14 Jan 2019

Lower Hutt mayor calls for 'harmony' after gang brawl

6:17 pm on 14 January 2019

Police are promising a round the clock presence in the Lower Hutt suburb of Stokes Valley until they establish who was involved in a brawl at a local park yesterday.

No caption

Delaney Park in Lower Hutt, the scene of the brawl. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

Locals reported fighting involving patched gang members - believed to be Mongrel Mob and Black Power carrying machetes and guns - at Delaney Park.

Hutt Valley acting area commander James Mckay said police would speak with local gang members about what went on.

"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."

Mr Mckay was assuring the public they were not in danger and could continue to use the park.

It is the third gang-related incident in Stokes Valley in recent months.

Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace said it was unacceptable behaviour and must stop.

"We do need to live in harmony. Surely they must understand this is not a good situation for the local community - and a lot of the children up that area are children from the gang members."

Graeme Cole manages a local pub a couple of minutes' walk from the park.

He said some people cancelled their dinner bookings after the brawl last night - and admitted it was not a safe place to walk around in the evenings.

"Especially up in the upper parts of the valley... young people making their mark, I think that's all it is."

Mandi Lanceley proudly lives and works in Stokes Valley.

She hoped the latest gang incident won't tarnish her suburb's reputation.

"A lot of what we hear about Stokes Valley is very negative publicity - and there's lots of really good stuff that goes on in our community."

Police were urging the public to come forward if they saw anything yesterday and would look at CCTV footage to try identify the culprits.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs