months and he returned to his family in Tauranga where he murdered his wife and children on 9 February 1892.

20th Century (1900-1999)

1905 Lionel Terry’s hate crime Joe Kum Yung: On 24 September Edward Lionel Terry shot Joe Kum Yung, an elderly Chinese man, in Haining Street, central Wellington. Seeking to publicise his campaign to cleanse the empire of alien influences, Terry turned himself in with the murder weapon. He was to spend the rest of his life – nearly half a century – in mental hospitals.

1908 Invercargill axe murders In the early hours of 8 April, South Invercargill seed merchant James Reid Baxter attacked his wife, four sons and daughter with an axe before blowing his head off with a detonator cap. Three of the boys died immediately, while the other three victims lingered for up to a fortnight before succumbing to their horrific injuries. The inquest jury returned a verdict of temporary insanity.

  1. wife
  2. son
  3. son
  4. son
  5. son
  6. daughter

1912 Violent death during the Waihi Strike Frederick George Evans: On 12 November, during a bitter industrial dispute in the goldmining town of Waihī, striker Frederick George Evans was savagely beaten by police and strikebreakers. He died the following day. An inquiry found that Constable Gerald Wade had been ‘fully justified in striking deceased down’. To unionists, on the other hand, Evans was an innocent victim of state violence.

1914 A New Zealand ‘Jack the Ripper’? Frances Marshall: On 28 September prostitute Frances Marshall was brutally stabbed in Auckland. This unsolved crime sparked fears that a New Zealand ‘Jack the Ripper’ mimicking London’s Whitechapel murders of 1888–91 was on the loose. However, no similar attacks followed.

1914 The Ruahine axe murderer On 28 December a young German man, Arthur Rottman, brutally murdered his former employer Joseph McCann, his wife Lucy and their infant son John with an axe. No clear motive emerged before he was hanged on 13 February 1915 at the Terrace Gaol, Wellington.

  1. Joseph McCann
  2. Lucy McCann
  3. John McCann

1915 The Alice Parkinson case Bert West: On 2 March, Napier woman Alice Parkinson killed her boyfriend after he refused to marry her following a painful miscarriage. She then shot herself in the head but survived to stand trial. The jury recommended mercy on the grounds of provocation, but the judge sentenced her to life with hard labour. More than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for Parkinson’s release and she was eventually paroled in 1921.

1920 Dennis Gunn’s fingerprints Augustus Edward Braithwaite: On 13 March Dennis Gunn murdered Ponsonby postmaster Augustus Edward Braithwaite in order to obtain his set of keys to the post office. This case vindicated the use of fingerprint evidence in New Zealand, as prints left on the gun were matched with some found in the post office.

1921 The murder of a police constable James Dorgan: On 27 August Constable James Dorgan was found fatally shot outside a Timaru drapery store that he had been watching, believing a robbery was taking place inside. Despite an energetic search by the police and wide public cooperation with the investigation, the murderer was never found.

1923 Baby farming in Newlands Daniel and Martha Cooper of Newlands, near Wellington, were charged with infanticide and performing abortions. Martha was acquitted – her defence counsel claimed she was weak-minded and pressured to assist her husband – but Daniel was ultimately found guilty and executed.

1923 Waikino schoolhouse shooting On Friday, October 19, 1923, Canadian expat John Christopher Higgins snapped and killed two children at Waikino school. He was armed with a gun, a knife and three sticks of the explosive gelignite. On December 14, 1923, Higgins was charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder.

  1. Kevin McLean 13-year-old Kelvin was shot dead during the Waikino School Shooting on 19 October 1923. He was sitting at his desk and as John Christopher Higgins approached him, Kelvin said "You won't hurt me will you, Mr Higgins? Remember I used to help you with your firewood." The first shot pierced his left leg. Kelvin sprawled across his desk. He called out for his mother. A second shot was fired into his body.
  2. Charles Stewart 9-year-old Charles was shot dead during the Waikino School Shooting on 19 October 1923 by John Christopher Higgins. He was buried in Waihi Cemetery.

