Tourist attacks 'tarnish' Northland's reputation

Yet another attack on tourists holidaying in Northland has tarnished the reputation of the area and those who live there, an MP says.

Three French tourists were attacked. Police said three male Maori, aged between 20 and 30 years, were responsible for the aggravated robbery inside a campervan just south of Mangamuka village on Friday.

The tourists, all in their late 20s, heard someone knock on the window of their campervan and demand money.

"After the demands were met, the man then broke into the campervan through the entrance door and was followed by a second male," police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said.

Two of the tourists were assaulted before they were robbed of property.

The robbers left in a dark red or brown vehicle, described as an old square-shaped car.

Police say a third man, believed to be the getaway driver, was also involved in the robbery. The attack lasted between 10 and 15 minutes. One of the tourists suffered facial injuries and required medical treatment.

Police did not reveal the items stolen, where the tourists were heading or how long they planned to stay in Northland.

Kaitaia police were working on the case.

Northland-based Labour MP Shane Jones described those responsible as "bandits" and has called on residents in Hokianga and the Mangamukas to dob them in. "It's disheartening but what's more perturbing is undoubtedly that these two villains are known to members of the Northland community.

"Someone will know them and whoever you are, dob them in."

Mr Jones said those who preyed on tourists tarnished the goodwill and reputation of Northland and the sooner they were caught and brought to justice, the safer everyone would feel.

The incident followed a similar attack on a German tourist in Paihia in December. He was robbed of a camera and toiletries. He suffered a fractured jaw and needed surgery at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

Prior to that, three Chinese tourists were threatened with knives and robbed of cash and possessions on Te Paki Rd, a metal road near the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach.

* Anyone with information on the latest robbery can contact Kaitaia police on 0274 969 971, (09) 408 6500 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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