Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Dad admits abducting son, taking him on high-speed trip

Wayne Houpapa admitted taking his son from Dunedin and involving him in a high-speed trip to north Canterbury. Photo / Thinkstock
Wayne Houpapa admitted taking his son from Dunedin and involving him in a high-speed trip to north Canterbury. Photo / Thinkstock

A father has today admitted abducting his young son from Dunedin and driving away at speeds of up to 170km/h north of Christchurch.

Wayne Anthony Jonathon Houpapa, 30, took his child from his mother's home in Dunedin on July 8 and began driving to North Canterbury where he was working as a shearer.

Police were called, and were concerned over threats he had made to harm himself.

Houpapa was tracked just north of Christchurch hours later and was caught speeding at 170km/h.

Shocked officers trailed him without engaging in a dangerous high-speed pursuit to an Amberley property where he was arrested.

Houpapa had earlier admitted breaching protection orders by texting the mother of his children over getting access to see them.

Today at the Christchurch District Court, Houpapa admitted charges of abduction and dangerous driving.

Defence counsel Andrew Bailey said the imposition of a protection order had sparked a "panicked" Houpapa's actions.

Mr Bailey said Houpapa now knows the proper channels to use in arranging contact with his children.

Police today opposed granting him bail before he was sentenced on October 28 over fears that he would again try to contact the children's mother.

But Judge Jane Farish granted him bail with conditions that he doesn't travel south of the Rangitata river in South Canterbury, to live in Waiau, and not to make contact directly or indirectly with his former partner or children unless authorised by the family court.

Judge Farish said it was unlikely that Houpapa would receive a custodial sentence, unless he reoffended while on bail.

The judge told him that while she appreciated getting access to his children could be "frustrating at times", he would have to go through the correct channels.

- APNZ

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