1925 Ellen Hart murders Ellen Hart murdered her three young children by slashing the children‟s throats with a razor as they were getting ready for school before she attempted suicide Her 'spur of the moment' decision occurred after weeks of heated argument with her husband over his changing views on religion.

  1. Andrew Hart, aged 3. Murdered by his mother (Ellen Hart, née Francis) at their home in Dunedin on 9 November 1925. Ellen was found not guilty by reason of insanity at a jury trial for the murders of her three children.
  2. Lindsay Hart, aged 5. Murdered by his mother (Ellen Hart, née Francis) at their home in Dunedin on 9 November 1925. Ellen was found not guilty by reason of insanity at a jury trial for the murders of her three children.
  3. Nola Hart, aged 1. Murdered by her mother (Ellen Hart, née Francis) at their home in Dunedin on 9 November 1925. Ellen was found not guilty by reason of insanity at a jury trial for the murders of her three children.

1925-1933 William Bayly murders

  1. 1925 Elsie Walker Disappeared on 1 October 1928 and her battered body was found in Tamaki, Auckland. Her cousin William Bayly was suspected but his family covered for him. In October 1933 Bayly was suspected of murdering his neighbours; farming couple Sam and Christobel Lakey of Ruawaro, Hamilton. He was arrested, his trial lasting a month. Once found guilty he was hung at Mount Eden prison in Auckland on 20 July 1934.
  2. 1933 Sam Lakey Murdered by his neighbour, William Bayly, who was found guilty and hanged at Mount Eden prison in Auckland on 20 July 1934.
  3. 1933 Christobel Lakey Murdered by her neighbour, William Bayly, who was found guilty and hanged at Mount Eden prison in Auckland on 20 July 1934.

1929 Himatangi tragedy On 6 September a farm house in Himatangi was burned to the ground, with four adults and three children perishing inside. One of the victims, 47-year-old farmer Thomas Wright, had been shot in the head prior to the fire, but there was not enough evidence to convict any suspects.

  1. Thomas Wright
  2. Adult
  3. Adult
  4. Adult
  5. Child
  6. Child
  7. Child

1934 Hēnare Hona murders Four family members were killed near Te Kūiti in 1934 by 20-year-old Hēnare Hona. While being arrested for the murders, Hona also killed police constable Thomas Heeps with a .32 pistol. He then committed suicide.

  1. Constable Thomas Heeps
  2. Davenport
  3. Davenport
  4. Davenport
  5. Davenport

1935 The murder of Joan Rattray On 2 July six-year-old Joan Rose Rattray was found asphyxiated in the mud of Karamū Creek, Hastings. Police ruled her death no accident but never found the murderer.

1940 The Waitewhata Road murders On 3 April 1940, Waikino made national news when the bodies of 27-year-old Elizabeth Agnes Hamilton (nee McClung) and 15-year-old Waihi High School student Lloyd Moran were found three miles apart on Waitewhata Road. Elizabeth had been raped and murdered by Douglas Herbert Cartman.

  1. Elizabeth Agnes Hamilton (McClung)
  2. Lloyd Moran

1941 Kowhitirangi shootings Dairy farmer Stanley Graham killed seven people in Kōwhitirangi on the South Island’s West Coast on 8 and 9 October 1941. One of New Zealand’s largest manhunts ended when Graham was shot on the evening of 20 October. He died of his wounds the following day. Seven men were killed or later died of their injuries.

  1. Constable Frederick Jordan, 26
  2. Constable Percy Tulloch, 35
  3. Sgt. William Cooper, 43
  4. Constable Edward Best
  5. George Ridley
  6. Richard "Maxie" Coulson
  7. Gregory Hutchison

1942 The Wairoa murders. On 21 August elderly sisters Rosamund and Annie Smyth were found beaten to death in their Wairoa home; the crime had occurred about 13 days earlier. There were a number of suspects but no one was ever convicted of the crime.

  1. Rosamund Smyth
  2. Annie Smyth

1943 Featherston prisoner of war camp riot Featherston prisoner of war camp was a camp for captured Japanese soldiers during World War II at Featherston, New Zealand, notorious for a 1943 incident in which 48 Japanese and one New Zealander were killed.

