A woman has handed her son over to police investigating the rape of a young Dutch tourist in Tuatapere after recognising her own filleting knife and teatowel on the Southland Times website.
Last night, police charged a 25-year-old man with rape. Detective Sergeant David Nelson said the man would also face a number of other charges in relation to the incident.
Police released the images to The Southland Times late yesterday morning after finding the knife and towel lying in grass near the scene of the attack on the woman, 22, and her partner, 25, at the Five Mountains Holiday Park in the western Southland town on Thursday morning.
A woman caller to the newspaper said police took two men away from a shearing shed in Tuatapere about 3.30pm, shortly after the mother of one of them phoned police to say she recognised the filleting knife and teatowel in the photograph posted on Southlandtimes.co.nz.
She said the town had been on tenterhooks since the attack and she had been at a house with friends yesterday, talking about the incident and checking for developments on Internet.
"I opened up the picture of the knife and the mother instantly recognised the items as 'her stuff"," she said.
The mother called the police. Subsequently, two men were picked up at a shearing shed by police at 3.30pm and taken in for questioning.
The woman caller said had come as a relief. "It's a weight off everyone's mind in this town - the whole town was quite scared."
Mr Nelson, the officer in charge of the case, said the tourist had been raped at knifepoint before being forced to perform an indecency on her partner. "Both victims were in the vehicle asleep - they didn't have a lot of room to move and the offender climbed in the vehicle with them."
Prime Minister John Key has described the attack as abhorrent, appalling and reprehensible.
Speaking as Tourism Minister through a spokeswoman, Mr Key said his thoughts were with the couple.
"It is abhorrent to see such an attack on people visiting our country," Mr Key said. "I hope they are able to recover from the distressing incident in their own time and with the support of New Zealanders."
While such "appalling" incidents did happen, they were rare in New Zealand by international standards, he said. "This does not make this latest incident any less reprehensible."
There have been similar attacks on tourists across New Zealand in the past few years.
Last August, two teenage English women endured a two-hour sex attack in their campervan at Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne, despite trying to negotiate with their attacker to spare them.
In February 2007, a 23-year-old English tourist was sexually assaulted in Kaikoura.
In November 2006, a Dutch couple were attacked in their campervan while they honeymooned at Haruru Falls in the Bay of Islands. The couple were handcuffed and gagged, then the woman was raped and the man forced to give the attackers their bank card and PIN number.
- The Southland Times