DiscoverTrue Crime New Zealand (NZ)
True Crime New Zealand (NZ)

True Crime New Zealand (NZ)

Author: True Crime New Zealand

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True Crime New Zealand is a kiwi based true crime podcast.

It is storytelling based with no opinion, just facts. We are trying to give the big picture of these crimes with context as well as investigating what happened subsequently and how the crime affected the wider community of NZ.
64 Episodes
WAIKINO. WAIKATO. 19th of October 1923. 10 am. The Headmaster of Waikino School Robert Theodore Reid was in the teacher's room, perhaps going over some reports, perhaps grading some papers. The classrooms were full of children, maybe learning English, a bit of maths, or even history and undoubtedly looking forward to the morning break only half an hour away.  The Headmaster Robert Reid had brought his dog Pax (a brown and white setter) with him to work, as he had done many times before. Pax spent the day in the school’s front yard, presumably sleeping most of the daylight away, as Pax seldom made a fuss. However, as the clock ticked over to 10.10 am, Pax began barking loudly. Curious about what had caught the canine’s attention, Robert arose from his desk and wandered through the entrance to the front door. He opened the door to see a man in his 50s, 6 feet tall, tanned and sporting a small moustache approaching the school. As the man got closer to the entrance he announced his hideous intentions to Headmaster Robert Reid, “I’m here for revenge!”. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
NEWLANDS. WELLINGTON. Hugo Lupi was born sometime in the late 1800s possibly in Cairo, Egypt, to an Italian family. Hugo immigrated to New Zealand in 1912 and eventually settled in the South Island city of Dunedin. While in the Land of the Long White Cloud, Hugo became a sailor, before giving up the sea life to become a pie-shop proprietor. Hugo Lupi was married, it is unclear when exactly he ‘tied the knot’ but it is probable it was sometime after he arrived in New Zealand in 1912 as it would seem he had his first child to his wife in the late 1910s. However, Hugo began employing a woman by the name of Lily Lister sometime around Christmas 1921. The twosome began an affair.  In April 1922, Hugo Lupi left Dunedin and moved to the Wellington suburb of Island Bay with his wife and children, leaving his mistress behind. It would seem that Hugo found employment as a fisherman in the new location but also did some carpentry work on the side. This is where he met a man who would become important to his life. Hugo had helped the man build a house in Island Bay sometime between April and June of 1922. Hugo received no payment for his help as it was understood that the man would help him build his own home at a later date as compensation. This is where Hugo got to know the man a little bit, including that he ran a specialist health business that ‘helped’ women ‘in the family way’. In June 1922, Lily Lister joined Hugo in Wellington where he found her a job at a cafe on Willis Street in central Wellington. Although, Hugo was surprised to find out she was also approximately four months pregnant with his child. This is when Hugo Lupi remembered the man he helped build the house with earlier in the year, the man with the specialist business in helping women ‘up the duff’, Daniel Richard Cooper. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
NEWLANDS. WELLINGTON. In the 1800s to early 1920s, there was another, more controversial, type of farming going on, baby farming. Baby farming is the historical practice of accepting custody of an infant or child in exchange for payment. This was usually due to the child being born ‘illegitimate’ (meaning the child was born outside of a marriage, also known as bastardy) and the social stigma that it carried on the mother.  Some baby farmers ‘adopted’ children for lump-sum payments, while others cared for infants for periodic payments. However, in the case of a lump-sum adoption, it was more profitable for the baby farmers if the child was no longer around, as the sum would not cover the care for the child for long. In these cases, the child was sometimes adopted out to other families, and in other cases, the child simply died due to unsanitary and subpar living conditions. However, finally and most sinister, occasionally the baby farmer would commit the most heinous of acts and murder the child; pocketing the adoption fee. These acts came to light most infamously when English serial killer and baby farmer Amelia Dyer dubbed the Ogress of Reading was officially tried and hanged in 1896 for intentionally killing six children for profit but it is estimated the real number of child deaths she was responsible for was closer to 400. New Zealand had its own baby farmer scandal late in the 1800s when Minnie Dean was tried and hanged for the murder of three children in 1895. However, in the early 1920s, baby farming became a topic of controversy once more within NZ as a new scandal gripped the public. With headlines splattered over the NZ Truth newspaper such as “The Newlands Horror”, “A Gruesome Discovery” and “The Massacre of the Innocents”, the public was enraptured yet horrified with what was being uncovered. The case would go on to become one of NZ’s most discussed and pondered tragedies of the 1920s. This is the story of The Newlands Baby Farmer. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.