  1. Pte. Walter Pelvin

1947 The Marie West mystery Marie West: After Marie West went missing from her home on 23 April, it was three months before her body was found just 60 m away in bush on Mt Victoria, Wellington. She had apparently committed suicide, but how her body ended up where it was found remains a mystery.

1949 The Moa Creek murder William Peter McIntosh: On 28 September, 62-year-old William Peter McIntosh was murdered with an axe in his woolshed in Central Otago. The main suspect was a stranger who had stopped to ask McIntosh’s wife for directions. This man was never identified and the murder remained unsolved.

1951 Noema Rika murders On 27 May 1951 Sgt William Shore Hughes was called to a home in Otaki where a violent domestic dispute was playing out. Three women and two children in the house were being terrorised by a gunman. As he went to their aid, Hughes was shot in the wrist and was unable to use the Police-issued pistol he carried. The children managed to escape but Hughes was unable to keep the gunman - Noema Raana Rika – out. Rika forced his way into the house and shot Hughes and the women dead before killing himself.

  1. William Shore Hughes, 48
  2. Female
  3. Female
  4. Female
  5. Female

1951 The ‘Secret Service’ murder Mary Eileen Jones: On 14 June George Cecil Horry was arrested for the murder of his wife, Mary Eileen Jones, who had disappeared from Titirangi the day after their wedding almost 10 years earlier. Suspicions were raised by Horry’s implausible claim to be a secret service agent whose wife had drowned during the Second World War. Despite the absence of a body or a confession, Horry was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

1952 Capital punishment returns. On 13 March William Giovanni Silveo Fiori, who had murdered Jack Gabolinscy and his wife Marie at Minginui in the central North Island, became the first person to be hanged in New Zealand after the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1950 by the new National government.

  1. Jack Gabolinscy
  2. Marie Gabolinscy

1954 The Parker-Hulme murder Honorah Mary Parker Murdered by her own daughter, Pauline Yvonne Parker and Parker's friend, Juliet Marion Hulme.

1954 Manslaughter at Dunedin Hospital John William Saunders: On 12 December Senga Florence Whittingham shot John William Saunders in a bathroom at Dunedin Public Hospital. The two house surgeons had been engaged to each other until Senga miscarried. She was charged with manslaughter after claiming she had wanted to frighten Saunders, not kill him.

1957 Walter Bolton hanged Beatrice Bolton: On 18 February Walter Bolton, a 68-year-old Whanganui farmer, became the last person to be executed in New Zealand. After a controversial trial he was convicted of murdering his wife, Beatrice, and hanged at Mount Eden prison.

1961 The disappearance of Wendy Mayes Wendy Mayes disappeared on 15 September after meeting John Maltby for an interview about becoming a photographer’s model. Maltby was the main suspect, but he escaped into the bush while under police surveillance. His body was washed ashore at Island Bay on 24 September; Wendy Mayes’ body was never found.

1962 The Dunedin parcel-bomb murder James Patrick Ward: On 5 February Dunedin barrister James Patrick Ward was killed by a bomb delivered to his office in a parcel. Although it was established that the bomb was sent from Dunedin, no firm lead was ever found.

1963 The Waitākere shootings On 6 January Victor George Wasmuth shot dead a kennel owner and two police officers who attempted to apprehend him. Wasmuth was found not guilty of the murders by reason of insanity.

  1. kennel owner
  2. detective inspector Wallace Chalmers
  3. detective sergeant Neville Power

1963 The Alicetown shootings On 3 February Bruce Douglas McPhee shot and killed two police officers who had responded to a domestic incident at his house in Alicetown, Lower Hutt. McPhee was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders. This shooting, less than a month after the Waitakere murders, led to the formation of the Armed Offenders Squad in 1964.

  1. Bryan Schultz
  2. James Richardson

1963 The Bassett Road machine-gun murders On 4 December, in Remuera, Auckland, John Frederick Gillies and Ronald John Jorgensen shot Kevin James Speight and Frederick George Walker with a .45-calibre Reising sub-machine gun. The men were involved in a gangland dispute over illegal liquor dens. Both Gillies and Jorgensen were sentenced to life imprisonment.

