Saturday, September 5, 2009

Opotiki Tourist Rape - Investigations Continue

Investigations into the alleged rape of a 22 year old Asian tourist in Opotiki are continuing, the young woman was attacked during a home invasion in the small town on Monday at 10pm. See Opokiti tourist rape

Two teenagers aged 16 and 17 were arrested and re-appeared in court yesterday, 4 Sept.

The young woman is said to be working with police investigators and receiving support before continuing her travels.

In June an Opotiki man was charged with raping a male French hitchhiker at gunpoint.

Opotiki also hit the headlines in December of last year when two teenage girls were charged with the murder of elderly man John Rowe, a retired school teacher. His badly beaten body was found at his home in November 2008. The girls, were aged 15 and 17 at the time of their initial court hearing.

Their trial is scheduled for 16 November.

Another School Attack, This Time In Feilding

This is thought to be the fourth such attack this week in what is turning out to be an alarming increase in school violence and disorder in New Zealand. Feilding is approximately 20 km north of Palmerston North :

View Larger Map

By Jonathon Howe- The Manawatu Standard 4 Sept
"Feilding High School principal Roger Menzies has applauded the actions of two students who staved off an attack by a group of outsiders on a fellow pupil.

A 13-year-old boy who was not a Feilding High pupil confronted a Year 9 Feilding High School boy outside the school about 3.20pm on Wednesday.

The 13-year-old turned up at the school with a group of older males, some believed to be in their 20s.The year 9 student was assaulted but two Feilding High boys stepped in to stop the attack.

"Basically there was an assault of a student and our kids went to support him, which was pretty good, I think," Mr Menzies said."It's good to see students helping other kids. Our kids did well to defuse it."

No-one was seriously injured in the after-school brawl, despite one of the outsiders brandishing a tyre iron. Mr Menzies said the reason for the attack was "beyond him" but the Manawatu Standard understands the incident was related to a similar fight at the school on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Menzies said he had given the two boys "a pat on the back" for their efforts.

Staff on duty outside the school grounds before and after school would be keeping an eye out for further trouble, he said. A 17-year-old girl, who saw the fight but did not wish to be named, said the "outsiders" appeared to be a group of skinheads.

The fight took place at the North St bus stops but she said the buses were unable to pull in because the crowd watching the fight was so dense.

"As soon as teachers showed up, it started dispersing. Then police arrived and people were being pulled away."

The 13-year-old assailant has been spoken to by police and will be referred to Youth Aid services. Senior Sergeant Nigel Allan said a 23-year-old Feilding man connected to the incident had been arrested and charged with the possession of an offensive weapon.

He will appear in the Feilding District Court on September 16.

Mr Allan said about 150 students were milling around during the fight but only four or five were involved in it.

"It seems to be an isolated incident and we've had some discussions with the school."
For details on the other attacks see:
Another schoolgirl brawl in Wellington Mall
Bishop Viard College: Second attack in a school this week
Armed teenagers storm Lynfield College and attack student

See also:
Stabbing brings calls for school security
Practical solutions needed to address violence in schools - Says PPTA president
School violence blamed on corporal punishment removal
Racial sensitivity may have caused classroom stabbing
Ryotaro Wright attacked at Forest View High School
Mairehau School goes into lock down as shots fired
NZ schools put children on path to crime
Gang fight at a Wellington school - Hutt Valley High School

For today's posts click here

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Questions Surround DOC Poison Drops"

"New Zealand enjoys the status of clean and green – but what do we do to achieve that?

As a country we lead the world in a series of rejuvenation projects like the weka, the kakapo and the Kiwi. But to achieve this the Department of Conservation has to first clear out areas and continue to eradicate pests like the rat, the stoat and the possum.

Poisons like 1080, cyanide and brodifacoum are used to control these pests.

But lately a large number of animals around the Hauraki Gulf have been found dead – eight dolphins and 150 penguins have been reported washed up on beaches. This follows three major dumps of brodifacoum – a rat poison on Rangitoto and Motutapu islands. (see Sea life deaths continue in Hauraki Gulf)

DOC say it is nothing more than coincidence. Members of the public are not so sure......"
The article then links to a video of Campbell Live's investigation into the sea life deaths in the Hauraki Gulf. The video of Campbell's report may be found here: TV3 and here: Scoop

