Neighbourhood dispute ends with arrest

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 07:34 11/02/2013

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A fight over the height of a hedge sparked an armed offenders call-out in Aotea Harbour, north of Kawhia on Saturday.

Police descended on the remote west coast community following reports of multiple gun shots.

A 47-year-old man was arrested and charged with firearms offences.

Senior Sergeant Petherick, of Hamilton, said any situation involving firearms was treated extremely seriously.

Aotea villager Karl-Heinz Kohler said he was surprised to hear about the incident.

"There was a neighbours' dispute up the road about a hedge, he wasn't going to cut his hedge or something like that and the young guy shot his gun," Mr Kohler said.

He said the arrested man was a well-liked member of the Aotea community.

"Everybody likes the guy. He is a very quiet, nicely-spoken guy and I think it would have been a heat of the moment thing."

Mr Kohler lives just "a few hundred metres" from where the incident took place but isn't worried about the safety of the small rural village with a population of about 50 people.

"Most people in the village wouldn't even worry about it."

He described the man as a "nice, quiet young boy" and is not concerned about firearms being available in the tiny community saying they are a useful tool for pest control and hunting.

"In a rural situation most people have a gun so we don't worry about that."

He has spoken to the gunman's wife who says the man is "all right".

The man is expected to appear in court this week.

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- Waikato

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