14 Jan 2019

Lower Hutt brawl: Residents scared after gang fight involving guns and machetes

12:33 pm on 14 January 2019

A Stokes Valley resident who witnessed yesterday's gang brawl says she no longer feels safe in the suburb.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Witnesses described seeing a brawl involving gang members with guns and machetes in the Lower Hutt suburb of Stokes Valley yesterday.

Police said it was believed a firearm was discharged during the altercation at Delaney Park around 3.45pm.

After the incident, officers searched houses on George Street. No arrests were made but police said today they were following positive lines of enquiry.

Police to instigate 24-hour patrols in the area

Police are ramping up their presence in the suburb after the brawl.

Hutt Valley acting area commander James Mckay said police officers would be doing regular patrols.

"Until we get to the bottom of what's gone on there will be day-to-day 24-hour patrols.

"It is to prevent a reoccurrence - aligned with our investigation team - to try and identify and hold those accountable," he said.

Police were conducting a scene examination of the park today, as well as more door-knocking, and Mr Mckay said they were committed to finding those responsible for the incident.

"We want the people of Stokes Valley to feel safe, and we want them to know that violence and the unlawful use of firearms will not be tolerated."

Police are appealing for information and CCTV camera coverage of the Delaney Park area.

Resident describes fear of daytime brawl

A local resident, who did not want to be named, said she heard loud bangs in Delaney Park and about 15 Mongrel Mob members yelling and being aggressive to another group of people.

She said those involved had come prepared for a fight.

"They were being really aggressive on both sides and we heard some bangs and then we just saw that a few of them had machetes."

Other witnesses on social media described seeing Black Power members at the scene.

This is the latest gang-related incident in the suburb in recent months.

In December a 39 year old man was shot and injured and in October a 21 year old man was shot.

The woman said she moved her young children to the suburb about eight months ago and would never have done so if she knew this kind of thing happened.

She said the incident was terrifying, "especially it happening in the middle of the day on a Sunday, in a park where everyone goes to play".

The woman said the situation with the gangs seemed to be getting worse and she did not think it was being addressed by the police or government.

"It's horrible to know that this kind of thing actually happens and to have it happen on our front doorstep."