Kawakawa locals intent on 'vigilante justice' for attack on kuia

By Raniera Harrison

'Vigilante justice' is high on the priority list for some Kawakawa locals.

One Kawakawa resident told Te Kāea that the two women responsible should not be surprised if "whānau take steps to further that on. Because there are a lot of whānau out there that want to do stuff about that".

The tensions follow what police labelled last week as a "cowardly home invasion" on a 92-year-old kuia, at Whangae, north of the Three Bridges, Kawakawa.

"Be thankful the cops found you before anyone else did, because it wouldn't have been pretty otherwise," says another resident of the small Northland settlement.

24-year-old Bella Rina Rudolph appeared in the Kaikohe District Court this morning charged with aggravated burglary and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Police say the second alleged offender, 40-year-old, Carissa Angelique Davis handed herself in this morning and appeared in the Kaikohe District Court this afternoon. 

"There's little doubt in my mind that she has handed herself in this morning as a result of the publicity surrounding this incident and obviously we're all aghast an elderly woman aged 92, in the sanctity of her own home was attacked in this manner," says Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid of the Northland CIB.

The court appearance of those responsible, according to locals in Kawakawa, has come as a relief for locals in the region.

"It's good to see justice in our community for our kaumātua and our kuia.  Aroha ki a rātou," says a resident.

Another says, "I think they deserve it and they're lucky I didn't get to them before them because a lot of whānau are really disappointed about that."

However, Northland Police are now warning people not to take matters into their own hands.

"I wouldn't for a minute support any kind of vigilante justice.  So, the police are the correct authority to be coming to with any information," says Schmid.

Police say they are not looking for any further information regarding the investigation.  However, they're still working to retrieve items of interest that were stolen last week.

"What resonates certainly with the inquiry team is that the victim in this matter could have easily been a member of our own family," says Schmid.

Both women were remanded in custody and will appear in the Whangārei District Court next Monday.