Long-time residents don't want their South Auckland suburbs characterised as violent but there's no denying the recent string of shootings has left many fearful.

Some were defensive about their neighbourhood being pigeon-holed as a setting for violence but with six shootings in domestic streets south of Mount Wellington in 2019 - three fatal - many feel otherwise.

Manukau councillor Alf Filipaina announced at an Otara public meeting in May: "Our community, they're afraid."

Yet, on the ground, residents' apprehension often depended on how long they had lived in the area.

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The most recent shooting was on May 25 on Brady Rd, along Seaside Park, Otahuhu, where Samiuela Anania Tupou was fatally shot at 4.40am.

Hannah Sarkar had been renting a house at the opposite end of Brady Rd for just two months, with her fiance Peter Tutton and their 2-year-old son, Theodore.

Sarkar said the flowers, now bunched on the border of Seaside Park where the 21-year-old was killed, had tainted a playground she had gone to with Theodore to ride his bike daily.

"We haven't been back there since. I know we will venture over there at some point because it would be stupid not to but it's just getting over that hurdle, it's just a bit weird," Sarkar said.

"The flowers definitely highlight it a bit. I guess before you could almost try to drive by and forget it, but now it is very much there. It was pretty confronting having it right across the road."

Otahuhu residents Peter Tutton, 25, Hannah Sarkar, 23 and Theodore Tutton, 2, were unable to exit Brady Rd all day on May 25 after a fatal shooting.
Otahuhu residents Peter Tutton, 25, Hannah Sarkar, 23 and Theodore Tutton, 2, were unable to exit Brady Rd all day on May 25 after a fatal shooting.
Brady Rd, Otahuhu, a week after a man was fatally shot on May 25.
Brady Rd, Otahuhu, a week after a man was fatally shot on May 25.

On Piako St, Otara, a man sat on the townhouse stoop smoking, gazing out at the front yard where his brother, Faaifo 'Joe' Siaosi, was fatally shot on May 17.

Barely 30m away were a grouping corner shops, and Flat Bush primary school.

Ramona Pitone, 30, was picking up food from the Flat Bush Superette this week, and could relate to the situation on Piako St - with her home in Mangere also near the scene of a shooting on February 17.

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"It does [bother me]. Especially raising kids in a community where shootings happen all the time. And for me it's sad to see my children go through school and have to practise lockdowns just in case of shootings.

"My kids don't walk the streets at all, or walk home. To me it's just dangerous, whether it be shootings or anything really."

Filipaina said he had spoken to local Labour MP Jenny Salesa about obtaining funding to reintroduce youth workers to South Auckland streets.

"It worked well in 2007 in Mangere, Otara and Manurewa, because there were people from the area that worked with our youth, especially around certain gangs."

Filipaina said Salesa told him she would consult with her Government colleagues over the proposal, but Filipaina conceded, at this stage, "I don't think there is a Budget line for youth workers."

Yet in Mount Wellington, on the same block where Killer Beez president Josh Masters was shot and critically injured at a Harley-Davidson dealership on April 25, there was a more relaxed attitude among some locals.

Mount Wellington resident Harry Neilsen, 65, says the recent shooting at a local Harley-Davidson dealership hasn't stopped him shopping nearby.
Mount Wellington resident Harry Neilsen, 65, says the recent shooting at a local Harley-Davidson dealership hasn't stopped him shopping nearby.

Harry Neilsen, 65, has lived in Mount Wellington for "20 odd years" and said there hadn't been a shooting there "for a long time" prior to the Masters' hit.

When asked if it altered his behaviour Neilsen was emphatic.

"S*** no. Still go down the road, still go by Black Power headquarters, still do my shopping down there too," Neilsen said.

"Doesn't worry the old farts mate, you get used to it.

"It's just the way the gangs are with each other, it had nothing to do with us. Just put up with it don't you. If it happens, it happens. As long as it doesn't happen to me."

Police outside the Harley-Davidson centre on Mt Wellington Highway after a serious incident on April 26, 2019 Photo / Sam Sword
Police outside the Harley-Davidson centre on Mt Wellington Highway after a serious incident on April 26, 2019 Photo / Sam Sword
Otahuhu resident Katie Lee, 39, says she has lived all over Auckland and feels safest in the south due to the strong community presence.
Otahuhu resident Katie Lee, 39, says she has lived all over Auckland and feels safest in the south due to the strong community presence.

Inspector Wendy Spiller had been police area commander of Counties Manukau East for six years, and said the shootings in her region were "definitely more than last year".

Spiller said it was "a really tough question" to gauge how much of a negative impact the shootings had on the state of mind of residents, but the immediate reaction that officers encountered was clear.

"I think the underlying sense is fear. It doesn't matter what neighbourhood you live in, people don't want incidents involving firearms in their neighbourhood," Spiller said.

"When people see police they're always interested and wanting to know what's happening in their patch. So they'll ask what's happening, what's going on, that's the first couple of questions that come, and we will give them a brief overview.

"Obviously we're not going to give complete details. But our job is to keep the community safe, and to do that we need to cordon, contain, and often appeal [for information]."

Police at the scene of a fatal shooting in Piako St, Otara, Auckland on May 17, 2019. Photo / Sam Sword
Police at the scene of a fatal shooting in Piako St, Otara, Auckland on May 17, 2019. Photo / Sam Sword
Flat Bush primary school principal Banapa Avatea said the fatal shooting on Piako St, Otara, on May 17 was not
Flat Bush primary school principal Banapa Avatea said the fatal shooting on Piako St, Otara, on May 17 was not "reflective of our community" on the whole.

Flat Bush primary school principal Banapa Avatea said the Piako St shooting, metres from their front gate, makes people more aware of the potential for tragedy.

"It's not easy. Staff members at our school live in Otara. I went to the local community meeting the day after the shooting and 150 people turned up to provide voice. What I got from that is the community just want to see action," he said.

"But this morning there was a shooting in Mt Eden, and do people say Mt Eden is a rough place to live? No.

"Our children are resilient, our children are strong, our children reflect their community, and they dealt with the situation."

Lifelong Otara resident Ioane Autagavaia, 27, echoed this sentiment of faith in his neighbourhood.

"Nah, I still trust my kids to walk around here, I reckon it's still safe. It's just raw business. It's something you have to get used to."