Liquor store worker: 'I don't want to die'

By Kyra Dawson -
Nobin Jose. Photo / Ben Fraser
Nobin Jose. Photo / Ben Fraser

A Rotorua liquor store has beefed up its security after a man threatened staff and swung a hammer at its manager, who feared he would die before seeing his unborn child.

The incident happened at Liquor Spot on Brookland Rd last November and a copy of Judge Phillip Cooper's sentencing notes and summary of facts was released yesterday to the Rotorua Daily Post.

Tamati Rewi Taukamo, 24, was sentenced to seven months' imprisonment after admitting charges of possessing an offensive weapon, behaving threateningly and assault, as well as a charge of disorderly behaviour in relation to a separate incident.

The summary states Taukamo tried to steal two cans of Codys, was confronted by manager Nobin Jose and another staff member and left the store.

He then returned holding a hammer.

Mr Jose had a verbal disagreement with Taukamo's friend whose photo was in the store window naming her as a shoplifter.

Taukamo swung the hammer at Mr Jose, narrowly missing him, and threatened other staff.

He yelled, "I'm going to smash your head off, I'm going to take all the wine you f***ing Indian".

A second staff member then tried to intervene and Taukamo punched him in the face.

Members of the public and staff wrestled him and pushed him out of the store and shut the door behind him.

Mr Jose told the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday the store had put more precautions in place since the incident.

"We have a security guard who comes around on the weekend and we have added more security cameras."

He said although at the time he feared for his life, it had not put him off working there.

"I don't want to die in my workplace, I am expecting my first child this July, that was what was going through my mind as it happened.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before.

"I was thinking about the customers so I had to try and stop him. If I go somewhere else it can happen anywhere."

He said he was "quite happy" with Taukamo's sentence.

"I believe that he will learn his lesson ... he should not be taking things and stealing things, that's not fair for others.

"Ninety-nine per cent of people are nice here and we have our regular customers who come every day ... they have been really supportive. But this is just one of those cases, you know, one of those bad days."

In sentencing last month, Judge Cooper said Taukamo had no previous convictions for violent offending.

On his release from prison, Taukomo will have to abide by special conditions for six months, including attending programmes for drugs and alcohol and "any other programmes to help you so you do not end up back in court".

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