A small group of Paihia residents, the Foreshore For Sure Letter Writers, is working hard to put an end to the violence that has plagued their town, specifically in Kings Rd.

"It has gone on for too long," spokesman Don Mandeno said, reaching the point where violently assaulting innocent people, generally tourists, had become a sport.

His group's immediate goals were to raise funds, from within Paihia and via grants, for a professional security patrol to be trialled for six months starting on September 30 (although given progress so far that might not be achievable), improvement of the existing security camera system and the installation of more cameras.

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Meanwhile, a man whose brother and a friend were violently assaulted from behind, without warning or provocation, in the early hours of August 12 has appealed directly to mayor John Carter to take action.

As his brother, who was unconscious for more than 30 minutes, lay on the ground, "lifeless and defenceless", he was kicked in the face with such force that his nose was torn open. Bones were broken, and he was left almost unrecognisable.

Kings Road backpacker area is a haven for violence.
Kings Road backpacker area is a haven for violence.

"Meanwhile, a group of aggressive thugs stood nearby, trying to instigate further violence for their sport, undeterred by the presence of a lone police officer. Cowardly attacks have become their go-to Saturday night entertainment," he added.

"Bystanders who assisted assumed they were dealing with a dead body. On any other occasion, that could easily have been the case.

"We are incredibly fortunate ... survived this attack, but are devastated to know his life has been altered immeasurably."

Not yet able to return to work, he had spent several nights in hospital suffering a major infection, recurring headaches, fatigue and debilitating pain. He had undergone numerous scans and had his face reconstructed (twice). Potentially massive injuries to his brain would not be known for years to come, and he was unlikely ever to play rugby again.

"Unfortunately, this gruesome scene is not a one-off example, but has played out countless times in Paihia in recent years. Unchecked, this type of violent behaviour will continue to become habituated in this community. This should be of great concern for the future prosperity of Paihia, the Bay of Islands and the Far North as a destination for visitors," the victim's brother continued.

"Tourists researching the Far North now find countless online reviews and news articles from different incidents which read so similarly, it's almost as though they have been cut and pasted. Given the rate at which these assaults keep happening, it's only a matter of time before we are all asking what could have been done to save a life.


"How does this keep happening? Locals appear to know Kings Rd is a dangerous place after dark and should be avoided — so why is it such a mystery to those who are expected to help keep our communities safe?

"Why isn't more being done to prevent this from happening? Limited resources? An ounce of prevention could have saved countless hours invested by ambulance staff, police officers, hospital staff, nurses and surgeons, who are left to pick up the pieces from this one incident."

Mr Mandeno said Paihia needed no persuading that the violence was unacceptable, and could have hugely damaging long-term ramifications. He had hope that things might change, however, and soon.

"It seems at long last that the council, the politicians, the police and the community are all on board," he said. "This really does have to stop, and while patrols and cameras might not be the total answer they will be a very good start. What we need is support from the people who can help make them happen."