A top Kiwi photographer who was violently attacked in the Papua New Guinea jungle is crediting his wristwatch for sparing him from the full brunt of a machete blow.

According to Stuff, Colin Monteath withstood the blow because it landed directly on his $20 wristwatch, which shattered upon impact.

Monteath was with Australian mates, Chris Hoy and Greg Mortimer, in the Western Highlands to photograph wildlife and take portraits when they were robbed on June 5.

A group of people armed with knives and axes had created a roadblock near Rondon Ridge Lodge to ambush the trio.


"What they do is, they chop down a tree, 99 per cent," Monteath told Stuff.

Then they wait for a target before they finish felling the tree in order to block the road.

"You can't go forward ... They either slash the tyres or let the tyres down," Monteath told Stuff.

"Then they took the keys and threw them into the jungle."

Monteath told Stuff he regretted not taking all of his usual safety precautions.

"The stupidity was, for the last 30 years, I took the film or the digital cards out of the cameras. I hadn't done that so what I stupidly defended was my camera gear."

An assailant used the flat side of the machete blade to strike Monteath about six times but he would not give the group his camera, according to Stuff.

Angered, the attacker turned the machete round and "let loose", slashing away at Monteath's wrist.


"The miracle was, the machete hit my wristwatch," he said.

"They rushed off with all our baggage including the keys to the aeroplane."

Monteath was rushed to Mt Hagen general hospital and discharged that same day.

His daughter, Carys , confirmed yesterday that he was back in his hometown of Christchurch and was being seen to by medical staff.

Monteath has previously undertaken 21 Himalayan expeditions and has climbed New Zealand's highest peak, Mt Cook, 13 times.