Dad patrol forms after attack on 10 girls

By Mike Barrington


Fathers will patrol Kaitaia streets and a community hui will be held to make the town safer after 10 teenage girls were attacked by at least 20 drunk young people.

The young drunks, both male and female, emerged from Jaycee Park at the southern end of Commerce St, the main road through the town, as the girls from Te Rangi Aniwaniwa kura at Awanui were walking home at 7pm on Friday. The girls had been watching a movie at the Te Ahu cinema.

One of the schoolgirls said: "They ran out of the park and asked if we wanted to fight. I told them to leave us alone, we just want to go home."

She told a meeting of kura families on Tuesday that she was grabbed by the hair and her face was punched several times.

"I was crying. I just heard a lot of yelling and I couldn't see anything."

A man who tried to intervene was allegedly assaulted by boys in the group.

Police were called and a 16-year-old accused of assault has been referred to Youth Aid, while another was charged with disorderly behaviour. Two other teenagers were released on pre-charge warnings for disorderly behaviour.

A Te Rangi Aniwaniwa whanau "dads' support group" will patrol Kaitaia on Friday nights for a month to keep all young people safer.

Other steps parents have planned to curb violent behaviour include monitoring Facebook to shut down provocative viewpoints which could fuel retaliation.

The kura has also invited the public and other Far North schools to rally in the old Pak'n Save supermarket carpark in Commerce St at 3pm on July 19 for a "Reclaim the Town" march to Jaycee Park.

Kura board of trustees chair Laverne King said yesterday that after reclaiming the park for the community there would be a sausage sizzle and barbecue outside the skatepark.

The "totally unprovoked" attack had infuriated kura parents, who had called the community hui to get across the message all children had a right to walk around Kaitaia without fear of being intimidated or assaulted, she said.

There was no indication the attack had a racist basis and there had not been previous incidents of street fighting involving large numbers of the kura's 130 students.

Kura principal Joanne Murray said the girl who was punched had not needed medical attention but, like her companions, she had been traumatised by the violent encounter.

"We're trying to get victim support for them," Ms Murray said.

Parents among the 40 adults and students at the kura families' meeting on Tuesday told Kaitaia police iwi liaison officer Te Uri Reihana they believed officers could have done more to stop the attack.

Parents asked who was supplying alcohol to the young people and they wanted to know whether there would have to be a fatality before street violence was stopped.

Kaitaia police chief Senior Sergeant Jeff Ryan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Police also dealt with incidents involving about 30 drunk teenagers at Doubtless Bay on the weekend.

- Northern Advocate

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