Anger over despicable arson

18:36, Jan 09 2014
Angry minion
ANGRY MINION: Sam Slee and Katy Tyrrell check out the character replacing Kurow’s destroyed hay family.

An attack on the town's iconic hay people has fired up a swift response in Kurow.

A day after residents of the Waitaki Valley town woke to discover the hay family had been destroyed by arson, an "evil minion" replacement appeared - and its expression has captured the feelings of the community.

However, while its sharp teeth and piercing eyes may sum up the anger felt over the arson, creator Slim Slee said the evil minion - which has been made from an oil drum instead of hay - came about by accident, because he had a large brazier on hand.

"If [the brazier] wasn't there and it wasn't built I wouldn't have bothered."

Mr Slee was motivated to make it after a friend bragged on Christmas Day that his was larger.

He had already welded the brazier together and had added teeth. All it needed to be finished yesterday were eyes (made from old mower parts) and a coat of purple paint.


"I made him look really angry - that's kind of how people are feeling around town."

The Slee family has been involved with the creation of the hay people for 30 years. This year's hay family was inspired by the minions from the movie Despicable Me.

"They seem very popular this year - more so than other years," Mr Slee said.

The characters were destroyed by arson early on Wednesday morning. In the movie sequel, the cute characters turn into evil purple minions.

Mr Slee said he was surprised by the response from the community but was doubtful the culprit would be caught.

"I'd say it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack."

However, the new character would be more difficult to attack. Weighing about a tonne and a half, it was "bulletproof"', Mr Slee said.

The Timaru Herald