Arsonist's hatred stuns family

By Peter Jackson -
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The Murray family ask what they have done to deserve their Whangape (pictured) bach to be burnt down by an arsonist twice in one year.
The Murray family ask what they have done to deserve their Whangape (pictured) bach to be burnt down by an arsonist twice in one year.

The family whose bach at Whangape was burnt to the ground last week, for the second time in a year, are devastated but determined to find the culprit - and asking what they have done to earn such hatred.

Katie Murray, her husband Rex and son Bronson, who flew from Dunedin to help, worked all but non-stop for three days to rebuild the bach that was destroyed in December last year, using brand new materials. The weekend before last they took the furniture they would need for Christmas. On Tuesday, just two days later, it had all been destroyed.

In December last year all six baches were destroyed, only Mrs Murray's family rebuilding.

And while she accepted that last year might have had something to do with the arresting of local people on methamphetamine charges, and wild allegations about "narking" to the police, this time she believed it was personal.

She and her family had no idea what the arsonist's motive might be, however.

"We got caught up in what went down last year but we weren't involved in it," she said.

"This time no one can use that excuse. This is directly aimed at me, my husband and my children. This is malicious hatred that is aimed at my family, and I don't know why anyone would hate us this much."

The family were convinced that whoever was responsible was familiar with Whangape but was not living there, and that some residents would know who it was.

"This person is a gutless coward, and a lot of other things you won't print," she said.

"There will be people at Whangape [who] know about it, and we really want them to tell us. Whoever it is, they have to be whanau. Only people living at Whangape or who have been to Whangape would know how to get there."

Her son was keen to rebuild, again, she added, but she doubted they could afford to, and in any event she wanted to catch "the mongrel" first.

"This is not a normal criminal," Mrs Murray said.

"This is someone who's full of hatred and malice. They have to be full of something. And we have to wonder what we've done to deserve this."

Meanwhile, police continue to investigate an arson attack that destroyed a home on Waikare Rd, east of Kawakawa, last Wednesday night.

Fire investigator Gary Beer said the isolated, three-bedroom home had been burnt to the ground.

It was suspicious because the house had no power or other source of ignition.

Three grass fires were lit in the same area around the same time, the largest burning about 50m of grass along the roadside.

Mr Beer said it was possible that all four blazes were related.

Police were following leads relating to the house fire, he said.

Mr Beer said the Whangape fire appeared to be very similar to the arson attack which razed six baches last December.

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