A father and his 14 year old son and a friend were shot at while surfing at Albatross Pt off the Taharoa Coast, in New Zealand last week. The spot was relatively unheard of across most of the globe until yesterday when it hit the headlines. NZ Herald even printed a handy map

The group went out on a jet ski to surf the break only accessible over private land or by boat. When there they heard three shots. They thought the first shot was a hunter, then realised the second and third shots were directed towards them.

“The second one sounded a lot closer and the third one landed in the water adjacent to where they were,” said Sergeant Andy Connors from the Ōtorohanga police.

Sergeant Andy Connors of Otorohanga police said the surfers fled the area and returned to the Kawhia boat ramp uninjured, but shaken.

Kawhia’s only police officer, who patrols Taharoa, happened to be at the boat ramp and took their statements.

“He [the constable] just happened to bump into them at the boat ramp… (He) got the details from them straight away. They were freezing cold and decidedly nervous, as you would be.”

Apparently fishermen and divers have also been targeted.

One man said he was sitting in his boat looking out for a friend who was free diving when someone started firing at them.

“They [locals] think they own the sea and no one else is allowed there,” the fisherman said.

“There’s been heaps of boats shot at out there. It’s been going on for 10 years… I know guys that have actually gone and stopped on the beach there, or fished off the beach or even gone to land a boat there to go and look for some paua and they will actually get run off the beach.”

A 60-year-old local said surfing the break was “invite only”. He described it as “extreme localism”.

“I think there’s a hardcore of locals that surf there. They’ve got access via land – they can get on to the Maori land or the private land.

“I was out at Raglan in March and I was talking to a couple of guys there and they said they had an invite, but basically if I tried to paddle out there and I wasn’t welcome they would just heavy you basically.

“They would punch you out – absolutely.

“If you tried to get your vehicle in there and then left your vehicle to go surfing, it wouldn’t be in a very good state when you get back.”

The police said

“The shot for this young boy has ended up only metres away from him and there’s a massive risk for this kind of offending. It’s just intolerable. We are not in a war zone.”

“The ocean is there for everyone to use and fish and enjoy and for people to go to this extreme to try and keep people away from their fishing spot – it’s an ocean for heaven’s sake, it should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Of course now everyone knows about the joint worldwide. And NZ Herald even printed a handy map. (above)