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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.




From time to time in the history of Police Force operations in New Zealand, manhunts have played their part, though fortunately such cases have been comparatively rare. Among the earliest was that of the escapee John Joseph Pawelka who in April 1910 brought alarm to the town of Palmerston North. Unquestionably the most tragic case was that of the hunt in the West Coast bush in October 1941 for a crazed Kowhitirangi farmer who had permitted a persecution complex in respect of his neighbours so to unhinge his mind that, before he himself was mortally wounded, he had killed six men and so injured a seventh that he died in hospital 17 months later. The casualties included practically the whole resident police strength of the town of Hokitika, a sergeant and three constables, and two Home Guardsmen. The seventh victim was an agricultural inspector stationed at Hokitika.


Ronald Jones, Journalist and Script Writer, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Wellington.