Four people have been arrested after a mass brawl in South Auckland involving about 80 students using knives, chairs and pieces of wood which spilled into a KFC restaurant.

Terrified staff locked themselves inside businesses on Massey Rd in Mangere while others watched on in horror as students received injuries bad enough to draw blood.

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with disorderly behaviour, possession of a knife and possession of an offensive weapon.

Another 17-year-old boy has been charged with disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest. Two 15-year-old boys have been referred to youth aid.

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A Mangere East KFC employee, who did not wish to be named, said about 30 school students burst into the restaurant.

"It was a really big fight between school students. They came down to our store and started punching a guy. They just started smashing him.

She said the students were boys and girls, and looked to be under 16. Some appeared to be injured, and were bleeding and covering their faces with their hands.

Staff at Mangere East Library said they saw a large group of people gathered outside the KFC before the fighting broke out.

They locked the doors of the library once they saw the commotion in order to protect customers.

Counties Manukau west area commander inspector Jason Hewett assured the public that police were doing everything they could to keep the community safe after the brawl.

Police also hoped to speak to up to 80 witnesses in relation to the incident and appealed to anyone who had footage of the fight.

He said the incident was serious, and it was "by the grace of God" that no one was seriously harmed.

"This was appalling behaviour, especially given the presence of young children and elderly nearby.

"We want to assure members of the Mangere community that we will be increasing patrols in the area, including around local schools."

Locals are describing the brawl as a one-off incident, but one which has a negative impact on the area's reputation.

A community leader in South Auckland says fights like yesterday afternoon's mass brawl will continue until the council starts giving the funding to create facilities in the area.

Mangere East community centre director Roger Fowler criticised the "dearth" of facilities like skate parks, swimming pools or drop in centres in the area, saying tensions were bound to bubble over when kids were bored.

"It's all very well telling young kids to go home but if that home is a damp and cramped garage, which it often is, all of these things add up to an environment which is not conducive to good social behavior."

Mangere, an already huge community which was rapidly growing, did not appear to be a priority for the council, Fowler said.

"We've got a big push on now for a decent modern community centre with a gymnasium, child care, classrooms, and other facilities.

"These sorts of incidences highlight the need for these facilities which are sorely lacking and have been for some time."

The local board was supportive of providing such facilities, he said, but lacked the funding from Auckland Council.

Auckland Council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton refuted Fowler's claims, saying there are a "significant" number of "facilities, projects and opportunities" for youth in Mangere.

Kimpton said the suburb's arts centre, pool and library were popular with young people.
"There are also several parks in the area, a number of which have facilities for youth."