25 Nov 2023

'Please do not take matters into your own hands' - five injured at Avondale Santa parade

3:52 pm on 25 November 2023
A Burger Fuel car collided with a brass band at the Avondale Santa parade.

Ambulance staff tend to an injured person after a Burger Fuel car swerved into a crowd at the Avondale Santa Parade. Photo: NZME / Michael Burgess

Five people were injured at the Avondale Christmas Parade today after a Burger Fuel-branded car hit two pedestrians, with three occupants of the vehicle - including two children - then assaulted by people in the crowd.

Auckland City District Commander Inspector Jacqui Whittaker said the vehicle, which was part of the parade, experienced a "mechanical malfunction" at about 11.45am and rolled slowly into two pedestrians standing in front of the stage.

The two pedestrians received moderate to serious injuries and were taken to hospital.

A Whau Local Board member said she heard the MC of the Avondale Christmas parade yelling stop shortly before the car hit pedestrians.

Local Board member Catherine Farmer was at the parade and described hearing the parade's MC yelling 'stop' and telling people to call an ambulance.

"The MC started yelling out 'stop, stop, go back, stop!' and then I heard him say 'we've got to get Fire and Emergency here, we've got to get ambulances,'" she said.

"And then there was just a general melee."

Whittaker said a small group of people took it upon themselves to retaliate.

"Three people - including two children - were pulled from the vehicle and assaulted."

They received minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

A NZME reporter at the scene said the crowd were jumping on the bonnet and smashing their fists on it and that Māori wardens had to hold them back.

Whittaker said police were working to identify those responsible for the assault, and were working closely with the parade organisers, and the driver of the vehicle and the company.

"We understand this was an unsettling event, where multiple people have become injured, and not the end to the parade which was wanted."

Whittaker said police wanted to send a clear message: "Please do not take matters into your own hands."

"As this incident demonstrates, something may not be what it seems to you at first, and others stepping in can result in unnecessary injuries and further distress."

A spokesperson for Hata Hone St John said: "Hato Hone St John were notified of a motor vehicle incident in Avondale at 11:43 and responded three ambulances, one rapid response unit, and one manager to the scene."

The Santa parade, the first in the area, was set down to run from 11am to 2pm.