Abandoned picnic mystery solved

Last updated 08:45 24/09/2008

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The mystery of Rotorua's "Mary Celeste picnic" has been solved.

"The whole episode can best be described as an aborted romantic interlude," Detective Sergeant John Wilson said this afternoon.

A fully laid-out picnic, complete with blanket and food, was found abandoned near the carpark between Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Rotokakahi (Green Lake) on Friday.

At the site police found a red blanket laid out, a wicker basket, two small bottles of Coke, a packet of chips, a relish container, chicken caesar salad, three apples, two bags of sweets, a barbecue lighter and a copy of the Weekend Herald dated September 13.

Mr Wilson had likened the mystery to the world's most famous "ghost" ship the Mary Celeste.

The Mary Celeste was a brigantine discovered in the Atlantic Ocean unmanned and under sail in 1872. The fate of the crew has been the subject of much speculation since.

Mr Wilson said the picnic mystery was solved when a man in his 20s arrived at Rotorua police station this morning and explained the circumstances.

Since the find a police search and rescue team had scoured the tracks around the lake and made inquiries at the camp ground on the opposite side of the lake but had come up without answers.

Mr Wilson said today police were considering what further action to take when the man fronted up.

"The young man told police he was initially embarrassed when the incident was reported in the local media on Monday," Mr Wilson said.

"But when there was still debate over what had occurred on Wednesday he felt he needed to come forward before police resources were wasted investigating and searching the area further."

- NZPA

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