Crime Line Wanaka


Well, here’s a big fat cheat of a blog post: not because I’ve run out of things to say (yet), but because sometimes you come across real-life poetry that just has to be shared.

The weekly Upper Clutha Messenger is a local communications lifeline: 40 pages of classifieds, display ads and community notices for everything from the local croquet club to pony poo, free home delivery. Distressed ad space is given over to a bored sub-editor with an atlas, who inserts random improving geography-based tidbits (“SAMARKAND, USBEKISTAN – ONE OF THE OLDEST INHABITED CITIES in the world with archaeological evidence that a settlement has existed on the site since 1500 BC. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Samarkand on the famed Silk Road, was one of the greatest cities in Central Asia. In 2001 Samarkand, with all it’s historic Islamic buildings, was added to the UNESCO world heritage list of strategic cities.” [sic sic and sic]). The Messenger’s pages are put together with no discernable organising principle whatsoever, making it impossible to find or refind anything specific.

In between ads for holistic healthcare, electric mosquito swatters, the Wanaklean Dog petwashing service, live music at the Bullock Bar and ‘the biggest jugs in town’ at Lounge Bar Wanaka is the Crime Line column, penned each week by one or other of the local constables, whose laconic narratives and frowning exhortations frequently yield comedy gold. Below, a series of true, unedited extracts.

23 January

“Last Tuesday we received reports that persons had entered a section from the rear on Willowridge and stole every single cherry from a tree. Apparently the same tree was raided last year.

“Last Wednesday just before midnight we investigated a suspicious incident where offenders tried the car door of a Subaru sedan, causing the alarm to sound. The vehicle was located on Rob Roy Lane. By the time the owner went outside the offenders had gone.

“Also last Wednesday, a resident on Kings Drive reported that persons with torches were looking into the rear garden of their address that backs on to the Kelly’s Flat Reserve.

“On Thursday we received a report that burglars had stolen 2 Husqvarna chainsaws and a Honda generator from a shed on Maungawera Valley Road.”

30 January

“A 54 year old local female has been arrested for kicking and damaging a pokie machine at the Water Bar.

“A burglary was reported from a shed at a Stone Street address.

“A 30 year old male from India was dealt with for driving in a dangerous manner on the Lindis Pass. His holiday plans are now ruined. Please keep to the correct side of the road. It is crucial for the safety of all road users.

“A theft was reported from the Wanaka Subway restaurant. We have video footage of these people thanks to the new camera system. If you read this, hand yourself in before you get a visit from Constable Barham.”

13 February

“Two people breached the liquor ban and letter boxes were damaged in Wanaka and Hawea this week.

“We have had a complaint from a local business that someone is making orders and booking services for the business that are not required, causing a large cost to the business. Please be aware that we can track phone numbers and it is an offence to make bookings for other companies or businesses without their approval.

“The ‘Idiot Act of the Week’ goes to the people who drove their car into the wheelie bins and recycle bins on Peak View Ridge, Aubrey Road intersection.

“Fishermen have told me that there is still drift wood in the lakes, so be careful on the lake. They didn’t tell me where the fish were biting though.”

20 February

“A 65 year old local male was apprehended cutting firewood from the bank of the Hawea River in the Albert Town Camp Ground. Please ensure you have the landowner’s permission before removing any wood.

“Police dealt with two local teenagers arguing at the skate park.

“Police attended a domestic dispute at a wedding party at Criffel Station – thankfully it wasn’t the newlyweds. Enquiries are continuing to resolve the allegations.

“A dog was located outside the Dough Bin and rescued by a local lady, after a group of males fired a BB gun at him, injuring his side.

“A burglary at a Holly Hock Lane address was reported.

“Offenders have removed all the drain covers off the drains and dropped them into the drains in the Meadowstone area. Very dangerous behaviour!”

27 February

“Last Friday a male was arrested for deliberately setting off a fire alarm. He was charged with the offence and faces a court appearances and surprise, surprise, alcohol was a factor.

“A large box of tools has been handed into the station. If they belong to you and you can identify them, please come and see us. We’d like to return them to their rightful owner.

“A disgruntled, alcohol fuelled, 60 year old female fell out with her husband and walked off along State Highway 6 on Saturday night. This was after refusing to be taken home by police on numerous occasions. She spent the night under a bush in Albert Town before being picked up by her husband in the morning.

“Also last Friday, officers arrested a male for pulling out the irrigation system at a property on Meadowstone Drive. The 28 year old faces a court appearance for his troubles. If only the irrigation system would encourage him to ‘grow’ up.”

Ah, life in the country.

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