  1. Kevin James Speight
  2. Frederick George Walker

1969 The Jennifer Beard murder Jennifer Beard: On 31 December Jennifer Beard, a 25-year-old schoolteacher from Tasmania, was murdered while hitchhiking in the South Island. It is believed she was strangled in a sexually motivated attack. Despite a massive police investigation the murder remains unsolved.

1970 The Crewe murders On 22 June the disappearance of Waikato farming couple Harvey and Jeanette Crewe was discovered when their starving two-year-old daughter, Rochelle, was found in their home by her grandfather. The couple’s bodies were found three months later in the Waikato River. Arthur Allan Thomas, who farmed nearby, was twice convicted of double murder, but doubts remained about police methods and evidence. After a long campaign he was pardoned and awarded almost $1 million in compensation in 1979. It is still not known who was responsible for the Crewe murders.

  1. Harvey Crewe
  2. Jeanette Crewe

1972 Gillian Morris shooting Gillian Morris 14 year old Gillian was shot on the corner of Fraser Street and 11th Avenue in Tauranga. She had been walking home with her friend, Stephen Jones, at around 9.40pm when the shooting occurred. As they were not far from Gillian's home, Stephen ran there to get help. Gillian's father telephoned the Police then rushed to her aid. Police were at the scene within minutes, but Gillian was already dead. A search revealed a young man with a rifle, Francis Raymond Richards, aged 20, dead across the road in Memorial Park. A package of opium was found on his body. He was known to Gillian. It was found that Francis had obtained a licence to purchase the rifle on the same day as the shooting.

1972 23-year-old Mary Barcham, an Auckland stripper, was killed when 18-year-old David Tamihere hit her on the head with an air rifle David Tamihere was convicted for manslaughter. He was later convicted of murdering Swedish tourists Heidi Paakkonen and Urban Hoglen on the Coromandel Peninsula in 1989, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

1973 Donald Armstrong Akuira McLean On discovering that her husband's girlfriend was pregnant with his child Lauraine McLean shot him in the head whilst he slept in their Oropi home situated across the road from Oropi School on 7 December 1973. Half an hour later she heard him making a horrible noise so she shot him again. Lauraine was found guilty of manslaughter.

1975 The disappearance of Mona Blades Mona Blades: On 31 May Mona Blades disappeared while hitchhiking from Hamilton to her family home in Hastings for her nephew’s first birthday party. She was last seen in an orange Datsun on Matea Road, off the Taupō–Napier highway.

1979 The Queen Street nightclub murder Margaret Bell: On 1 July 1979 Margaret Bell was shot while standing in the entrance of Mainstreet Cabaret in Queen Street, Auckland. The bullet was meant for another person. The following year, on 6 May 1980, Brian Ronald McDonald was convicted of murder. Two men who had accompanied him on the fateful night and been granted immunity from prosecution gave evidence. The jury did not accept their evidence that McDonald fired the shot that killed Bell, but found him guilty as a participant with others.

1979 The ‘Mr Asia’ murder Christopher Martin Johnstone: On 14 October the body of Christopher Martin Johnstone, a leader of the ‘Mr Asia’ drug syndicate, was found in a flooded disused quarry in Lancashire, northern England. His corpse had been hastily mutilated to make identification difficult. His associate Terence John Clark was found to have called a hit against Johnstone and was convicted of his murder on 15 July 1981. Clark was found guilty after a 123-day trial, one of the longest in English history.

1980 John Mark Bidois During a confrontation between rival gangs in Wickham Place, Tauranga, John was run over by a Bedford truck and killed on 6 December 1980.

1984 The Wellington Trades Hall bombing Ernie Abbott: On 27 March 1984 Ernie Abbott, the caretaker at Wellington’s Trades Hall, was killed instantly when he picked up a suitcase bomb. No motive was established and the case remains unsolved.

1985 Marc Bronson Attrill 11-year-old Marc was stabbed to death in his home at Ranch Road, Mount Maunganui on 25 March 1985 by his 36-year-old mother who also stabbed herself and was sent to Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital for assessment.