Read about the complete ecocidal devastation a drop of 1080 poison caused in the Marlborough Sounds and how one evironmental group used traditional trapping methods to control possums and talked DoC out of using 1080 to bombard land in Nydia Bay:
“There was just silence.....It was as if the bush had gone into a state of shock. The dawn chorus should have been in full swing but there wasn’t even a fly buzzing. We all saw 1080 pellets in the streams and dead animals on the tracks; the only noises we could hear were trees creaking in the wind. Weka disappeared from the bay that day and it was eight years before they returned.”
See: Youtube videos
Read comments responding to the Campbell Live article from the NZ public who are outraged over this form of ecocide here: 'Comments'. These are some of them:
02 Sep 2009 10:37p.m.
Good on you TV3 for starting to get little bits of this news out there. One thing that needs to be covered is that not only DOC and other agencies are poisoning our environment with large scale dropping of such toxins but also they are doing much smaller, more quieter "campaigns" all over our "100% pure" country.
I live in a small rural valley in Upper Hutt which has recently had Brodificaum used here, and every day I am finding dead birds on my property. I have lived here 12 years and never seen so many dead birds. Other neighbours have also commented on the loss of fish lfe in our streams. Maybe not a big thing for just one little insignificant valley but how many of these valleys make up our 100% pure image right across our country?

If people do not want to get passionate about the wild, domestic and farmed animals being killed, or the threat to humans then consider what our international tourism, meat, diary, wild game markets would think of this. The economic impact could be dire. It makes "100% pure" a sick joke! Please TV3 keep covering what is going on here and please can we see some more in depth investigation."
01 Sep 2009 9:16p.m.
Just whoo do DOC answer to. Seems only to them selves. The Minister of Conservation is no where to be seen when it comes to explaining the use of 140 tones of brodifacom on the doorstep of 1.2M New Zealanders. I am really pleased I do not live in Auckland, but I fear no place in NZ is safe from teh effects of DOC and AHBs mass poison of New Zealand.
It makes me ashamed to be a New Zealander that we have authorities so clearly hell bent on hoodwinking us."

Mr T
01 Sep 2009 6:52p.m.
" has a detailed discussion on this issue. is where the concerned public can support Sarah Silverstar with the $1800 to test the penguins' livers for brodificoum poisoning.
I have chosen to live on Waiheke Island so my family has daily access to this beautiful coastline. The silence from ARC, DOC and ACC has been deafening. Well done everybody for speaking up!!!!

Shooting In Palmerston North

Reports are being made that there's been a shooting in Heretaunga street, Palmerston North at around 3.45pm today.

At this stage there is nothing to suggest the shooting is gang related but Palmerston North is the town where the reporting of any current gang activity is a rather touchy subject. (See Palmerston North's Wikipedia entry censored)

Update: TVNZ later reported that a man was found dead with a gunshot wound at an apartment block in Heretaunga Street, a firearm lying next to him. The deceased man was said to have been in an argument with another man earlier in the day and that man was helping police with their enquiries.

Three people were injured in the town in a shooting on 7 August in the suburb of Highbury and there was a drive-by shooting on 9 June on Grey Street which locals feared could be the first salvos of a gang war. It certainly caused more than a few jitters because three days later the Armed Offenders Squad was called out in response to a sighting of two men with a gun in Parata Street.

Is a gang war about to break out in the town? time will tell.

For today's posts click here

Lynfield College News Video

Social networking sites to blame?

Mother is angry that the youths were able to get onto the school grounds.

See also: Toran Henry and Hutt Valley High School

For today's posts click here

Another Schoolgirl Brawl - In Wellington Mall

"There has been another ugly incident involving two groups of school students in Wellington.
Police say they attended an incident at Westfield mall in Lower Hutt yesterday afternoon because of reports of fighting between two groups of girls. One witness described seeing some of the students from rival schools in the Hutt Valley having blood on their school uniforms.
Police made no arrests as the 30 to 40 girls involved in the fight ran off as officers arrived."
No word yet about the schools that were involved.
Update: One report on alleged that the schools involved were Hutt Valley High School and Wainuiomata High School. This has yet to be confirmed officially.
Residents of Wainuiomata were recently banned from a hotel in Palmerston North for 'bad behaviour' and HVHS was involved in a stoush in February after which 9 people were arrested for unlawful assembly.
See also: "Schools may leave pupils to brawl - Teachers who feel unsafe breaking up fights may leave brawling pupils to it, as schools try to cope with a surge in incidents involving weapons."
For today's posts click here

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Violence In New Zealand's Schools: Delay In Acting Upon The Behaviour Summit

In March of this year a Taumata Whanonga - 'Behaviour Summit' was held at Te Papa in Wellington to discuss student behaviour in schools.

The conference needed to focus on bullying and intolerance because a major international report released in December last year ranked New Zealand second worst (to Tunisia) among 35 countries for bullying in primary schools with rates more than 50 percent above the international average. In New Zealand 33% of children answered yes to three or more questions on bullying compared to an international average of 18%.

At the time (December 08) Auckland paediatrician and former Children's Commissioner Ian Hassall said the high rates of bullying reflected a "punitive culture".

Inquiries into school bullying were already underway by the Children's Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission and briefing papers had been issued which assured that a Behaviour Summit had been scheduled for March 2009.

