24 May 2024

Dunedin stabbing victim 'full of energy and promise' - school principal

2:15 pm on 24 May 2024
A teenager was stabbed at a bus hub on Great King Street in Dunedin CBD on 23 May 2024. It is across the road from the police station.

The bus stop will be closed on 24 Monday 2024. Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

The violent death of a teenager in central Dunedin was not really a surprise, city councillor Marie Laufiso says.

A 16-year-old boy from Trinity Catholic College was attacked on Great King Street shortly after 3pm on Thursday. He was rushed to hospital but died later from his injuries.

Another teenager aged 13 has been arrested and today on Friday appeared in Youth Court charged with murder.

Laufiso said a blessing conducted by manawhenua was held at the bus hub on Friday.

She said the community was grieving.

"Everybody is heartbroken and there's no winners in this situation," she said.

"Because of past historic bus hub incidents there have been safety wardens - not police - employed by Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council. There's only so much they can do because they're security guards."

It was "not at all" surprising an incident of this kind had occurred, Laufiso said.

She said not enough resources were available for family or community organisations to work with young people to make sure they went to school or were properly fed.

"So I'm not surprised at all and I don't think anyone who has been in the community sector is at all surprised.

"This was just waiting to happen."

The bus stop where the teenager was fatally stabbed has seen trouble before, despite being near a police station.

"There have been some incidents there, and I know that the regional council had upped its security presence, both on buses and around the bus hub," Dunedin MP Rachel Brooking told Morning Report.

She had thought any violence there had decreased.

Brooking said it was "unbelievable ... and totally unexpected" especially since the attack happened at a bus stop right across the road from the police station.

The bus hub caters to students and youth from all over the city.

A teenager was stabbed at a bus hub on Great King Street in Dunedin CBD on 23 May 2024. It is across the road from the police station.

The troubled bus hub is across the road from the police station. Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

"We are devastated that a young life so full of energy and promise has ended in such a senseless and horrific way, and our hearts go out to his whānau," Trinity Catholic College principal Kate Nicholson said.

Dunedin mayor Jules Radich said the area had had "relatively minor trouble in the past", but after talking to students, councils had increased security patrols through a private company.

"It's an absolute tragedy and my heart goes out to the family of this young man," Radich told Morning Report.

"I was certainly surprised that we've had an incident such as this."

It was a busy street with a lot of buses and commuters, he said.

"I'm very concerned about this bus hub," he said, despite a recent report saying the situation had improved.

The Dunedin stabbing is just the latest in a run of violent incidents at bus and train stations in the past few months.

In the West Auckland suburb of New Lynn, two 13-year-olds were set upon by a group of up to 20 other teens at a bus station.

Similar attacks had been reported at the Henderson and Albany transport hubs, also in Auckland.