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On the 7th of May 2009, Senior Constables Len Snee, Grant Diver and Bruce Miller arrived at 41 Chaucer Rd in Napier to serve a search warrant on Jan Molenaar for the growing of cannabis. This was just a routine warrant, something they had done countless times. What was meant to be an ordinary procedure turned into three of New Zealand's darkest days and ended with one police officer dead, two officers critically injured and a member of the public fighting for his life. In some fifty hours Jan Molenaar made a permanent and devastating imprint upon the national psyche of New Zealand as he changed the lives of individuals, families, a police community, and a city. The siege was one of the worst and unexpected cases of violence both Napier and New Zealand had witnessed and it was all the more shocking because of its ordinary suburban backdrop. Written by
Well-rounded telling of Napier's frightening siege
What starts as a routine search warrant for a small cannabis production turns into New Zealand's most horrific domestic event in recent years. When homeowner Jan Molenaar returns from a morning walk to police in his house, he reacts badly. Brandishing a gun, he demands the three police leave immediately which they comply with haste. Once the police reach the footpath, Molenaar fires upon them, killing one and beginning a 53- hour siege. Molenaar's six years' experience in the New Zealand Army reserve and his enormous arsenal help him defend his position as Napier and NZ authorities try to ensure the safety of the neighbours caught in the crossfire.
The tele-movie has been commended for sticking close to the real story, and retelling the facts that were warped by the live media coverage. Police officers involved and the widow of slain policeman Lee Snee contributed to background info for the script writers ensuring the story stays true to the actual event. Special praise to the brilliant final minutes, a tribute to Len Snee.
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