We’ve heard that a family of Swiss Tourists were attacked in Kaitaia, Northland in January, as far as we know the story never made it to the national press but it was reported by The Northland Age.
Local moteliers Dave and Jay Galbraith have spoken publicly a number of times about the disorderly anti-social behaviour that regularly takes place on Kaitaia’s North Road and they were stunned at the way the tourists were treated. Sadly it is yet another story about tourists not being forewarned about the possible dangers they face. According to The Northland Age:
“A Swiss couple and their daughter arrived, intending to stay for four nights, but left after one, complaining that their hosts should have warned them that the town’s streets were too dangerous to walk – at seven o’clock on a summer’s evening.
The family left the motel on their first evening in Kaitaia to walk into town, looking for a meal.
They had only travelled a hundred metres or so, however, when they were subjected to what Jay described as racist abuse from a group of young people, male and female, who were drinking on the other side of the road.
They quickened their pace but were struck by a flying bottle and other missiles. Fearing for their safety, they sought refuge at the Beachcomber Restaurant.
Clearly upset, they but did not stay for a meal, the proprietor driving them back to the motel.
They spent the night in their unit, doors and windows locked, and checked out next morning.
Jay said she and Dave had tried to undo some of the damage, but all the visitors wanted to do after that experience was leave.
“I wonder if these yoyos realise the damage they do to Kaitaia employment and tourism…”
“Yoyos” that’s putting it a bit lightly, and what of the damage done to people to people and property? What about pro-active policing?
This and other incidents have been serious enough for the editor of the paper to write a lengthy article on the problems in Kaitaia, condemning mob rule in the township. He says it’s time the streets were “cleaned up”:
“This is not the first time that something approaching mob rule has been experienced in Kaitaia. Some years ago an English visitor, a tank commander no less, abandoned a walk through the town’s streets on a summer’s evening after encountering numbers of young people whose demeanour was so threatening as to raise questions, in his mind at least, regarding his safety.
It is time the streets were cleaned up. “
In another report a reader contacted the paper to say she had been the subject of racial abuse from teenagers in Matthews Road whilst driving her two young grandchildren along the road. A gang of youths had battered her car and hurled insults. She reported the incident to the police but had heard nothing back:
“The woman added that she had thought Kaitaia was a “pretty threatening place” when she arrived in the town 13 years ago, but had now reached the point where she was encouraging her daughter and son-in-law to take their family and leave.
“I’m not doing that just because of this incident, but because I don’t think this is going to be a good place to live,” she said.
The change that she believed had taken place over the last 13 years, she added, was that the racist attitudes that had probably always existed were now being openly displayed.”
Perhaps her family are well advised to leave. In November elderly retired teacher and grandmother Barbara Catherine Julian was battered to death in her Kaitaia home by an intruder, she’d earlier told her niece she’d been thinking about leaving the town because people in the area were frightening her. A 17 year old youth has been charged with her murder.
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