Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Students rally to make Albert Park safer after Asian attacks

One victim was left with a deep cut under her eye after an attack in Albert Park. Photo / Supplied
One victim was left with a deep cut under her eye after an attack in Albert Park. Photo / Supplied

Another rally is scheduled following four violent robberies on Asian students in Auckland last month.

The Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA) is the latest organisation to announce an initiative following the attacks.

Its Reclaim our Park rally and safety audit will be held on Friday in Albert Park, the location where two of the university's female Chinese students were beaten and robbed.

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The 8.30pm attack was one of four on Asian students during the week to Easter Monday, with police still hunting the six offenders believed to be behind the Albert Park attack, after arresting 10 teens in relation to the other three incidents that happened on Queen St, Newmarket and Mt Albert.

AUSA President Will Matthews said Albert Park was well-known to be unsafe, and it was time that changed.

"We don't think it's acceptable anyone should be so at risk in public places," he said.

"While everyone has to exercise a degree of personal responsibility, we have the right to feel safe in Albert Park."

Mr Matthews will speak at the rally alongside MP Jacinda Ardern, Auckland Councillor Mike Lee, National Women's Rights officer Izzy O'Neill and a representative of the NZ Chinese Students' Association.

The safety audit component will involve attendees surveying the park on key safety issues including lighting, visibility and security presence.

"This is a community issue, and we want the community to be a part of creating the change," said Mr Matthews.

AUSA Women's Rights officers Aditi Gorasia and Diana Qiu said the exercise aimed to change the culture of safety around the university.

"We're getting this culture where victims of assault are being told that it's their fault, that they shouldn't be walking in Albert Park in the evening.

"That kind of victim blaming is the wrong approach -- we should be looking at addressing the root cause of the problem.

"People won't feel safer in Albert Park overnight. This is the beginning of a long process to create a culture change and make Auckland a safer place for all."

Last Friday, a panel discussion involving local MPs and members of the Chinese and students communities was held, as well as an awareness run that finished its course in the park.

- NZ Herald

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