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West Auckland ram killings: Couple to be farewelled at Kumeu showgrounds

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Apr 2024, 11:29am
Alfred Hanson, 82, who was known by his middle name Helge, and his wife Gaye, 81.
Alfred Hanson, 82, who was known by his middle name Helge, and his wife Gaye, 81.

West Auckland ram killings: Couple to be farewelled at Kumeu showgrounds

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Apr 2024, 11:29am

A joint funeral is being held today to farewell the West Auckland couple killed by a ram on their farm. 

Alfred Hanson, 82, who was known as Helge, and his wife Gaye, 81, were found dead at their rural Waitākere property last Wednesday. 

Post-mortems confirmed they died from injuries caused by an animal, and police shot an aggressive ram when they went to the property. 

The funeral is taking place at the Kumeu Showgrounds at 11am today. 

An obituary said the pair “passed away suddenly as a result of a tragic accident”. 

They were described as much-loved parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. 

The ram was not owned by the pair and had broken through a fence before the attack, according to a local resident. 

However, it is still not clear if the ram was being housed in a paddock on the couple’s land or was being kept on a completely separate property when it escaped. 

Police at the Anzac Valley Rd property in West Auckland. Photo / Jason OxenhamPolice at the Anzac Valley Rd property in West Auckland. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

Family spokesman Dean Burrell said the couple were hobby farmers and had lived at the property for eight years. 

“Unfortunately, they both lost their lives in a tragic accident. They are nice people and didn’t deserve this,” Burrell said on the day of the incident. 

“Everyone’s in shock as to what’s happened. They’re very upset. I feel like I was dreaming it actually, it was a bit of shock, being told what had happened and I just didn’t believe it.” 

A neighbour, who didn’t want to be named but was not the owner of the ram, said the community along Anzac Valley Rd, Waitākere, had been in a “grey” mood since the deaths. 

She described the tense stand-off between police and the ram before it was fatally shot. 

“He was wild, he was aggressive, the way he was standing there looking at the cops, they weren’t coming through the fence.” 

Flowers placed outside the home of a couple believed to have been killed by a ram. Photo / Cameron PitneyFlowers placed outside the home of a couple believed to have been killed by a ram. Photo / Cameron Pitney 

She said the couple may not have known the ram was on their property, so would not have known they were in danger. 

Police believed Helge had gone out to check on the ram and did not return. Gaye later went out to check and also did not return. 

The deaths of the Hansens have been referred to the Coroner. 

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here. 

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