77-year-old farmer killed

By Alexandra Newlove

1 comment
Police Commissioner Mike Bush
Police Commissioner Mike Bush

The Far North's third homicide investigation this year is under way, but a community leader says the high-profile violence is a blot on an otherwise "wonderful" community.

Farmer Peter Linder Nilsson, 77, died after police say he was stabbed at an address just north of Te Kao shortly before 11pm on Thursday. Mr Nilsson has one of the largest farms in the Far North and is well known in the community.

Far North District Council Te Hiku ward councillor David Collard said the Far North's reputation was being tarnished by highly publicised violence in the community, including two other homicides since December 31, 2015.

Police announced yesterday they were rushing four extra officers to the Far North to help deal with the spate of homicides and other violent offences there.

Yesterday a man appeared in Kaitaia District Court before Judge Keith de Ridder, charged with murder. He was remanded in custody without plea for a psychiatric assessment.

The man was granted interim name suppression and will reappear in the High Court at Whangarei on August 25.

Police were called to an address just north of Te Kao on Thursday evening after reports a man was badly injured. When they arrived, they found Mr Nilsson, who had died from knife wounds.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush yesterday announced four new staff for the region where at least four homicides have been committed this year. There have also been a number of violent assaults and robberies - including three knife attacks in Kaitaia in one week of July.

"There have been a number of homicides and other high-profile incidents in Kaitaia in recent months, and that will obviously concern those who live there," Mr Bush said.

"We're working closely with the community to ensure their needs are met and we're providing extra staff to assist."

It was "not unusual" for crime to happen in the same area, and these incidents were not related, he said.

"Having said that, we recognise that Northland Police have been kept busy investigating these and other incidents, and we're putting six extra staff into the district for 2016/17. Additional staff have also been provided to Northland as required this year, just as every police district can call for support whenever it's needed."

Mr Collard said: "The media portrays it as violence all the time, but I don't see that getting around the place. It seems the violence is hidden - it's very sad and it becomes an indictment on all the good people who live here." Mr Collard said the community surrounding Te Kao was "wonderful".

"I actually got stuck in a vehicle at Te Kao recently and the local people went out of their way to help me. They're great people up there ... And for them to be condemned by the actions of a violent minority is just not fair."

The attendant at Te Kao store yesterday said customers had been "shocked" by the death in the usually quiet area.

"Those who have come in have only seen it on the news. They are shocked and especially shocked because they don't know who it is," said the attendant, who did not give a name.

- Northern Advocate

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