Saturday 1 October 2016

Hitchhiker 'goes berserk' after being stranded in tiny New Zealand village for four days without a lift

Helena Horton

Published 21/09/2016 | 07:22

The village of Punakaiki, where the 27-year-old allegedly attacked the Welcome to Punakaiki sign with a rock and abused motorists Credit: Instagram/Cha_Glass
The village of Punakaiki, where the 27-year-old allegedly attacked the Welcome to Punakaiki sign with a rock and abused motorists Credit: Instagram/Cha_Glass

A French hitchhiker caused havoc on a small New Zealand village after spending four days stranded without a lift.

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He was described by one resident as a "spoilt millennial" after he allegedly attacked the Welcome to Punakaiki sign with a rock, threw road signs into the local river and abused motorists.

The hitchhiker arrived in the west coast settlement, home to just 70 full-time residents, at the end of last week.

After waiting for four days and still not getting a list, he reportedly flew into a frustrated rage and "went berserk" according to local police.

Local Neil Mouat called the police after an elderly fisherman "had words" with the hitchhiker, and he was worried the conversation could become violent.

He told the Guardian:  “Oh he threw an absolute hissy fit; he was lying prone on the road screaming that New Zealanders were a******* and he couldn’t wait to get back to Europe,

“He was a spoilt millennial, and he created a hell of a din. But all that time he was standing in the wrong place to hitchhike – a corner with poor visibility and nowhere for cars to easily pull over.”

According to local senior sergeant Paul Watson, the man had been hitch-hiking around the country for a long time, and was angry when his travels were briefly halted in the small settlement, which is just 44km north of established town Greymouth.

Punakaiki, on the other hand, has no grocer or corner shop and only basic public facilities.

Mr Watson told the Guardian: "That road sees a bit of traffic but this man had no joy, I suspect because of his aggressive behaviour.

"He also told us he hadn’t eaten for two days so that could have contributed to him losing the plot.”

The sergeant estimated the Frenchman could have reached Greymouth in a day's walk, also commenting hitchhikers usually have "no problem" getting lifts in the area.

The Frenchman has had his passport confiscated and has been charged with willful damage. He is now out on bail.

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