Case 25: Alice May Parkinson

NAPIER, HAWKE'S BAY. The tiny township of Hampden is found approximately 62km southwest of Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay region. Settled in 1863, the town was an industrial town, primarily sawmilling and farming. In 1900, the town changed its name to Tikokino due to there already being a location called Hampden in the South Island.

With a population of less than a thousand, Tikokino has a mostly quiescent history. A few bush fires ravaged the town from 1889 to 1908, razing some houses and sawmills. Other than the looming threat of fires, the town that consisted of a general store, a bootmaker, a bakery, a blacksmith’s forge, a butchery and a post office was a quiet and peaceful place.

However, Tikokino in the late 19th century would become the birthplace of one of New Zealand’s most curious and divisive characters. This is the tale of Alice May Parkinson.

Case 24: The Invercargill Tragedy

INVERCARGILL, SOUTHLAND. Wednesday, 8th of April 1908. 10.45am. Archibald McLean, a city missionary, left his house on Crinan Street in Invercargill, Southland to start the day. His eyes wandered toward his neighbours property, the Baxters. Something caught his interest, the Baxter property, occupied by husband and wife James and Elizabeth Baxter and their five children, was eerily quiet. Something odd for the usually bustling household.

Archibald, out of curiosity, crept over to the Baxter residence and peeked through the front window. It was the bedroom of two of the Baxter boys. The two young boys lay seemingly peacefully in their double bed. However, a sinking feeling came over Archibald when he peered up at the pillows and saw an abundance of blood. Archibald ran for the nearest telephone to call for police.

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Case 23: The Aramoana Massacre (PART III)

ARAMOANA, OTAGO. By 8pm on the 13th of November 1990, Police were informed that there was an active shooting situation in Aramoana. The first to respond to the calls was Sergeant Stewart Guthrie of the Port Chalmers Police Station, who was the only officer on duty that day. As Stewart sped out to Aramoana he came across another officer, he collected Constable Russell Anderson before continuing the journey out to Aramoana.

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Case 23: The Aramoana Massacre (PART II)

ARAMOANA, OTAGO. 1990 was a special year for the citizens of New Zealand. It was Aotearoa’s sesquicentenary, NZ’s 150th year and local governments had put on events and activities to celebrate the occasion. By the 13th of November 1990, the Sesqui celebrations were wrapping up and many of the Aramoana residents were in the nearby town of Port Chalmers enjoying what remained of the Sesqui.

Those who remained in the tiny seaside village of Aramoana on the 13th of November were not prepared for what was to unfold. No one could have predicted that such a lovely, warm Spring day would become Aramoana’s darkest day, the day David Gray went on his rampage, the day of the dawn of ‘The Aramoana Massacre’.

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Case 23: The Aramoana Massacre (PART I)

ARAMOANA, OTAGO. Located 27km north of Dunedin, tucked away at the mouth of the Otago Harbour in the South Island of New Zealand, you will find the small seaside village of Aramoana. The village which translates to ‘pathway to the sea’ is made up of approximately 260 residents who affectionately refer to it as ‘The Spit’. The village is truly remote with no street lights, shops, hotels or a police station. A vast array of wildlife also populate the area as Aramoana and its beach provide an important feeding ground for black swans, spur-winged plovers, banded dotterels, white-faced herons, kingfishers, and yellow eyed penguins.

By the late 20th century, Aramoana was home to all kinds of people, many were ‘townies’ just trying to get away from ‘the big smoke’, some were families just looking for a quiet, peaceful place to raise their children, and others were folk just looking for that ‘small, country town’ feeling. 

Nevertheless the ‘pathway to the sea’ will be forever synonymous with one man who is more complicated to categorize, an enigma who carried out one of New Zealand’s most grotesque and calamitous massacres. The crimes committed those Spring days in November 1990 are forever remembered as ‘The Aramoana Massacre’.

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Case 22: Bristol Family Murders (WHANGANUI CHRONICLES – PART III)

WHANGANUI, MANAWATU. In the decades subsequent to 1920, Wanganui did much growing. The town of Wanganui was officially upgraded to a city in 1924. Many of Wanganui’s most well known monuments were erected during this time, including the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower in 1926, the Whanganui Regional Museum in 1928 and the famous War Memorial Hall in 1960.

By the early 1980s, the city of Wanganui had grown so much, it was housing a population of almost 40,000 citizens. Making up a handful of those citizens were the well known business family -- The Bristols.

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Case 21: ‘The Wanganui Affair’ (WHANGANUI CHRONICLES – PART II)

WHANGANUI, MANAWATU. On the 15th of May 1920, Wanganui citizens were shocked by a crime that involved their elected Mayor. The crime was reported on later in the New Zealand Truth newspaper, “The evidence which was adduced makes the case one of the most sensational in the annals of the New Zealand courts. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a more extraordinary sequence of happenings. Charles Mackay, in his public business life, was a popular and successful man, but there was another and hideous side to his nature -- a Jekyll as well as a Hyde to his character, and [Walter D’Arcy] Cresswell, a returned soldier, unmasked the debonair Mayor and discovered him to be another Oscar Wilde, morally unclean; a pursuer of perverted and putrid ‘pleasures’”.

Visit www.truecrimenz.com for additional information on this case. Including a transcript of this episode, with supporting pictures, sources, and credits.