The Summit went ahead as scheduled and was organised by the New Zealand Principals Federation, Secondary Principals Association, New Zealand Education Institute, Post Primary Teachers Association, New Zealand School Trustees Association, Early Childhood Council, NZEI Principals Council, NZ Secondary Principals Council and the Ministry of Education. It also involved principals, teachers, unions, government agencies, school boards, parents, police, early childhood services and community organisations.
The event concentrated on the 4-7% of students (from all ethinicities and of both genders) whose dysfuctional behaviour presented huge challenges for society. At the end of the two days it was agreed that no-one seemed to be in charge of the issues dysfunctional children presented for families, schools and the community. Despite all the calls for coherent approaches to these issues nothing had ever been achieved.
The Office of the Children's Commissioner went ahead and launched its 'Child Safety Inquiry' at the summit but the Minister "noted that the meeting was not about bullying". The delegates were given a copy of the document but it was considered to be "a distraction from the more systemic issues the behaviour summit was set up to address" and was therefore probably unread by many of the attendees.

At the end of the summit a number of priorities for action were agreed on:
  • Ownership of the issue and improve collaboration between families, communities, government agencies and schools.
  • Early intervention – working with children in the early stages of life and in the first stages of things going wrong in their lives.
  • Initial teacher education and sustained teacher professional development to provide the skills required to manage extreme behaviour.
  • Stronger emphasis on getting it right for Maori students.
  • More support for successful evidence based programmes such as Incredible Years.
  • Share the evidence about what works.
Earlier this month the Minister of Education - Ann Tolley announced that the Taumata’s cross-sector planning group had handed her a draft Behaviour and Learning Action plan and that she was discussing it with them. She said "The potential impact is great - for kids, families, teachers and our communities. The Plan is based on better use of current funding and re-aligns current funding and services to evidence of what works."

So, it's now five months after the summit and the plan has still to get any further than the discussion stage.

Meanwhile acts of school violence have been continuing, culminating in two school invasions this week - the ultimate disruptive classroom behaviour. What a pity that the issue of bullying - both in schools and in the wider community - seemed to have been dismissed during the summit. A golden opportunity has slipped away and the issue seems to be destined to be skirted around ad nasuem.

Bullying and intolerance certainly seems to have been major factors in both of the school invasions and the assault on a Thai student from Avondale College and the Korean student who was attacked at a school bus stop and every teacher's nightmare - to be stabbed by one of their own students which is what happened to David Warren at Avondale College. It can only be a matter of time before there is another fatality at a school, the last being the death of 66 year old Lois Dear in her classroom at Strathmore primary school

See also:"a sad record - school fights and brawls"

For today's posts click here

Opotiki Tourist Rape - Two Teenagers Arrested

Two teenagers aged 16 and 17 have been arrested in connection with the alleged rape of an Asian woman in Opotiki on Monday night. See post: Female tourist raped in Opotiki

They are due to appear in Whakatane District Court on Friday and police are set to ask for bail to be refused.

For today's posts click here

"Everyday 'Race Hate' Rife in Christchurch"

By JO McKENZIE-McLEAN - The Press, 3 September 2009

"An attack on a Thai girl, who was beaten up by fellow pupils on a bus, is part of everyday "race hate" in Christchurch, a homestay parent says.
Paul Stratford said the Avonside Girls' High School pupil arrived at his house distressed and covered in blood after being beaten up on the bus after school on Monday.
The assault comes after a South Korean pupil had a knife held to his throat and was kicked to the ground in an unprovoked attack at a Christchurch bus stop last week.
In the latest assault, the year 13 pupil was beaten by two younger girls in Avonside uniforms as she left the bus. She had never spoken to the pair, Stratford said.
"They were punching her in the head as she was getting off the bus," he said.
"They were telling her to 'f... off back to her own country'. She is horribly upset."
Stratford said the bus driver reported the incident to the school, which notified the police.
Avonside principal Theresa Shaughnessy last night confirmed there was an incident involving three pupils, but there were "no racial overtones".
She said the incident was being dealt with "very seriously" and declined to comment further.
The victim was a girlfriend of one of Stratford's two homestay pupils, both of whom had been beaten up.
One had had a tooth knocked out when he was punched in the face in June at The Palms Shopping Centre, Stratford said.
The attacks had left the pupils feeling vulnerable and too scared to leave the house by themselves, he said.
"I know a lot of Asian girls who don't like catching the bus because they often get bullied."
Stratford, a New Zealander married to a Thai woman, with whom he has two young children, said his wife was regularly the victim of racial abuse.
"It's not just students. My wife has been spat at while she's out walking the pram," he said.
"I don't think many people are aware that these race-hate incidents and violent attacks are everyday occurrences," he said.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said race-hate crimes were a problem not just in Christchurch but around the country and were occurring more often than was reported to police.
"It's becoming more and more urgent for police to gather data of racial abuse," he said. "The Government does agree but has said it's not a priority."
People needed to report their experience and schools needed a culture of tolerance and respect, he said."
See other posts about NZ's racism problem here: Racism
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Bishop Viard College: Second Attack In A School This Week

The New Zealand Herald is this morning reporting another violent invasion of a school - Bishop Viard School in Porirua.

