TCNZ visits Canada: Greyhound Bus 1170 (PART II)

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, CANADA. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which sufferers interpret reality abnormally. This can manifest with disordered thinking, delusions and hallucinations.

During a psychotic episode of schizophrenia, the sufferer may be hearing and seeing things that aren’t really there, or believe that something is controlling their thoughts. Sometimes a combination of these symptoms, this ‘disordered thinking’ can also lead to dysfunctional impulsivity and impulsive aggression. And sometimes, innocent people get hurt.

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TCNZ visits Canada: Greyhound Bus 1170 (PART I)

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, CANADA. A place distinguished for its politeness, Canada is a land with low crime rates and is considered to be one of the safest destinations in the world to live. However, as with all countries, Canada has its darkness, tales you wouldn’t want to put in a tourist pamphlet, events she is ashamed of.

Today, as we touch down 13,000km northeast of Aotearoa in the great nation of Canada, we will investigate one such abhorrent tale. A story of a young man travelling on a bus, the routine trip that became a haunting nightmare, the tale of ‘Greyhound Bus 1170’.

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TALES I: Opo the Friendly Dolphin

In June 1955, three bottlenose dolphins were observed by a local fisherman on the shores of Opononi. Spotting the dolphins by their dorsal fin, he believed the sea creatures to be sharks, so he pulled out his rifle and shot at them. 

Two of the three dolphins were never seen again, believed to have died by the gunfire but one remained. It is believed that of the three dolphins in the pod, the two that died were the mother and sibling of the now only remaining bottlenose. The surviving dolphin was a friendly sort, and became a regular visitor to the bay, warming the hearts of all who met him.

As months passed, the dolphin stuck around the harbour. At first the bottlenose was, understandably, a little hesitant to get too close to the locals, in particular the fisherman. But slowly, the townsfolk won the trust of the bottlenose and he gradually ventured closer and closer to shore.

Locals became enamored with the ocean mammal, and they decided to name the dolphin, ‘Opononi Jack’, in reference to another famous NZ dolphin ‘Pelorus Jack’, but, as time went on, the gay dolphin at Opononi became more widely refered to as ‘Opo the friendly dolphin’.

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Case 28: The Bunker in the Bush

On the 10th of July 2002, a team of five Wellington council workers were wandering through the Rimutaka forest, near Upper Hutt, laying 1080 poison bait for possums. The team eventually got around to the Tunnel Gully Recreation Area, a place named after its proximity to the historic Mangaroa Tunnel, a part of the Wairarapa Rail Line, that connected Wellington to Woodville, a small town of 1,600 found 25km east of Palmerston North.

The team wandered off the bush track, laying more bait, when one of the workers came across something that caught his attention. The council worker noticed a disturbed patch of dirt about 10-20m off the track. At first glance, he believed it could be a grave.

The worker crept in closer to get a better look, as he got closer, he observed the ‘disturbed’ dirt was a piece of wood with a small ponga fern on top. The worker told the NZ Herald on the 1st of May 2003, “It wasn't right. Why would a ponga tree be growing on top of a board?”

The city council worker then called over one of his colleagues and together they cleared the debris off the wood. Hmmm, what is this? They thought. The two workers crouched down and lifted the wood. To their shock and amazement, the piece of wood was actually a trap door, when they peered inside they discovered a plywood bunker.

The bunker was two metres long, one metre high and just over a metre wide and contained a bevy of supplies. These included a blanket, thirty three cans of drinks, fifty nine small chocolate bars, two bottles of Lindauer Special Reserve wine, Griffin's Krispie biscuits, cheese, mineral water, juice, nine bananas, twenty nine apples, and one, reportedly soggy toilet paper roll.

The bunker also had a ‘primitive toilet’, which apparently amounted to a hole in the corner and a tube of supplied air which ventilated the structure, with instructions written on the wall, “OPERATE FAN… 10 MINUITES… EVERY HOUR… FOR CIRCULATION”.

Most curious and disturbing, the plywood bunker contained a welcome message for a possible unwilling tenant. Scrawled on the wall to the right of the fan were the words: “WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME… MAX STAY 6 DAYS… WE WILL NOT HURT YOU”.

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Case 27: The Naenae Bank Robbery

Robbery is different from theft, while both are the act of taking someone else's property unlawfully, robbery differentiates itself by its use of either force or fear which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. An aggravated robbery is the crime of robbery committed by more than one person, or with a weapon, or where a victim is grievously injured.

Robberies began to fall out of popularity in the 1990s due to the increased use of EFTPOS and other cashless methods of paying for goods. Bank robberies also became less attractive to potential criminals due to increased security such as guards, silent alarms and CCTV cameras. Making the likelihood of getting away with a robbery much more improbable.

However, there will always be the criminally minded who believe they can beat the odds and walk out with bags of cash, jump in their getaway vehicle and drive off into the sunset. This is a tale of such folk, the day the Mighty Mongrel Mob robbed the Naenae Westpac Trust Bank.

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HISTORY III: The Mighty Mongrel Mob

The legend goes, sometime in the 1960s, a group of criminal youth appeared in front of a judge in Hastings, a city of 49,000 in the Hawke’s Bay region. The youth stood in front of the judge who berated them for their misdeeds, eventually calling them “nothing but a pack of mongrels”

The term ‘mongrel’ originated to define a dog of unidentifiable mixed breed, but overtime the term had taken on different meanings. The term evolved to be used by some in a derogatory sense to refer to a person of mixed racial origin and finally ‘mongrel’ became a term used by some to refer to ‘mischievous delinquents’.

This was the manner in which the judge delivered his ‘mongrel’ comments to the youth present. Far from rejecting the term, the men embraced the word and began to refer to their group as the Mongrels. By 1970, the Mongrels evolved into the Mongrel Mob gang.

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