13 Jul 2013

Students barred from being in 'unsafe' town centre alone

3:05 pm on 13 July 2013

A school has banned its students from walking around Kaitaia without adult protection, saying the Far North town is unsafe.

Nine girls from Awanui's Te Rangi-a-niwa-niwa School were surrounded and attacked by a drunken mob of teens last week on Kaitaia's main street.

The school is now insisting parents escort students to appointments in Kaitaia; that netball teams travel there in the school van; and that walking to MacDonald's after sport is out. They want a stronger police presence after school hours.

The school's chair of trustees, Laverne King, says a parents' street patrol that started on Friday evening may improve public safety - but it is not a long-term answer.

"What we think, as a whanau, is that there is probably not enough of a police presence after hours. We shouldn't really have to do these patrols but if our community is unsafe and we can't rely on the police to be there in the numbers that's needed, what are we going to do."

Ms King says there will be a rally in Kaitaia next week in a bid to reclaim the town for the community.