It's too early to say whether this is a copycat of Tuesday's invasion of Lynfield College, or whether it's a manifestation of the rising violence in New Zealand's schools. It comes just weeks after a massive brawl at an Auckland Grammar School v. Kelston Boys rugby match in which up to to 100 students and drunken spectators took part.

In March 50 year old teacher David Warren, a teacher, was stabbed in the back by a student whilst teaching a class at at Avondale College, Auckland and in July 2006 66 year old Lois Dear, a teacher at Strathmore School was sexually assaulted and murdered in her classroom.

Bishop Viard School describes itself as "an integrated co-educational Catholic school providing a Christian learning environment for Forms 1-7 (Year 7 - 13) students and encompasses the parishes of Elsdon, Plimmerton, Porirua, Tawa and Titahi Bay, Viard reflects the community view that its young people should be educated in a particular and special environment."

Thursday Sep 03, 2009
By Alanah May Eriksen with Newstalk ZB, From
"Police are investigating another incident at a secondary school.
About 20 boys, believed to be from Mana College in Porirua, allegedly went to Bishop Viard College at lunch time and threatened students on the rugby field. It is understood they were armed with a baseball bat.
The incident follows two attacks at two other secondary schools this week.
A student was attacked while he was attending class at Lynfield College in west Auckland and a Thai home stay student was beaten up on a bus in Christchurch by fellow Avonside Girls High School students.
The Lynfield College student who led a group of armed teenagers to a classroom where they beat up a 14-year-old boy has been suspended from school."
Read more of the report here: Police investigate another incident at secondary school
For today's posts click here

"Let's LAy Down Law On Riverboarding"

27 August - By Frank Marvin in ''
"A Queenstown whitewater expert is calling on maritime cops to regulate riverboarding.

Stefan Crawford, 41, was speaking after last week’s harrowing trial of Mad Dog River Boarding and owner Brad McLeod after the Kawarau River death of English tourist Emily Jordan in April, 2008.

Crawford says Maritime New Zealand polices rafting and jetboating but not riverboarding – and they should. “I’d like to see MNZ become more actively involved with riverboarding and sledging to work towards some similar regulations to benefit the industry.”

Other than prosecuting health and safety breaches – like Mad Dog’s – MNZ has a hands-off approach to riverboarding, whose only sanction is a voluntary industry code...."

More of the article appears: here

For more about the death of Emily Jordan and Mad Dog River Boarding who were said to have been operating in a "regulatory vacuum" please see pages: Emily Jordan

For today's posts click here

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rafting Death On The Shotover River, 2001

Although the death of Yoly Nim Yan Chi in a rafting accident on a reasonably clam stretch of the Shotover River in 2001 was judged to be an accident there do seem to have been some similarities with her death and that of of Emily Jordan - with regards to hazard identification and how difficult it is to free someone trapped in white water:

Australian Canoeing, Tuesday, 14 May 2002
"No blame has been attributed to the rafting companies or the raft guide for the death of a University of Otago medical student during a raft trip on the Shotover River last year. The Maritime Safety Authority recently released its report into the death of Yoly Nim Yan Chi (19) during a joint Queenstown Rafting/Challenge Rafting trip on August 28. It found there was no procedural fault by the companies or the guide (Full report available for download).

Queenstown, NZ -- No blame has been attributed to the rafting companies or the raft guide for the death of a University of Otago medical student during a raft trip on the Shotover River last year.

The NZ Maritime Safety Authority recently released its report into the death of Yoly Nim Yan Chi (19) during a joint Queenstown Rafting/Challenge Rafting trip on August 28. It found there was no procedural fault by the companies or the guide.

Miss Chi and five friends were on a raft which attempted to enter the Toilet Rapid. The raft was not close enough to the right bank and hit a large boulder.

The raft bounced off the rock and then rose up against a wave rolling off the boulder. Miss Chi fell out of the raft as the other five passengers lost their balance, which led to the raft dipping into the water. Four rafters were "flushed" from the raft as water rushed into it and pressure wrapped the raft around the rock.

Miss Chi and another rafter were wedged between the raft and the rock. He was freed by the guide after about 30 seconds but Miss Chi was facing upstream, between the raft and boulder and arched backwards, with only her hands above the water's surface and unable to be freed.

The trip leader ordered the raft to be cut to free Miss Chi and radioed for a helicopter and medical assistance.

Attempts were made to rig lines to pull the raft off Miss Chi, including one by a helicopter, but the water pressure made it impossible. It took rescuers more than two hours to free her body. The rock was destroyed by explosives two days later.