1985 The Rainbow Warrior bombing Fernando Pereira: On 10 July 1985 the Greenpeace protest ship Rainbow Warrior, docked in Auckland, was torn apart by two bombs planted by French Secret Service (DGSE) agents. A Portuguese crew member, Fernando Pereira, was killed by the second bomb. Having been arrested and charged with murder, agents Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

1986 Luana Deborah LaVerne Williams 25 year old Luana Williams disappeared from her home in Munro Street, Gate Pa, Tauranga, on the night of 5 June 1986. The case has remained unsolved.

1987 The murder of Teresa Cormack Teresa Cormack: The body of six-year-old Teresa Cormack was found half-buried under a tree on Whirinaki Beach, Hawke’s Bay, on 19 June, eight days after she had gone missing. In 2002, after the development of new techniques for DNA testing, Jules Mikus was arrested and convicted of sexual violation and murder.

1988 The Dunn murders Tracey, aged 8, and her brother Andrew, aged 4, are murdered in Christchurch by their father.

1988 Carol Lee Messenbird The body of 26 year old Tauranga woman Carol Lee Messenbird was found dumped in a sleeping bag at the side of a railway embankment in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England in 1989. She had been murdered in late October 1988 by boyfriend 'Dave' (actually Ian John Peter Steele) at Woodview Guest House in Archway Road, Highgate. Steele had escaped from maximum security Central Industrial Prison at Long Bay, Sydney, four years earlier and was on Australia's 10 most wanted list.

1988 Janet Michelle Wardell 26 year old Mount Maunganui woman Janet Wardell was followed home from a bar to the sleepout behind her parents' home before being tied up. The killer sharpened his knife and told her he was going to cut her throat before plunging the blade deep into her neck. There was also evidence of a sexual assault.

1989 The Huka Falls case Peter Plumley-Walker: In February 1989 the body of cricket umpire Peter Plumley-Walker was found floating below the Huka Falls, with wrists and ankles tied. A teenage dominatrix and her partner were tried three times for murder and finally acquitted. It was alleged that after Plumley-Walker died during a bondage session at their Auckland house, the pair took his body to Taupō and dumped it in the Waikato River.

1989 Operation Stockholm On 8 April 1989, backpacking tourists Sven Urban Höglin and Heidi Birgitta Paakkonen from Storfors, Sweden went into the bush near Thames. They vanished and were reported missing in May. The disappearance led to an intense police investigation under the name Operation Stockholm. David Tamihere, a fugitive for skipping bail for a 1986 rape, admitted stealing the Subaru car belonging to the couple. He was arrested, and tried for their murder starting in October 1990. In October 1991, ten months after the conviction, pig hunters discovered the body of Höglin near Whangamata; Paakkonen’s body has never been found.

  1. Heidi Birgitta Paakkonen
  2. Sven Urban Höglin

1989 Monica Cantwell murder Monica Cantwell was a British backpacker. A week into a short visit to New Zealand she was attacked just below the summit Mauao (Mount Maunganui) on 20 November 1989. The murderer dragged Monica into bushes and strangled her as he raped her, leaving her lying semi-naked about 50 metres from the track. Police found her three days later after friends reported her missing. Nine days earlier 20 year old Auckland storeman Charles John Coulam had broken into the Remuera flat of an Auckland woman and attempted to rape her. The Mauao attack was planned in advance, the victim selected at random.

1990 New Zealand Mass Murders: Aramoana Massacre (13 November 1990) On 13 November 1990 David Gray killed 13 people, including a police sergeant, following an argument with a neighbour at the tiny Otago beach settlement of Aramoana. At the time this was New Zealand’s largest mass murder. Gray was shot dead the next day by police officers.

1991 The Delcelia Witika child abuse case Delcelia Witika: On 21 March Tania Witika told police that she had arrived home in Māngere to find that her two-year-old daughter, Delcelia, had died. The investigation that followed uncovered one of New Zealand’s most horrendous cases of child abuse. Both Tania and her partner, Eddie Smith, were found guilty of manslaughter and other counts of neglect and ill-treatment and sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.

