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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Murder of J. R. Rattray

When little Joan Rose Rattray, six years old, was murdered at Karamu Creek, Hastings, on the afternoon of 2 July 1935 on her way home from school, the entire district was up in arms, but the most painstaking and thorough efforts of a large concentration of police failed to produce the culprit. There was no question of accidental death. The body was found in the creek on the following day, and the medical testimony was very definite that death had resulted from the tiny head being held firmly in the mud of the creek until the child was asphyxiated. There was no evidence of an outrage on the child, and no motive or meaning for the crime was ever established. The killer had killed and gone on his way, and to this day he has never been found.