Support strong after rock attack

By Jonathan Dine

1 comment
Flaxmere councillor Henare O'Keefe organised a community barbecue to try to stop the rock attacks on the Havelock North home of Violet Wheeler, who is pictured with her supporters. Photo / Paul Taylor
Flaxmere councillor Henare O'Keefe organised a community barbecue to try to stop the rock attacks on the Havelock North home of Violet Wheeler, who is pictured with her supporters. Photo / Paul Taylor

A community has rallied to support an elderly resident living as a "prisoner in her own home".

Havelock North's Violet Wheeler, 75, has been terrorised for several weeks by large rocks thrown at her home during all hours of the night.

Flaxmere councillor Henare O'Keefe decided enough was enough and organised a community barbecue outside her Te Mata Rd home yesterday morning.

His roving barbecue, known as Tunutunu, makes appearances on streets where residents report issues with crime or unrest.

More than a dozen concerned neighbours, councillors, friends, families and even an ex-con shared a sausage and discussed ways to put an end to the rock raids.

A neighbourhood watch will be formed and new security measures put in place.

Mr O'Keefe said some of the neighbours had been living on the street for 20 years and had never met. "If anything came from today it's that they are now communicating."

Mr O'Keefe was joined by fellow Hastings councillors Sandra Hazlehurst, Wayne Bradshaw and Adrienne Pierce.

"It was fantastic to see them there. Violet has a lot of support."

Mr O'Keefe said New Zealanders had "hearts that tick as loudly as Big Ben".

"We need to sustain this. She is effectively a prisoner in her own home."

Ms Wheeler was overwhelmed by the support.

"I never thought it would cause such a stir and I've had so many people representing me."

She showed people the rocks that had rained down on her roof.

Though she was not feeling any safer or sleeping any better, it helped to know people cared. In another attack, on Good Friday, the biggest rock yet was hurled into Ms Wheeler's back yard.

"It's starting to bring a nasty side out of me," she said.

The council has been approached to help end the barrage.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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