10th homicide in seven years, third knife attack in a week - is Kaitaia the murder capital of NZ?

By Mike Barrington -
A man was stabbed to death at this house early on Saturday. Photo / Mike Barrington
A man was stabbed to death at this house early on Saturday. Photo / Mike Barrington

Kaitaia is reeling from its 10th homicide in just seven years, and a senior police officer is concerned at the level of violence in a town where three people have been stabbed in the past week.

A man has been arrested and charged with murder following a fatal stabbing in Kaitaia.

The death concerned and deeply saddened Kaitaia police chief Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan, who said it was the 10th homicide since he began working in the town seven years ago.

"It's indicative of the level of violence in this community," Ryan said. "It's been a busy week for a town with 5000 people."

Police said a 29-year-old man was stabbed multiple times at a Pukepoto Rd house about 2.20am on Saturday.

Northland police regional crime manager Detective Inspector Kevin Burke said that despite receiving medical attention, the man had died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination had been completed and the body released to next of kin. Burke said 10 police officers were investigating.

Specialists such as photographers and fingerprint experts had been called in to examine the scene of the stabbing.

A 30-year-old man appeared in Kaitaia District Court on Saturday morning charged with murder and was remanded in custody to appear in the Whangarei High Court on August 11.

On Friday, a 43-year-old local man was arrested and charged with injuring with intent after he allegedly stabbed a 33-year-old woman in the face at a Kaitaia address about 3pm, inflicting what police have described as "a minor cut".

It is understood police opposed bail when the man appeared in the Kaitaia District Court on Saturday. He was remanded in custody to reappear on August 3.

And on Tuesday last week a 22-year-old man was flown to Whangarei Hospital in a serious condition after he was stabbed at a house in Mathews Ave.

It's been a busy week for a town with 5000 people.
Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan

Police said a man was reportedly trying to break into a vehicle in the Kaitaia township before the stabbing, when members of the public intervened.

The man then went to Mathews Ave, where it was believed he ran through a number of properties and knocked on doors. The stabbing victim had then approached the offender and an altercation took place.

Last week police released an image of a person they believed would be able to help with their inquiries at Mathews Ave, but no arrest had yet been made.

Saturday's stabbing is the second death in seven months in Kaitaia to lead to a murder charge. Lester Pairama, 17, Christopher Mana Manuel, 36, Juanita Rafael Wilcox, 26, and Joseph Martin, 41, all of Moerewa, have been jointly charged with the murder of Lee Rata in Bonnett Rd on New Year's Eve. They are in custody until their February trial.

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