A similar "wrap" had occurred a few days earlier on the same rock. It had taken 40 minutes to free the raft. At the time, recommendations were made to the companies' guides about entering the rapid correctly.

The authority found the "tragic accident" was caused by a combination of the failure to stick to the true right hand side of the river before entering the rapid; the initial contact with the boulder which caused Miss Chi to fall into the river; the tilting of the raft after the group members lost their balance, which allowed water to enter the raft's interior and wrap against the rock.

The authority will arrange a workshop with rafting representatives to discuss issues arising from the accident, including the means used for hazard identification, how the wrapping of rafts can be minimised and whether procedures for freeing them can be determined. A date is yet to be set.

When contacted yesterday, Challenge Rafting managing director Mark Quickfall said the companies supported the move to hold the workshop.

The accident had been a tragedy for all involved, he said and added he hoped the report would provide some answers for Miss Chi's family.

"This tragedy deeply affected all of our staff. We understand fully the loss felt by her family, which will no doubt be rekindled at this time. Our sympathy is with them," he said."
It does make one question:
1. whether the previous "wrap" a few days earlier should've made the company reconsider using that stretch of river under similar conditions, and
2. whether the people in the raft were experienced/capable enough to keep it away from the right hand side of the river.

Other accidents on the Shotover River have included 11 people who were injured when their Shotover jet collided with a rock wall.

For today's posts click here

Lynfield College Attack - Police Deal With Teens
"Three teenagers have been referred to Police Youth Services after a group of youths stormed an Auckland high school classroom and attacked a pupil.
A further five have been reported to Police Youth Services following the attack on Monday at Lynfield College.
One of the attackers reportedly yelled out the name of an Afghani youth gang during the attack, which was possibly sparked by comments on the social networking website Bebo.
Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said police were called about 1pm on Monday to the attack on a student, who did not suffer any serious injuries but required medical treatment for cuts and bruises.
" Police located the group -- all aged between 14 and 16 -- off the school grounds," she said.
"Three have since been referred to Police Youth Services for aggravated assault and for unlawfully being on a property, with a view to holding family group conferences. Five have been reported to Youth Services in relation to the incident.""
Read the rest of the report here
Other blog posts about this incident : Armed teenagers storm Lynfield College
For today's posts click here

Auckland Antiques Store Robbed At Gunpoint

TVNZ is breaking a story about an Auckland antiques store being robbed at gunpoint:

"Auckland police are hunting robbers who held-up an antiques store at gunpoint.

At least two men wearing balaclavas and carrying handguns stole around $10,000 worth of jewellery from a store on Dominion Road.

It is believed the robbers then escaped in a stolen courier van.

A police helicopter has been searching the area."

A few days ago the Kiwibank on Dominion Road and King Edward Street was also robbed at around noon on 28 August. And in June a Kiwibank (Mt Roskill) and ASB Bank (Balmoral) both on the long Dominion Road were held up.

View Larger Map

For other armed robberies in NZ this year see: Armed robberies in NZ

OECD Report Critical of NZ Child Welfare Spending

In contrast to a Save the Children report which placed NZ as the sixth best country in the world to be a mother, recent data has been released by the OECD that would suggest that children in NZ are more disadvantaged than in many other key countries in the developed world. This blog has already highlighted the issue of over 230,000 (22%) children forced to live in poverty in New Zealand.

The report may be found here: OECD (2009), Doing Better for Children

Source: 2 September
"The New Zealand government is spending considerably less on child welfare than other OECD countries , a new report says. The report, Doing Better for Children, was the first time the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had reported on child well-being within its 30 member countries.

It identified New Zealand's biggest shortfall as its limited spending on young children (aged five and under), which was less than half the OECD average.

New Zealand was also struggling in terms of health, with the highest youth suicide rate in the OECD and an above-average child mortality rate. (see our 'Stats' page and graph below - click to enlarge)

"Children lived in poor material conditions, average family incomes were low by OECD standards and child poverty rates were high.

While children had high rates of educational achievement, there were large gaps between top and bottom performers.

Immunisation rates for measles were the second-worst in the OECD, and for whooping cough, the fifth-worst. (see links at the bottom of this post)

The report said the government should spend considerably more on younger, disadvantaged children and make sure high rates of spending on older children met the needs of the disadvantaged.

France, Germany, Britain and Belgium spent the most on children while Switzerland, Ireland, Australia and Italy spent the least, the Associated Press reported. Despite spending more than the OECD average on children, the United States and Britain both had high teenage pregnancy rates. (NZ has the world's third highest teenage pregnancy and child maltreatment death rates)

The US was among the worst countries in terms of infant mortality and child poverty and Britain's underage drinking rates were the worst in the OECD.

