‘Dangerous’ prisoner on the run – again


A Nelson man who escaped police custody this morning is dangerous and should not be approached, say police.

Ihaka Kawana, 22, is Maori, 176cm tall and wearing a brown t-shirt and black jeans. He was last seen heading in the direction of Queen’s Gardens.

This is the second time Kawana has escaped custody in the last six months.

He escaped from Nelson District Court on the evening of October 5 last year before being caught by police the next morning at a Nelson address.

Kawana has a history of involvement with police stretching back until at least 2011, when he was 17 years old.

He was sentenced to 60 hours community service in October 2011 after his involvement in a street fight where he wielded a pair of vice grips at a fight between two groups on a Nelson street .

In Nelson District Court he admitted charges of disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence, and possessing an offensive weapon, Fairfax reported at the time.

Four years later Kawana was at the Nelson District Court again, charged with robbery and aggravated robbery of a Nelson dairy.

The man working at the diary at the time of the two attacks, just five days apart in May 2014, told the court he thought he would die after being threatened with a knife before Kawana and an accomplice stole cash and tobacco, Fairfax reported last year.

Bassant Bhatta was the sole shopkeeper on May 4, 2014 when the men entered the Victoria Square dairy and physically threatened him.

Mr Bhatta said Kawana was angry and raised his fist at him, before stealing tobacco from a cabinet.

Five days later the men returned and this time one of them had a knife.

“It was very scary. My whole body shook. It happened all of a sudden. I thought I would die,” Mr Bhatta said.

He described the knife as being long and serrated and said one of the men pointed it at him and said “[I’ll] Kill you.”

Anyone with information on Karaitiana’s whereabouts should contact their nearest police station and anyone who saw Kawana should call 111 immediately, police advised.

Story by NZ Herald.