Safety fears grow after knife attack at party

Up to 20 police officers were needed to close down an out of control party in Wanganui on Saturday that attracted a crowd of around 400 people after it was advertised on social media.

Senior Sergeant Shayne Wainhouse said one person was assaulted by a party-goer armed with a knife.

The injured person was treated in hospital and discharged.

Mr Wainhouse said there had been three big, similar parties in the past four weeks.

He had heard they had charged entry prices from $5 to $8.

The parties involved the same people, with similar numbers attending.

"Policing these events is problematic. The organisers tend to conceal the party location and advise party-goers a day or two prior to it being held via text and social media sites," he said

Last week police inquiries established that the owner of one property where a party was held was in the dark over the plans.

"When we spoke to the owner of that address they were unaware of the extent of what had been planned and put a stop to it," Mr Wainhouse said.

Police are investigating whether charges can be laid under the Sale of Liquor Act.

Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority chief executive Nancy Tuaine feared someone would be seriously hurt unless something was done about the parties.

She was told a group of people went to the latest party later in the evening with the intention of causing havoc and some of her nieces and nephews were among those violently assaulted.

Mr Wainhouse said the late arrivals had connections with the Black Power gang.

Ms Tuaine guessed that some young people did not complain to police because they were afraid of retaliation from the gang.

Party-goers paid a fee to get in and ages ranged from 13 to 30. The over-18s could take their own alcohol to the party and there were also no age restrictions or ID checks.

Ms Tuaine said the parties seemed to go well apart from underage drinking, but "when people want to make trouble, that's the place to go to".

She was concerned at the level of violence at the latest party and even more concerned that people were allowed to organise so-called private functions and admit paying guests. "I would encourage parents to view the photos [of the party, now out on social media] and understand where their youths are going and to make sure they have a safety plan."

She said no event organiser could keep 400 visitors, mainly young people, safe.

By Laurel Stowell of the Wanganui Chronicle

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