Water on the brain


Crazy quartet raft wild Kawarau – on blow-ups.

A Queenstown-based Briton had a birthday he won’t forget in a hurry after almost drowning in the Kawarau River on December 27.

Constable Blair Duffy says three of the man’s mates took him river rafting – on a blow-up couch, chair, lilo and raft from The Warehouse – to “get him out of the house for a while”.

Duffy says the men – “all around 30” – knew the river quite well, entering at Kawarau Falls Bridge about 2pm and planning to exit at the Bungy Bridge in Gibbston.

Three made the shore – but not the birthday boy.

“One of them wasn’t as strong in the water as the other three and he couldn’t get to the landing spot,” Duffy says.
“They threw a rope but it was too short. One of the others jumped in on his lilo to try and help him out.”

The rescuer guided his mate downriver but it wasn’t till a sandy beach 40 minutes later – just before the grade six rapid at Nevis Bluff – that they made it to dry land.

Says Duffy, who was called by one of the men at 7.30pm: “They were absolutely exhausted. If they hadn’t got out where they had, things would’ve been interesting.

“I’d suggest next time perhaps lawn bowls or tennis or the like.”

Low blows

A 41-year-old Englishman and his 31-year-old Swedish girlfriend were nabbed for fighting in The Heritage hotel at 9.58pm on Christmas Day.

Constable Sean Drader says the couple argued at Gantleys Restaurant and continued at their hotel with “biting, scratching, slapping and punching”.

“Both claimed self-defence. They were in a violent relationship at home with talk of lawyers, punching and scrotum-pulling,” he says.

Cops charged the man with male assaults female, and the female with assault.

A 23-year-old Queenstown woman claims she was assaulted by another woman outside Night ‘n’ Day on Camp Street at 5.50am on December 28. “She had a pork bone thrown at her and it hit her in the face,” says Drader.

Vindictive men

A man had his car windows smashed in with a hammer and his front seat peed on at 11.10am on Christmas Eve.

“The offender turned up in the victim’s driveway [in Dublin St] and took to the car’s windows and sunroof with a hammer,” says Drader.

A 19-year-old Mossburn man also threw a bottle at a passing police car at 12.18am on December 27.

“He claimed he thought it was a car full of ‘Gore-ons’,” says Drader. One of the police officers was from Wyndham.

Mystery assault

A 32-year-old Queenstown man was allegedly assaulted outside the Just Jeans store on Camp St at
4am on Christmas Eve. Police found a “very drunk” man on the sidewalk with swelling to his left eye, a cut lip and another cut on the back of his head.

“He claimed he’d been kicked in the head but he wasn’t able to identify any offenders or explain what happened,” says Drader.

A 39-year-old Queenstown man was arrested on December 28 for assaulting a 27-year-old Queens­towner at 11.13pm on Christmas Day.

“He had an altercation with a drunken guy sitting in his driveway,” Drader says.

“The argument turned into a wrestling match and both fell down the hill.”

Trampers beware

Three cars were looted at the Routeburn Track carpark between December 21-23.

Drader says cellphones, chargers and small items were stolen – he suggests leaving valuables in town while tramping.

Police suspect the offender has come from outside the area and may hit more trail-end carparks over summer.

A 16-year-old German student from Dunedin had her camera flogged on December 23.

She’d left the Kodak digital – worth $500 – in a changing room at the Salvation Army store on Shotover St.

Drader says police are looking for a suspect.

Drink drivers

Police stopped six drivers with blood alcohol levels of up to 800 micrograms/litre between December 24-29.

A driver was also suspended for 28 days after refusing to give blood on Boxing Day.