Hello friends, Jessica here from True Crime NZ. This is a bit of a different podcast today, just to update you on some changes that have been happening in our lives and the future of the podcast.
CHRISTCHURCH. CANTERBURY. Thursday. 25th of September 2008. Some time between 11 am and 12.30 pm. 32-year-old Jason Somerville is home alone at his house, 312 Wainoni Road, on the corner of Hampshire Street and Wainoni Road in the Christchurch suburb of Aranui, his wife Rebecca Chamberlain was out and about. “I was outside [chopping] some wood, came in to get a drink, someone was knocking at the front door. It was her…”. ‘Her’ was 28-year-old Tisha Lowry wearing a Chicago Bulls jacket and jeans who had just walked home from the nearby Bower Tavern. It would seem that Tisha had been to Jason’s house previously (she lived only two doors away with her grandfather), what she had come over for this day is unknown. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
CHRISTCHURCH. CANTERBURY. Within the eastern suburbs of Christchurch, on the South Island of New Zealand, you will find Aranui. Originally called Flemington (after one time resident of the area Jubal Fleming), Aranui (a Māori word meaning great path) was officially established in 1912. Found in the middle of Aranui is Hampshire Street, dubbed by many “the worst street in Christchurch”. During the 1990s, Hampshire Street was infamous for many instances of violent crime including a 13-year-old boy who was shot by his best friend, a fish and chips shop being firebombed and many occurrences of teenagers being stabbed. In the 2000s, Hampshire Street improved its standing in Aranui, mostly with the help of the Aranui Community Trust and a Labour government that helped revitalise state housing areas. However, Hampshire Street still saw its fair share of violent crime.  Of those crimes, none are more infamous than the depravity that took place in the house on the corner of Hampshire Street and Wainoni Road, between the years 2008 and 2009. The debaucherous, degenerate and depraved crimes shocked, not only the residents of Aranui, or the citizens of New Zealand but the world at large.  This is the tale of that wickedness, an account of the folk that frequented the house at the corner of Hampshire Street and Wainoni Road, the story of the building that forever became known as The Christchurch House of Horrors. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
22nd July 1981. The Springboks began the journey down the east coast of New Zealand and found their way to Gisborne. The Springboks were to play Poverty Bay (a small bay near Gisborne) for their first game in NZ. To enter Rugby Park (where the game was being played), spectators had to agree to be searched upon entry. Items such as banners, placards, flags, poles, fireworks, or “any article that might impede the match” were banned. As the game kicked off, over 300 anti-apartheid protesters marched across the neighbouring golf course to reach Rugby Park. A wire fence separated folk watching the game with barbed wire topping it and a line of police officers attempting to keep the peace. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
Apartheid even extended to sport. Leagues were established in all sports, separated by race. For instance, football (soccer) was divided into the white South African Football Association, the African Indian Football Association, the South African African Football Association, the South African Bantu Football Association, and the South African Coloured Football Association.  This led to many countries boycotting international play of various sports with South Africa. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) banned South Africa from international games. However, the world governing body for the sport of rugby union, the International Rugby Board (now called World Rugby) did not suspend South Africa from international games, and South Africa remained a member throughout the apartheid era. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
In 1937, Nazi Germany began work on building the first and the largest concentration camp in Germany. Found eight kilometres north of the city of Weimar, the camp was able to incarcerate over 60,000 people. Opened in July 1938, the camp was dubbed Buchenwald. Buchenwald Concentration Camp was comprised of three distinct areas, the first area was dubbed the Special Compound, this included the administration offices, the Commandant’s Villa, and finally the Schutzstaffel (or, SS) Quarters. The SS was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the foremost agency of security, surveillance, and terror in Nazi Germany. Prisoners of the camp included Jewish people, political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, German military deserters, asocials (which included the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, the unemployable and pacifists) and finally, prisoners of war. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.