1991 Graham Hutchinson Neill In the early hours of Boxing Day 1991 off Ocean Beach, Mount Maunganui, Graham was 'baptised' (deliberately drowned) by Donald Munro in a bout of religious fervour.

1992 Leonie Alison Marie Neylon Killed in Tauranga by her estranged husband when she arrived at his flat to collect her children after an access visit.

1992 The Schlaepfer farm murders On 20 May 1992 South Auckland farmer Brian Schlaepfer killed his wife during an argument. He went on to kill his three sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandson before committing suicide. His nine-year-old granddaughter Linda, who hid in a wardrobe, was the only survivor.

  1. Jocelyn Schlaepfer (59), her sons
  2. Peter (39),
  3. Karl (33) and
  4. Darrell (31), Peter's wife,
  5. Hazel (42) and their son
  6. Aaron (11)

1992 The Masterton massacre On 26 June 1992 Raymond Wahia Ratima killed seven members of his family, including his three young children, at his home in Judds Road, Masterton. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

  1. Piri Ratima, 6
  2. Barney Ratima, 4
  3. Stacey Ratima, 2
  4. Phillip Ferguson Jr, 14
  5. Nicola Ferguson & unborn baby
  6. Bevan Tepu
  7. Steven 2

1992 Susan Burdett murder On 23 March 1992 Susan Burdett was raped and murdered in her Papatoetoe home after returning home from playing 10-pin bowling. Since then there have been five trials, involving two men, over 27 years. 17-year-old Teina Pora was arrested and charged, then wrongfully convicted. In May 1996 DNA at the crime scene and several other rapes are linked to Malcolm Rewa. In 2015 the Privy Council quashed Pora's convictions. On 22 February 2019, after four trials, Rewa was found guilty of Susan's murder.

1992 Lana Anne Procter On 16 July 1992 Lana was abducted, raped and brutally murdered at a Rangiuru Road orchard in Te Puke. Her naked and battered body was found hidden on the kiwifruit orchard.

1992 Judith Anne Yorke Police believe that the 25-year-old solo mother attended a party in a packing shed at Te Manaia orchard in Matapihi on 21 October 1992, and disappeared from there. A homicide investigation drew a blank. Police are convinced the key to the mystery lies with the 30 partygoers that night.

1993 Jim Fletcher 49 year old Jim was stabbed in the chest with a bread and butter knife after disturbing intruders during a home invasion at Papamoa on the last day of 1993.

1994 The Thomas murders On 16 February father and son financial dealers Eugene and Gene Thomas were shot dead in their Wellington office. John Barlow faced three trials for the murders. After the first two ended with hung juries, he was found guilty in October 1995 and sentenced to a minimum of 14 years’ imprisonment without parole.

  1. Eugene Thomas
  2. Gene Thomas

1994 Bain family murders On 20 June Stephen, Arawa, Robin, Laniet and Margaret Bain were killed in their South Dunedin home. The only surviving family member, David Bain, was found guilty of the murders in 1995. Following intense public speculation and doubts over police conduct during the investigation, Bain was acquitted in 2009 after a retrial. A 2016 report by a senior judge found Bain did not meet the threshold of "innocent beyond reasonable doubt".

  1. Robin Bain
  2. Margaret Bain
  3. Arawa Bain
  4. Laniet Bain
  5. Stephen Bain

1995 New Empire Hotel arson On 4 February 1995, Alan Lory, a previous resident of the New Empire Hotel in Hamilton, deliberately started a fire around 3.30am which quickly spread through the entrance lobby, stairwell, and third floor of the hotel. There were 35 occupants within the hotel at the time, with 8 on level one, 16 on level two, and 11 on the third level. Occupants Keith Lazenby (64), Terrence Holland (74), William Ward (70), Murray Jackson (59), and Kathleen Ellis (34) died in the blaze, and Bret Jones (18) died from jumping out of a third floor window to avoid the fire. Lory was charged with 6 counts of manslaughter and 1 charge of arson and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

  1. Keith Lazenby, 64
  2. Terrence Holland, 74
  3. William Ward, 70
  4. Murray Jackson, 59
  5. Kathleen Ellis, 34
  6. Bret Jones, 18

1995 John Edie 22 year old John was kicked to death in a prolonged and vicious attack at a Makatu party in June 1995.

1997 Stephanie Terese Baker On 18 July 1997 Stephanie arrived at the parent's home of her former partner Jason Robert John Butler to drop off their one year old daughter. 25 year old Butler stabbed her in the back and throat.

