The man accused of sparking a bomb scare in downtown Wellington can now be named.

Whangarei man Sonny Wairau's interim name suppression was lifted in the Wellington District Court this morning.

His appearance was excused today, but a defence lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to a charge of making threats to harm people or property.

Wairau, 41, is alleged to have communicated false information about "boarding a bus in possession of a bomb", according to his charging documents.


He is said to have done so with intent to cause significant disruption to civilian and commercial activities.

He has been remanded to a case review in July. His bail conditions include not travelling on any public bus service while in Whangarei.

Police cordoned off a section of Willis St on the evening of April 24 over reports of threats made by someone on a bus.

A Wellington commuter - who did not want to be named - said at the time he was waiting at a bus stop on Willis St when he saw a driver pull over and kick a "big fella" off his bus.

"The bus driver was having a bit of a row with him but nothing major," the man said.

"Then the bus driver dragged off three big bags, overseas travel-sized bags."

The driver put the bags down and told the passenger to wait there until police arrived.

"It was all mellow, everyone was staying on the bus, they didn't seem that bothered," the witness said.

As the delay dragged on, the bus driver and the passenger got into a louder confrontation and began yelling at each other.

Several buildings were evacuated along lower Willis St said one witness.
Several buildings were evacuated along lower Willis St said one witness.

The other passengers then began to gradually get off the bus because they sensed it wasn't going to move anytime soon.

However, at no time was there any panic or mention of a bomb, the commuter said.

It wasn't until police arrived 15 minutes later that the commuter heard the driver first mention the passenger had threatened him with a bomb in his bag.

"That's when everyone cleared out real quick and that's about 15 minutes after the bags had been put down on the sidewalk," the commuter said.

The incident occurred about 5.20pm and led to several buildings being evacuated along lower Willis St, according to Herald reporter Jason Walls.

Fellow reporter Devon Bolger said at the time she could see about 200 evacuated workers gathered on the street.