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria acknowledged that the global financial downturn had squeezed public budgets around the world, Agence France Presse reported. "But any short-term savings on spending on children's education and health would have major long-term costs for society," he warned."
See also:
NZers warned of measles epidemic - July 09
Parents are being warned to immunise children as a measles epidemic threatens Auckland schools - Aug 09
Whooping cough epidemic possible - March 09
Whooping cough epidemic in NZ babies - Aug 09

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Armed Teenagers Storm Lynfield College And Attack Student
"A group of teenagers has stormed West Auckland's Lynfield College and attacked a pupil, apparently after a war of words on the social networking website Bebo.
Witnesses say one of the attackers yelled out the name of an Afghan youth gang during the attack yesterday afternoon, One News reported.
Principal Steve Bovaird said a group of teenagers – not from Lynfield – burst through the door and attacked the pupil in front of other students and their teacher.
The student was punched a number of times and possibly kicked as well but escaped serious injuries.
One of the group had a softball bat and the conflict may stem from harsh words exchanged on the social networking site Bebo.
New Zealand's Afghan community leader Siraj Salarzi said the incident was very disappointing.
The youth should do something better to give the community and the Afghan people a good name, he said.
Up to five of the teenagers involved are students at Mount Roskill Grammar but yesterday was a term holiday and they were not under the school's care.
Officials say the school is limited in how it can punish them."
But it's up to the police to take investigate and take action. How on earth can a group of kids storm a school, attack a pupil in a classroom and be allowed to get away with it? How long before a video of the attack makes its way onto YouTube (as the video of the 'best fight of 2009' at Lynfield did a few days ago - worryingly the teacher seems powerless to stop it)

- Watch more
This recent assault is bound to re-kindle debates over teen violence and school security and it has already drawn appalling racist comments from people, some of whom can't resist making remarks about the Taliban - see the thread on Yahoo News Boards - "Afghani youth gang attacks student": which has comments like this one. "Who wants these raaaaaagheads in New Zealand let them go back to crushing rocks in their homeland and mutulating women"

This incident has similarities to a brawl that broke out at Hutt Valley High School in February of this year, when a group of adults and young people suspected of belonging to the "Wax Assassins" (a youth gang from Wainuiomata) invaded the school to settle a score with one of its students. Immediately after the fight security at the school was beefed up.

The recent spike in school violence in New Zealand has perversely been attributed to a lack of corporal punishment in schools, rather than an issue which needs to be addressed by the community as a whole.

Female Tourist Raped In Opotiki

"A tourist has been subjected to what police describe as a very serious and alarmingly brazen sex attack in the Eastern Bay of Plenty town of Opotiki.

Two men forced their way into the 22-year-old's bedroom last night and both sexually violated her while other people were in the house. Police say the other occupants were not aware of what was happening.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen says staff are completing a forensic examination of the scene and are speaking to a number of residents in the area.

He says the brazen nature of the crime and its seriousness mean they want to find the attackers as quickly as possible."

Opotiki was also the scene of an alleged rape of a 24 year old male French tourist in May of this year. A 32-year-old man was arrested in Motu Road and charged with various offences including abduction, sexual violation, indecent assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

15 Year Old Member of YSK Street Gang To Recieve Adult Sentence


"Christchurch, Sept 1 NZPA - A 15-year-old ringleader in a vicious street bashing and robbery in Lincoln Road has been sent for sentencing in the adult court after admitting his offending in the Youth Court today.

He is heading for a lengthy prison term -- a sentence the Youth Court cannot impose.

Judge John Strettell declined jurisdiction for the youth, whose name remains suppressed because of Youth Court reporting restrictions. That suppression will be considered again at his District Court sentencing.

"Youth Court can offer you nothing in regard to rehabilitation," the judge said.

"Denunciation and protection of the public are highly relevant to the sentencing process and are best dealt with in the District Court."

The youth was a member of the YSK youth street gang which carried out of the mugging under the Lincoln Road overbridge at 2am on Sunday April 18, robbing youths aged 18 and 19 years who were walking home together.

At least one victim was knocked unconscious when they were attacked with lengths of wood. One had a broken jaw and both had bruises and cuts to the head and face needing stitches.

The police said YSK stood for Young Skuxx Klicxx, a youth gang with between 10 and 20 members.

A 17-year-old schoolboy visiting Christchurch from Tokoroa over the school holidays was the other ringleader of the incident.

Tuari Damyn Karipa-Rangi pleaded guilty in June and is due to be sentenced on Friday. He was the other youth brandishing the wood.

Youth advocate for the boy who admitted the aggravated robbery in court today, Elizabeth Bulger, said a plan had been formulated and agreed for him to be sent for a crown sentencing, but the date available was in December.

Judge Strettell said he would arrange for that to be brought forward, because the delay was too long for such a young offender.

He said it had been an unprovoked attack against two young people.

A prison term for the length likely to be imposed was not available in the Youth Court.