Kia ora koutou, Jessica here to give a quick update on the state of the podcast right now and upcoming releases. And where our heads are at right now.
FOXTON. MANAWATU-WHANGANUI. In 1866, Te Awahou was renamed Foxton; named after Sir William Fox the second premier of New Zealand (Premier meaning head of government). Over the next century, Foxton established itself as a small industrial town. Its primary exports were flax, wool and timber; as well as its famous soft drink – Foxton Fizz.  However, as of the early 21st century, Foxton’s identity is in a state of flux. The once a bustling industry town has been forced to rebrand to something new. Many of the flax mills have been shut down; along with the Feltex carpet factory – forcing many Foxton residents into redundancy.  The town has attempted to rebrand as a tourist attraction. Cafes populate Foxton’s Main Street; and the town plays host to a Maori carving workshop, the Flax Stripper Museum, a Dutch windmill and Foxton Beach. As of 2021, Foxton is home to 3,330 people. However, even with its small population, Foxton has events she is ashamed of.  Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
PAKIRI. AUCKLAND. By the mid-1800s, conversations were being had surrounding further expansion of women’s rights within marriage, and their access to education and employment. Due to the women’s rights movements, women had more opportunities in life. They received greater access to education. Also, for the first time, they could take on work outside of the home. Women became accepted in certain occupations in society, they were finding work as cooks, teachers, nurses and secretaries.  The first major victory for the movement came in 1860 with the ‘Married Women’s Property Protection Act’, which allowed women to keep any money they earned if they were deserted by their husbands. Women were given the right to divorce their husbands in 1867 under the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act. For men to obtain a divorce they had to prove their wife had committed adultery. However, for women to obtain a divorce they had to prove their husband had committed adultery plus an act of either: incest, bigamy, rape, sodomy, bestiality, desertion of at least two years or extreme, brutal cruelty. By 1874, women’s rights had come a long way since the turn of the century, but there was still a long road ahead. The long road to equality had only just begun. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
At 3 pm on Christmas Eve 1953, a Thursday, the daily Express train No. 626, a KA 949 class steam locomotive, left the Wellington railway station en route to Auckland carrying 285 souls, some men, some women, some children, many families visiting relatives, or even folk returning home for the holidays armed with presents for their loved ones.  As the evening progressed, the train passed through Levin, Palmerston North, Feilding and Taihape. Nearing 10 pm, train No. 626 passed through the small military town of Waiouru, perhaps passengers looked out and observed the famous Waiouru Military Camp, home to many of NZ’s armed forces at the time. At 10.20 pm, train No. 626 passed the Tangiwai Railway Station, it was clocked at 64 kilometres per hour (or 40 miles per hour), below the maximum track speed of 80km/h (or 50mph). The train continued chugging along and began approaching the rail bridge that crosses the Whangaehu River. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
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. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
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’. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
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’. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
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”. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits. Visit and tell us what cold case you would solve to enter the draw to win a copy of Unsolved Case Files courtesy of Disney+.
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. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.
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. Visit for more information on this case including sources and credits.



Tēnā koutou friends, Jessica here with a quick update on some things happening around the podcast. Just an unscripted update on the state of the podcast right now with information on when new episodes are coming. Plus we update you all on some new information sent to us on an old case. Follow the Facebook page for the latest updates: the Instagram page: Visit for the latest information and episodes. Music sourced from: Punch Deck"Omni" Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0
Comments (42)

Steph Wigglesworth

I honestly can't deal with Weatherston. What a subhuman oxygen thief he is. What he did to Sophie is just unbelievable. RIP. Thanks for sharing this case, I haven't heard another podcast cover it. Great work.

Jan 9th



Nov 9th

Clare Tyler

What a shame the narrator uses a monotone, it's so hard to keep interested in what feels like a bullet point list. Could have been brilliant with improved telling.

Nov 8th

shabnam kazemi

Hi. where could I find transcript?

May 4th


🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Your podcast is just so awesome! I rarely hear about your country and I have missed your episodes in my rotation! I truly appreciate everything your team puts out for me as a fan to hear and your care for the victims is the best perspective! Please! Release all of your expanding talents true crime and fiction! I enjoy your work and look forward to hearing all of your new fiction and historic true crime stories! I am very glad that you are back!! You were missed in the USA!

Apr 27th
Reply (1)

John Paul


Jan 9th

Barb McGuire

Let me know if you see this? You are both doing a great job!! LOVE YOU BOTH!

Sep 1st

Barb McGuire

Great podcast, loved it - thanks guys

Aug 31st

Barb McGuire

Kindness is my favourite word - I learned this from my father. It is also what our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advocates.

Aug 6th


You have an excellent podcast! I live in the USA and it is so very interesting to hear that the crimes may be called by a different name but unfortunately we have the same horrific actions happen just the same all over the world. I love learning how crime in different countries are caught and punished. Your voice is compassionate and very dramatic keep it going!!

Jul 17th

Blair Hansen

what's with the looonnnggg pauses throughout the episodes? got me thinking my player has frozen! lol

Apr 14th

Ann Marita Rooksby

It's a great podcast except for the constant bang of the gavel during the trial! also the voice echo.

Jan 21st

Lance Tie

hi there, is there a part 3 due? thanks

Dec 7th

Jocelyn Allan

I just hate wife abusers with a passion. But this pos just takes the cake

Oct 20th


I am thoroughly enjoying your podcast, and have binged it all within a couple of days of finding you! I really appreciate the work you put into this, keep it up!

Oct 2nd


I miss your podcast. Please continue!!

Mar 23rd


Se what workplace bullying and harassment can lead to!?!🥴

Mar 20th

Amy Carroll

Really not impressed with the comment about Māori at the end of the podcast. It is worth the extra effort to pronounce Māori kupu correctly just as we do with English words. I have enjoyed your podcast thus far but that comment should be removed

Jan 21st
Reply (4)


enjoy the podcast. keep up the good work. how about doing Stanley Graham.

Jan 2nd
Reply (1)

Shenae Muirhead

Love your work! Keep it up! Loving hearing nz stories. Partner and I binge listen on our roadies

Dec 19th
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