Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Late night attack: 'I really am so angry'

Frank and Barbara Watene standing outside bordered up windows at their Naenae home. Photo / Rebecca Quilliam
Frank and Barbara Watene standing outside bordered up windows at their Naenae home. Photo / Rebecca Quilliam

Barbara Watene is mad as hell at the four men who left her 71-year-old husband lying in a heap on the ground bruised and with a fractured collarbone.

"Do I want to face those guys? Oh yes. I am so angry, I really am so angry."

Frank Watene knows he's lucky to be alive after he was set upon by the group at 3am on Sunday outside his Naenae home in the Hutt Valley.

"If they'd found my hammer hanging up outside, I'd probably be dead."

The couple who have lived on Bush Street for 33 years are refusing to be intimidated by the incident and said there was no way they would leave their home.

"Why should we let p****s like that chase us out?" Mrs Watene said.

Their cosy house has also been home to 300 to 400 foster children - many of whom are pictured in frames covering the walls.

Two of those children, a 14-year-old boy and girl, were in the house during the incident.

They were frightened, but the boy managed to phone some older former foster children to come and help, Mrs Watene said.

"He did so well. He did what he needed to do."

The attack happened after Mrs Watene opened the door to one of the men - but was able to push him back by closing it quickly. The other men then set about smashing the couple's windows.

Mr Watene, described by his wife as a "Maori warrior", confronted the men and was able to land a punch to one of them before being viciously attacked.

"I wasn't thinking of myself. I was thinking of the kids," he said.

Neighbours quickly gathered at the home after hearing the commotion and the appearance of one may have frightened the men off, Mrs Watene said.

The attack had left Mr Watene "aching all over" and unable to sleep.

The pair have been left bewildered as to why the attack happened to them.

"I've gone back..in my memory to see if there was someone I had attacked...then it would make sense. But I haven't. It's a mystery," Mr Watene said.

Mrs Watene said it might have been a case of mistaken identity.

"Because we've done nothing."

Police were seeking sightings of a dark-coloured four-wheel-drive, possibly a Nissan Terrano or Pathfinder.

Anyone with information was asked to contact police on 04 560 2600 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

- APNZ

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