"There needs to be a clear message given that incidents of this type are not tolerated in Christchurch and that those who take part in and are ringleaders, and carry out violence of this type can expect little sympathy from the court.

"That applies to young people of your age as much as any others."

He said the youth's age would be taken into account at the sentencing.

He remanded the boy in custody for two weeks so that an earlier crown sentencing date could be set.

The boy received hugs and kisses from family members before he was led back to the cells."

It's highly likely that at least one of the victims was a tourist and probably wealthy. Some reports state that one of the men said that when he woke up his watch, wallet and passport were missing (the boys were later heard to boast about 'scoring a Rolex' ) however no details about the status or the nationality of the two men have ever been released to the public.

For other posts about gangs in New Zealand click here

Sea-life Deaths Continue in Hauraki Gulf - Spike In Dolphin Deaths

Despite Auckland's beaches being re-opened after the stand down on an alert over a deadly toxin that killed a number of dogs and made scores more sick, one scientist has been brave enough to voice her concerns about the continuing deaths of dophins in the Hauraki Gulf. (The beaches were coincidentally opened a few days ago....just in time for the official end of winter)

Despite her concerns the scientist was told by the Auckland Regional Council that an investigation into the dolphins deaths was "not a line of inquiry" it wanted to pursue:

"A spike in the number of dead dolphins in the Hauraki Gulf could point to a problem other than poisonous sea slugs - if only authorities would do the necessary tests, says a researcher.

Marine biologist Karen Stockin, who is responsible for autopsies on common dolphins that wash up around Auckland, wants authorities to investigate the deaths of eight otherwise seemingly healthy dolphins in the space of three weeks.

She said the deaths were probably not linked to dog deaths that occurred at about the same time, "but that does not mean we should not be concerned".

"The common dolphin is an important biological indicator and if something changes in their system that causes an increase in deaths, that is important."

Ms Stockin said that on average, one or two common dolphins would wash up around the coastline of New Zealand each month.

However, "eight independent deaths from one region [were reported] in just a three-week period", she said.

"Not a single [dolphin] was emaciated or malnourished. On the contrary, the animals examined were seemingly healthy prior to death."

Tissues tests had failed to explain why they died. "These were all mature, robust animals."

Ms Stockin, a Massey University scientist, is pushing for the dolphins' stomach contents to be tested.

She has kept samples from their stomachs and contacted the Auckland Regional Council - which has been leading the investigation into deaths of dogs and other marine life - to ask about testing them.

She was told it was "not a line of inquiry" the council wanted to pursue.....The council and other agencies ruled out a link between the dog and dolphin deaths without testing the dolphins' stomachs..... was up to the Department of Conservation to decide if the dolphins warranted further testing. A spokeswoman for the department did not return messages yesterday."

Testing should be carried out (outside of New Zealand if necessary) without any further delay for two main reasons:

  • To exclude any possibility that the pesticide recently dropped on Rangitoto and Motutipu Islands may have entered the food chain
  • To identify the cause as part of an assessment as to whether there is a risk to human health from swimming in or eating fish/shellfish from the region.
See also from
"Update 22/9/09: Pete [name supplied] who has been fishing the Hauraki Gulf for the last 35 years, and regularly fishes off Rangitoto, had this to say about the day of the first poison drops in June. (He was fishing on the rocks. Other fisherman were removed from the area, however he refused to leave):

"there were immense amounts of it [poison] going into the water - there was more going into the sea than the land! It was absolutely horrendous to see.... I have never seen anything like this in all my 35 years of fishing... It was coming in like hail (it stung!), in immense, immense amounts, it looked like every 100 m or so, there was a sack of it going in the water... my dear, what I saw you would not believe" He also expressed feelings that are best not printed here! however he did say, " they need their backsides kicked good and proper!!"

Pete and Paul, another fisherman I have spoken to expressed grave concerns about poison accumulating in the food chain. The fish caught in these areas are being sold at the market - even if people do not become ill from this, they will likely be accumulating poison in their liver.

It does make us wonder if anyone is analysing fish and marine mammals for pesticide residues and why independent environment organisations aren't arranging for their own testing.

For more on the background to this story see: Auckland beaches' poison

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Gang Related Shooting In Hawkes Bay

"lock your f***ing doors, get your kids, get everybody inside"
"A Hawkes Bay man told last night of his desperate bid to stop his best mate from getting involved in an armed confrontation that left a neighbour dead and the victim's 8-year-old son injured....

Late last night, armed police arrested Wilson Apatu, 39, whom they had been hunting since the killing about 2.30pm in the settlement of Waikoau, near Tutira on the Napier-to-Wairoa road...."
The dead man was later named as Layden Thomas Rameka, 32 from Waikoau. His young son Zepplen-Solly Rameka was shot in the arm and is said to be in a comfortable condition in Hawke's Bay Hospital.
"An anonymous resident told Radio New Zealand he had spoken to Apatu minutes before the shooting.

