22 Apr 2019

Aves Invasion event in Christchurch: Fewer arrests, vehicle seizures

8:03 am on 22 April 2019

At least 10 people have been arrested and 30 cars taken off the road in Christchurch during a third controversial car event known as the Aves Invasion, but a city councillor says the racers are starting to get the message to behave.

Police lights

Photo: 123RF

Two previous Aves Invasions events were criticised after participants threw bottles at police, generated scores of noise complaints, raced in the street and were issued with 177 tickets.

Late last week, police said extra officers would be out on the streets keeping an eye on the easter weekend event. Officers had also worked with the organisers in an attempt to keep behaviour legal and safe.

On Friday police were pleased with the results, with no arrests or tickets issued at the event that evening, although there were complaints from city residents about noise.

Canterbury Metro Superintendant Lane Todd said officers were "happy", and especially pleased with the "respectful behaviour shown around the area of Al Noor Mosque", one of the mosques targeted in the March Christchurch terrorism attacks.

However, on Saturday night, ten people taking part in the event were arrested for a range of offenses; 30 cars were taken off the road for being unsafe; three of the drivers were caught drink driving, and a number of tickets were issued.

Police did not comment on the disorder when approached by RNZ.

Christchurch city councillor Deon Swiggs lives about 100 metres from one of the main gathering spots for the event in the central city, and said he heard a lot less noise and cars taking part this weekend.

"At least this time it seems to be constrained, which is a relief for a lot of people, especially for the residents around the city."

It was likely the popularity of the December event had "got away on the organiser". And those participants still doing "stupid things" and getting arrested this weekend was "still not really good enough", but Mr Swiggs said more proactive work by different agencies and the organisers was the right approach.

"It's 5 percent that ruin it for everyone else, and I hope those 5 percent are seeing the full arm of the law."

Car enthusiast meetups "have been happening forever and a day", he said, and would continue to happen in Christchurch.

"Being a car enthusiast, that's a legitimate activity: if somebody wants to drive around in their car, it's something that people do and I don't think anyone really has an issue with that.

"What people have an issue with is when there's stupidity that comes with it, where it just goes out of control and people get disrupted through stupid and dangerous activity, and it's good that there hasn't been as much of that this time around, from what I've heard from police."

"People know that for this event the police are watching them, and if they do stupid stuff they're going to get pinged, so I hope the communication stays close with police."

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