A friend of the Wellington taxi driver shot by a passenger on Saturday was himself beaten up by a passenger just a few weeks ago.

Nishad Hussein still has a faint black eye and cut lip after being savagely attacked by a young man he picked up at Courtenay Place three weeks ago.

It's the same spot the other driver, Alem Tesema, picked up a man and woman on Saturday night before driving them to Miramar, where the man ordered Tesema to get out of the car, then shot him in the shoulder when he refused.

Tesema fled the scene in his taxi and made it to a nearby petrol station, where members of the public came to his aid.


He is now recovering in hospital.

"I'm very worried, I'm very scared," Hussein said today.

Nishad Hussein has a faint shadow of a black eye after he was assaulted by a passenger three weeks ago. Photo/Melissa Nightingale
Nishad Hussein has a faint shadow of a black eye after he was assaulted by a passenger three weeks ago. Photo/Melissa Nightingale

"It's not that he was a taxi driver. He could have attacked anyone. Like, aren't we all scared? We're in Courtenay Place in the middle of the night and then someone is out there with a gun in their hand, or in a bag or their pocket."

Hussein, a Capital Taxis driver, said he has known Tesema for about 10 years and was sad to hear about what happened.

"It was lucky the guy was a lousy shooter, he could have shot him in his head."

Hussein's recent assault happened after a man got into his car wanting to be driven to Rongotai. He asked for payment upfront because he suspected the man had no money.

"That's when he started getting wild and mad ... he said 'I'm going to beat the s*** out of you. I just only said 'why?' That's when he just laid into me."

The man punched Hussein about four times in the face before a member of the public intervened.


"He yelled at him and he said 'what are you doing?' I was bleeding from my mouth and he got out of the car and just walked away."

Hussein believes the man would have killed him if they had been in a more secluded spot.

He did not report the matter to police because he did not believe they would help him. He said he has asked police for help in the past and been told to take the passenger to the central station.

It's not the first time Hussein has feared for his life, though it is the first time in his 30 years of driving taxis that someone has laid a hand on him.

Twice he has had passengers get into the car with knives.

The first time, several years ago, a man climbed into the passenger seat with "red, blurry eyes" and what looked to be a home-made dagger clutched in his hands.

He was able to talk the man out of hurting him, but the second occasion a knife was pulled, he ended up being chased by the attacker.

"You probably ask me why am I doing this job - what will I do? I have been doing this for 30 years.

"Yes there are other options but every job, every option has got risk at the moment."

He urged those involved in Saturday night's shooting to hand themselves in.

"Every one of us has got a life, got families. Please go and give yourself up and get help. It's not late. The guy is not dead yet. Get help please."

Nightclub workers worried about security.

Mish Mosh duty manager Sophie Funnell said she felt "really, really unsafe" after the incident.

"Obviously we work late nights ... if, let's say, he were to come in with the gun. Obviously our security do check people's bags and things but if he's got it concealed on his body that's something we can't necessarily check on.

"And if he was to come up to the bar and draw out the gun then none of us are prepared for something like that, obviously."

Funnell said precautions needed to be taken to stop something like that from happening.

"I'm completely against guns, I'm completely against violence ... anything that would, like, prohibit people from getting guns."

Police seek witnesses to 'nasty' attack.

Police said they are following good leads as they continue to investigate the shooting.

The driver was shot with a small-calibre weapon and was recovering after surgery at Wellington Hospital.

"This shooting is a nasty unwarranted attack. We are fortunate that this is not a homicide investigation," said Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee of Wellington Area CIB.

"This attack was totally unprovoked and excessive. I am determined to resolve this investigation and establish who was responsible for this shooting.

"We are making good progress to determine the identity of the occupants of the taxi and who shot the driver."

Police are seeking sightings of a Capital Taxis white Toyota Camry sedan and a man and a woman on foot on Stone St between 9pm and 9.15pm. They urge anyone with information to contact the inquiry team at 04 381 2000. Anyone who has information but wishes to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.