Cops honour colleague killed in plane crash

SHARE

Queenstown police are commissioning a trophy to honour a local detective killed 10 years ago in a cannabis-spotting operation.

Detective Travis Hughes and his pilot Chris Scott, of Whakatane, died when their single-engine Cessna crashed in the Gibbston valley on January 29, 2005.

Antlers from a stag that Hughes shot, which used to hang above his desk, are being made into a trophy.

The memorial trophy will be unveiled at a ceremony at the crash site on February 22.

It will then be awarded each year to acknowledge a significant achievement by a member of the local force.

Hughes, 37, was highly regarded during his 11 years at the station – he’d just been certified as a detective before he died.

Constable Julian Cahill says: “He was probably the hardest worker in our office at the time.

“I don’t know whether he wanted to climb up the ranks, I think he just wanted to knuckle down and be a detective.

“He was a pretty hard guy not to like.

“We had similar interests so we became good friends, as did everyone in the station.”

Former local detective sergeant Grahme Bartlett says it’s not unusual for Travis’ name to still come up in conversation because he was such a big part of that team.

“That’s just a token of how much he was respected.”

Bartlett organised several Travis Hughes memorial golf tournaments at the Kelvin Heights course.

The tournaments raised almost $30,000 for a trust to help fund university educations for Hughes and his wife Fiona’s two daughters – they were aged five and three at the time of his death.
“The community and businesspeople of Queenstown were incredibly supportive of the events that we held on behalf of Travis, for his trust,” Bartlett says.
Local acting senior sergeant Steve Watt says Hughes’ death was “an event that still resonates with the majority of the Queenstown staff, and our thoughts have never turned too far from his family”.scoop@scene.co.nz