The French hitchhiker arrested after a meltdown while marooned with his thumb out in a tiny West Coast town has arrived at Christchurch District Court.

Cedric Claude Rene Rault-Verpre was met by a throng of media when he arrived at court this morning. He smiled wryly as he entered the courthouse.

The Herald understands that Rault-Verpre could face further charges.

He is now being spoken to by police.

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Court staff say Rault-Verpre's case will be called at 2.15pm.

Rault-Verpre, 27, pleaded guilty at Greymouth District Court on Tuesday to wilfully damaging road signs.

The 27-year-old became frustrated and took out his anger on road signs after he struggled to get a lift out of Punakaiki for four days.

Motorists spoke of their shock after being allegedly verbally abused by Rault-Verpre during his attempts to hitchhike.


The court heard on Tuesday that the owner of the damaged signs, Fulton Hogan, is seeking $3000 reparation, an amount Rault-Verpre disputed.

Rault-Verpre was ordered to surrender his passport as part of his bail conditions and remanded to appear at Christchurch District Court today.

He said outside the Greymouth court that New Zealand should be renamed "Nazi Zealand".

He was then picked up on the roadside by a passing motorist so he could make his way to Christchurch for today's appearance.

Continued below.

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The French hitchhiker arrested after a meltdown while marooned with his thumb out in a tiny West Coast town has arrived at Christchurch District Court.
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Rault-Verpre's epic West Coast meltdown appeared out of character for the globe-trotting traveller, who hails from Villeneuve-Loubet in the south of France.

His profile on social networking site Couchsurfing.com is full of positive encounters with people who have put him up, including several Kiwis during his New Zealand stay.

He's variously described as being tidy, friendly, and talkative. All of his 80 references are positive. He lists 73 countries that he has visited, including New Zealand.

But he reportedly told his new host that he thinks some Kiwis are racist.

Rault-Verpre is reported as being surprised at how his story has gone global and thinks it is a "joke".

A replacement for the major sign at the entrance to Punakaiki was being ordered and would be installed in coming weeks.

A police spokeswoman said this week that people should not hitchhike or accept rides from people they don't know.

"If you do decide to hitchhike, police strongly advise you not to travel alone."