Everything turned blank when Tumanako Pairama saw a vicious Mastiff cross tearing strips off a woman in the front yard of a suburban Hamilton home.
He dived over the security fence into what a witness described as the most horrific sight she’s ever seen.
Pairama’s only thought was, “smash the dog”, and that’s what he did.
The father-of-three relived the dramatic encounter yesterday as he sat in the safety of the dining room of his Nawton home.
Shortly before 3pm on Tuesday, the 31-year-old roadworker and his partner, Sarah-Lee Maraki, 26, were walking along Avalon Drive when they saw a panicked woman on the street screaming, “Help that girl, her dog!”
“I was like, aye, what are you on about?” Pairama recalled.
“We got to the driveway and, bro, just saw this dog ripping at this poor woman, just ripping her arm to shreds. I sort of freaked out at first then my wife goes, ‘jump the fence’. So I did. After that everything went blank.
“I jumped the fence like a crazy Maori boy,” he said, laughing.
Years ago, he’d seen a dog take a child’s finger off, but he’d never witnessed a mauling like that.
Maraki likened the dog’s behaviour to that of a big cat attacking prey – snarling and ripping at anything it could sink its teeth into.
She was hysterical.
“I was so shocked and scared when I seen it. All that was on my mind was to save that lady and I told my partner, jump that fence and save her.”
In the yard, Pairama searched for something, anything, to use as a weapon.
“I just went on attack mode. I grabbed the broomstick and smashed it over [the dog’s] head about three times. That dropped it and I carried on hitting it while it was lying on the ground. I didn’t care.”
The dog came too, shook off the blows and got to its feet again.
“It looked straight at me and I thought come on you. Get inside! And it did. I went to shut the door with the broom and the door was latched. Oh man, I’m going to have to walk up there. I walked up unlatched it, slammed the door.”
The woman was stricken and bleeding on the ground with serious injuries to her arm, head and torso. He ran to her side, asked if she was okay.
Pairama got her a glass of water. And she kept saying, “keep that bastard away from me” so he picked her up and put her in the car. Her forearm was so badly torn that Pairama wrapped his shirt around the wound to keep it together.
Police were first on the scene, followed by St John.
The 31-year-old victim, who owned the dog, would have died if Pairama hadn’t intervened, he and his wife said.
It would have gone from her arm, to her throat “cause that’s the instinct of a dog”. Pairama was “buzzing” for hours afterwards.
“If I didn’t jump over the fence and she died I would have been so gutted, if I was a civilian there and didn’t do nothing. But I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself bro – watching the chick get mauled by a dog and I just sit there and watch, nah.”
Senior Sergeant Damion Rangitutia said Pairama was a hero. Pairama said: “Oh, I was helping someone in need. I don’t feel like a hero.”
He owns a pitbull himself, Blacky, and a cat, Paws, who doesn’t give Blacky an inch. He was shocked how the Mastiff turned on its long-time owner, who is now recovering.
Police have thanked Pairama for his actions and said the woman would like to meet her rescuer. “All good mate, sweet as,” Pairama said.
Maraki gave him special treatment after his courageous act, too.
“How I see it is, anyone else, I don’t know what they’d do,” Maraki said.
“He just jumped that fence with a vicious as mutt like that. You weren’t even scared hon, all he thought about was that woman.”