Russell was once known as the Hellhole of the Pacific, but the title is now owned by Paihia, according to residents and business owners.

The fed up Bay of Islanders say gratuitous violence and anti-social behaviour is ruining their lives and threatening the "golden goose" of tourism.

They say they endure ongoing intimidation and threatening of other people, shouting and calling out in foul, obscene language, fighting, the destruction of public and private property, loud music from car stereos, dancing and drinking on the main road, urinating and vomiting on the beachfront, grass and roads, the throwing of rubbish, including glass bottles and cans, on to roads, the beach and grass verges, smashed bottles on the beach and roads.

 Evidence that even in broad daylight the liquor ban isn't working.
Evidence that even in broad daylight the liquor ban isn't working.

That, one said, is what locals and visitors wake up to after a disrupted night, seeing "our precious beach and sea having been defiled by smashed bottles, shot glasses, cans, blood, vomit, used condoms, and branches broken off our pohutukawa trees".


Read more: Nineteen jobs rescued after Paihia restaurant's abrupt closure
Paihia residents take on the thugs in Kings Road

A group of residents (The Foreshore — For Sure Letter Writers) have appealed to the Prime Minister, the ministers of police and tourism, Northland MP Matt King, the mayor and Far North District Council, the Far North police area commander, the Maori police responsiveness manager, the Paihia Business Association, Focus Paihia and the alcohol licensing manager.

Police Minister Stuart Nash provided what a spokesman described as a speedy, polite response, noting the Kerikeri police had increased its presence and was trying hard, given its limited resources.

King, whose "cowards punch" private member's bill was last week drawn in the parliamentary ballot, had been supportive from the start, mayor John Carter had been "amazing, with a real desire to help, inclusive and follows up on everything".

Local charitable community trust, Focus Paihia, was also supportive.

The trust had been told drug dealing was rife along the waterfront, and going unchecked, while such was the level of violence that some victims had needed intensive care.

A mass exodus from one bar, at 1.15am on June 9, had resulted in up to 50 people, some brandishing knives, brawling on Marsden Rd — and that was in winter, the "less volatile" season.

"Please take the time to read our accompanying individual letters," the group wrote.


"We are fed up with the fights, the drunks, the wheelies, the broken glass, the litter, pre-loading and post loading in cars, the mega-stereos, the vomit, the slamming car doors, the screaming, the urination on our properties, the burglaries, the vandalism and the missiles.

"It can happen all year round, day and night, directly under CCTV cameras and in a liquor ban area. It's a beach we like to share, not a war zone.

"When visitors are harrassed and intimidated for cigarettes, liquor and cash, the golden goose of tourism is at risk ... online reviews are already presenting a very negative view of the area.

"Paihia owes its survival to tourism, and this is being placed in real jeopardy by the current violence and lawlessness.

The situation in Paihia has continued for years. When the police station was moved to Kerikeri, residents were assured of a continued police presence.

"This has not happened, and the results are obvious.

"The only action that will stop this unlawful and unacceptable behaviour is if we have a greater police presence in Paihia between 10pm and 4am."