A "Man mountain" accused of an attack on a police officer brushed off a 50,000-volt taser shot as if it was nothing, an eyewitness says.

The 19-year-old, who stands at 1.93m and weighs around 135kg, is one of five facing charges over a pack assault on Constable Perry Griffin in the coastal Waikato town of Kawhia on Friday night. Three appeared in Hamilton District Court yesterday and police are hunting two others.

A middle-aged, local man told the Herald on Sunday he held the hulking teenager until police back-up arrived.

The hero - who declined to be named - said: "The guy had incredible strength. When the policeman pepper-sprayed him he just wiped it from his eyes and kept going at him.


"When the policeman then used his taser on him, he just brushed that off too. It had no more effect than someone spitting on him."

Griffin sustained facial injuries after being kicked and beaten on the ground by five people.

Several onlookers and members of the local volunteer fire brigade, who recovered the constable's Glock pistol and handed it in, are being hailed as heroes.

Police Minister Anne Tolley last night called Griffin to voice her support, a spokesman said.

It is the fifth assault on police in the Waikato over the holiday period, prompting a renewed Police Association call for frontline officers to be permitted to draw their guns before pepper spray or tasers.