"He got called [expletive] and he went 'bro, I can't handle this', I went `what are you on about?'. So he hung up the phone. "So I rung the people (the victim's neighbours) and warned them, says 'lock your f***ing doors, get your kids, get everybody inside' and they thought I was joking, they didn't heed my warning."

The resident said he held the victim's hand as he died.

It was reported that Mr Rameka was a patched Mongrel Mob member who had recently moved back to the area."
Apatu "wanted to go out in a hail of bullets"
"Apatu fled the scene in his own vehicle before crashing it.

Waikoau Road farmer Rex Bullock was outside his home when the car crashed and had expected its occupant to be dead.

"He flipped the car over...and squashed the roof, almost to the top of the seat," he told Radio New Zealand.

"When I went out to see if there was a dead body in it or not he was climbing out the other side, standing up [with] a cut on the top of his head."

Apatu then allegedly held up a couple at gunpoint and stole their vehicle. The couple were unharmed.

A source told NZPA that Apatu had had his firearms license revoked and had told people he wanted to "go out in a hail of bullets".

Apatu was arrested about 11.30pm at a relative's house in Clive, 10km south of Napier, after the relative contacted police"

Gang violence out of control in New Zealand

Mr Rameka's death is thought to be the 49th violent death in New Zealand this year and the 8th murder this month. Gang related violence is not an 'isolated incident' in many locations in New Zealand. For more on Hawke's Bay's gang problems see:
'Horror as gang man attacked' July 09
'Two men found guilty of gang pad attack' July 09
'Two bashed in gang turf clash' June 09
'Mayors play down gang problem after brawls' Feb 09
'Gang violence out of control in New Zealand - Police say only luck preventing multiple homicides' June 08
'Prison brawl adds to gang tensions' June 08

For more on this story see NZ Herald reports here and here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Zealand's Gang Problem

Gangs have been quite a problem in NZ for some time. Some towns acknowledge they have an issue and take steps to control gang activities - for example Wanganui recently banned the wearing of patches - "There are people in Wanganui who will say we don't have a gang problem, but the fact is there is a gang problem in Wanganui, just as there is in other towns and cities," says senior councillor Randhir Dahya."

On the other hand some towns and cities have tried so valiantly to rid themselves of the problem that they now have another problem with admitting gang involvement in crimes when it does occur. Gangs are now euphemistically called "rival groups".
Aug - The police association renewed calls for police to be armed following the second gang related shooting in seven years in the Palmerston North suburb of Highbury

July -'Horror as gang man attacked' -Diners looked on in horror as chairs were smashed on a man's head at a cafe outside Dannevirke.

July - 'Two men found guilty of gang pad attack ' A High Court jury found two men guilty of bashing a man at a Hastings gang pad.

June - A man is seriously injured in what appeared to be a gang related shooting in Foxton, Manawatu. Gang involved was 'The Nomads'

June - Tuari Damyn Karipa-Rangi pleads guilty in the robbery and assault of two men in Christchurch. The gang associated with the violent mugging is named as the YSK - Young Skuxx Klicxx at youth street gang with 10-20 members

June - 'Two bashed in gang turf clash' -Two patched Mongrel Mob members were set upon and beaten up by at least four rival gang members in the car park of the Tamatea Pak'nSave supermarket at 3.45 in the afternoon.

June - 'Prison brawl adds to gang tensions'

June - Gang violence out of control in New Zealand - In the Hawkes Bay region of the North Island, police say it is a matter of pure luck that they are not dealing with multiple murders after members of a local gang chapter tore apart a 21st birthday party, using knives, baseball bats and a machete.

June - Shots fired at house in James Streeet, Dannevirke as gang tensions rose

June - "When gang strife became warfare in the street" Sentencing was carried out for the day that open gang warfare and gunfire erupted on the street of Aranui

Feb - "Gang life is one of petty terrorism, violence and hatred" Said Wellington's mayor after the gang related drive-by shooting in which three year old Jhia Te Tua died in her parents' home. Gangs involved were Black Power and Mongrel Mob.

Feb - "The danger of serious youth violence is increasing as juvenile gangs take up weapons, Hastings' top police officer has warned. In a police crime report to be discussed by city leaders, Inspector Dean Clifford says the suburb of Flaxmere has between 13 and 15 gangs for just 10,300 residents."

Feb - Gang tension comes to Dunedin: a gang related drive-by shooting, Molotov cocktails thrown into houses, and last night there was a street brawl following a car accident on Andersons Bay Road.

Feb - "Mayors play down gang problem after brawls - Brawls in Wairoa and Gisborne including one between Black Power and Mongrel Mob members, resulted in arrests at the weekend but local mayors are defending their area, saying it does not have a gang problem"


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