1997 The Raurimu massacre On 8 February Stephen Anderson, a 25-year-old with a history of mental illness, killed six people, including his father, at a central North Island ski lodge. Found not guilty by reason of insanity, he was committed indefinitely to psychiatric hospital care (but has since been released).

  1. Neville Robin Anderson, 60
  2. Anthony Gordon McCarty, 63
  3. Stephen Mark Hanson, 38
  4. John Frederick Matthews, 28
  5. Andrea Joy Brander, 52
  6. Hendrick "Henk" Dirk Van de Wetering, 51

1997 Marcus Te Hira Grey (1997-1997) Died in Tauranga Hospital on 10 November 1997. Suffered numerous human bites, cuts inside the mouth, broken ribs and bruises, some of which were about three weeks old. Brain and retinal injuries indicated that he had been severely shaken.

1998 Operation Tam In the early hours of New Years Day 1998, friends Olivia Hope (17) and Ben Smart (21) were delivered by water-taxi, along with a mystery man, to a yacht moored in Endeavor Inlet off Furneaux Lodge. Neither has been seen since. Scott Watson is serving a life sentence after being convicted in 1999 of their murder. Neither their bodies nor any trace of their belongings have ever been found.

  1. Olivia Hope
  2. Ben Smart

1999 Jo-Anne Maree Van Duyvenbooden Shot three times in Welcome Bay, dragged from her home, thrown down a bank and her mattress dumped on top of her body.

21st Century (2000-2099)


2000 The Lundy murders On 29 August Christine Lundy and her daughter, Amber, were beaten to death in their Palmerston North home. Their bodies were discovered the next day. Christine’s husband, Mark Lundy, who had been visiting Wellington on business, was arrested six months later and convicted in April 2002. In 2013 Lundy’s murder conviction became the last decision of the New Zealand courts to be appealed before the Privy Council in London. In 2015 Lundy was convicted for a second time and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years without parole, of which he had already served 12.

  1. Christine Lundy
  2. Amber Lundy

2001 Raymond Noel McKenzie On 15 June 2001 at 5am in the morning, an intruder stabbed 64-year-old Noel 14 times in front of his wife at their home in Myers Street, Pillans Point.

2001 Marta Webber On 31 July 2001 76-year-old Marta was strangled with an orange lavalava after refusing to hand over money to Ema Neru.

2001 The RSA murders On 8 December William Bell killed three people and severely beat another employee (Susan Couch) while robbing the Mt Wellington-Panmure RSA, from which he had been fired three months earlier. Bell was sentenced to 33 years in prison, the longest term imposed by a New Zealand judge.

  1. Wayne Johnson
  2. Mary Hobson
  3. Bill Absolum

2002 John Hobson Rogers John was attacked in the toilet block at Tauranga's Wharepai Domain in the early hours of 29 July 2002. He received a single stab wound to the lower back and a blood stained 38cm knife was lying nearby. John left a trail of blood as he tried to return to his car. He was rushed to hospital but died during surgery.

2005 Michael John Curran murders

  1. Natasha Hayden The 24 year old's body was found in her red Mazda Familia car at McLaren Falls Park in the lower Kaimai Ranges on 10 January 2005. Michael John Curran, whilst released on bail for Natasha's manslaughter, murders two year old Aaliyah Morrissey. He was sentenced to 9 years for the manslaughter of Natasha Hayden in June 2006.
  2. Aaliyah Morrissey While on bail for the manslaughter of Natasha Hayden in January 2005 Michael John Curran murders two year old Aaliyah Morrissey. X-rays and CT scans reveal she suffered internal injuries, including brain and abdominal injuries, torn retinas in her eyes, and a fractured forearm. She also had extensive bruising on her face, arms, legs and torso.

