A classic car club stopped to take in the sights of Taharoa were chased out of the remote Waikato town by local Māori threatening to shoot them and bash their cars if they didn't leave.

But a Taharoa local said the club members were speeding, on private land near the site of the mine and refused to leave when asked.

A 69-year-old man said it wasn't just surfers and boaties being threatened and shot at - but even people using public roads looking at the town's tourist sign.

The Herald reported today that surfers and boaties were being threatened and some had been shot at when they were at Albatross Point off the Taharoa coastline, including a 14-year-old boy, his father and another friend last Thursday morning.


A club member, who did not want to be named, said about 10 classic cars and their owners were parked on the public road leading to the Taharoa Ironsands mine on April 7, reading a sign with the history of the town when two men approached and started swearing at them. The site is opposite the lookout.

"The next thing these Māori fellas come out with the guns and say 'you better piss off, we will shoot the lot of you and wreck your cars'."

The classic car club member said he then looked about 150m above him on the hill and saw a group of four men standing in the bush holding guns.

"We could see them with rifles or guns - it was hard to see from that range.

"They were really threatening saying, 'get out of here, get out of here - we will smash your cars, we will shoot you. So we did what they said and shot through'."

The car enthusiast said it took a lot to scare him, but the men had a really threatening and aggressive manner and he knew it would escalate.

"Just the attitude while I was there - they were really aggro.

"It was really intimidating and it takes a lot to intimidate me and these guys came up and it was nasty, it was really really nasty."


The Hamilton meeting of the national classic car club started in Hamilton and travelled through Pirongia, Taharoa, Mokau and New Plymouth, ending in Taupo. They were only a few hours into the two-day jaunt when they were scared off.

It was the first time the club had driven to Taharoa and they would not go there again after the frightening experience.

"It's not just surfers. It's also the land as well, and anybody up there. If there were tourists from overseas and these guy pounced on them, they would be really shocked. There's obviously a bit of an issue out there with don't want visitors, don't want anybody out there. It's not just the surfing, they just don't want anybody out there."

A Taharoa local, who asked not to be named, said the club members came across as "arrogant and disrespectful" when they were asked to leave because they were on private land replied.

"We have had many tourists and bike rides and even horse treks out these ways by invite because they have asked and understand the dangers and the land we try to look after."

She said a large machinery was in operation around the mine and it was dangerous for people to be entering the area.

"We always are looking to educate the community in safety around these areas but we can not educate those that choose to enter without notification."

The woman said the locals took pride in looking after the land and only asked that people seek permission before entering the area.

Kawhia Police Senior Constable Jonathan Maoate said police were still investigating last Thursday's shooting and the identity of the two people on the ridgeline who fired the shots was unknown at this stage.

"We are ensuring the victims are supported and are making a number of inquiries to establish the circumstances. This includes speaking with people in the community."

Maoate reminded people that the ocean was for everyone's use and enjoyment and encouraged everyone to be careful and follow the rules when out on the water. If anything untoward occurred people should contact police as soon as possible, he said.