2005 Grant Trevor Adams burned skeletal remains were exhumed from a steam vent at the Wairakei geothermal powerstation near Taupo in June 2007. On 14 December 2005 Adams was shot up to five times in Ohauiti, Tauranga, before being wrapped in a rug, transported to Wairakei, set alight and buried.

2005 Wairoa Bridge murders

  1. Toni-Anne Nathan Shot dead underneath the Wairoa Bridge on State Highway 2 at Te Puna at around 2.46am on 31 October 2005.
  2. Mikaere (Michael) Douglas O'Sullivan Shot dead underneath the Wairoa Bridge on State Highway 2 at Te Puna at around 2.46am on 31 October 2005.

2005 Teresa Audrey Gunn 2005 George Andrew Grabner

2007 Graeme Burton’s shootings On 6 January, near Wellington, mountain biker Karl Kuchenbecker was killed and three other people were wounded in random shootings by Graeme Burton (who had been convicted of murder in 1992). This crime sparked widespread criticism of the Corrections Department and the Parole Board – Burton had been released on parole in mid-2006 despite behaving violently in prison.

  1. Karl Kuchenbecker
  2. another
  3. another

2008 The murder of Sophie Elliott Sophie Elliott: On 9 January, in Dunedin, Sophie Elliott was stabbed 216 times by her ex-boyfriend Clayton Weatherston, who was sentenced to at least 18 years without parole. The case attracted feverish media attention. Public outrage at Weatherston’s claim that he had been provoked led to the abolition of provocation as a partial defence against a charge of murder.

2009 Christchurch’s House of Horror On 3 September 2009, following a confession by murderer-rapist Jason Somerville, the bodies of his wife Rebecca and Tisha Lowry were found under the Somervilles’ Christchurch house. The ‘House of Horror’ was demolished after surviving several arson attempts.

  1. Rebecca Somerville
  2. Tisha Lowry

2010 Scott Grahame Guy Shot in his driveway on the way to morning milking, 5am, on 8 July 2010, Feilding New Zealand.

2014 Public servants murdered in Asburton On 1 September, Russell Tully shot dead two staff members in the Ashburton office of Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ), from which he had been trespassed. Also convicted of the attempted murder of a third staff member, Tully was sentenced to a minimum of 27 years’ imprisonment before he would become eligible for parole. In 2016 a judge ruled that WINZ had failed to take practicable steps to mitigate a reasonably predictable hazard.

  1. Susan Leigh Cleveland
  2. Peggy Turuhira Noble

2018 David Rawiri Kuka Found at a Wilrose Place address with a serious head injury. David died shortly afterwards.

2018 Ariana Eva Mahu Stabbed in the neck whilst attending a tangi at Huria Marae and died the following morning, 23 February 2018. Ariana has been remembered as ‘everyone's mum’, an advocate for troubled youth and a staunch supporter of mana Māori. A 21-year-old man was charged with murder.

2018 Lance Wayne Waite Mongrel Mob member Waite pleaded guilty to one charge of detaining a woman without her consent for the purpose of her having sex with unknown persons and two counts of sexually violating the woman in 2010. 58-year-old Waite was dropped off at Tauranga hospital at about midday on 3 January 2018 with critical injuries and died a short time after.

2018 Ariah Dawn Roberts The two-year old died on 22 August 2018 at a Mangawhai property as a result of "multiple blows of blunt force trauma to the head". Her mother's partner, Aaron Archer has been charged with murdering the little girl.

2019 New Zealand Mass Murders: Christchurch Mosque Shootings (15 March 2019) On 15 March, a self-proclaimed ‘white nationalist’ opened fire on worshippers at mosques in Deans Ave and Linwood, killing 50 people and wounding another 50. One victim died of his wounds six weeks later raising the death toll to 51. The Australian-born gunman used five weapons, including two semi-automatic assault rifles, in the attack. The death toll might have been even higher but for the heroism displayed by unarmed men at both mosques, and by the police officers who forced the assailant’s car off the road in central Christchurch. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as one of New Zealand’s darkest days.