Police still investigating Easter brawl in Mapua

BY ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 13:04 16/04/2010

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A violent Good Friday brawl involving up to 30 young people left a 22-year-old Mapua man seriously bruised and concussed, and has prompted Mapua residents to call for a stronger police presence.

Acting Senior Sergeant Fiona Hutching, of Motueka, said a 21-year-old Mapua man would appear in the Nelson District Court on April 20 charged with fighting in a public place following the "big brawl" on Aranui Rd that both Nelson and Motueka police responded to at 2.30am on April 2.

A 22-year-old Mapua man was admitted to hospital with serious injuries after the fight. He suffered facial bruising and was knocked out several times in a prolonged attack, Ms Hutching said. Police were still looking for the person who assaulted him.

Ms Hutching said police received five 111 calls from concerned Aranui Rd residents about 2.30am. The brawl was finished by the time Ms Hutching got to Mapua but police had to deal with people "milling around" looking for a fight, she said.

"There was broken glass and residents were still out sweeping the road an hour or so later."

No arrests were made on the spot because "it would have been very difficult short of having a paddy wagon".

Easter trading laws meant that bars such as The Tap Ale House, which is close to where the brawl broke out, had to shut at midnight.

A staff member said he saw broken glass and blood on the road the next morning but "it had nothing to do with us, we closed at 12pm".

Ms Hutching would not say why the fight broke out but said about six car-loads of Richmond youth were involved.

"We have got an idea about what happened but there are still people that need to be interviewed and charged," she said.

A young man from Mapua, who wished to remain anonymous, said the fight broke out over a borrowed bike and became a "Mapua versus Richmond" confrontation.

He said the man who owned up to borrowing the bike had his car rolled onto its roof.

A resident who lives nearby said he heard "a lot of screaming and yelling" but stayed in bed.

Another nearby resident called the police after hearing loud and aggressive "unnecessary language" and thumping sounds.

He said the fight was a confrontation between antagonistic locals and outsiders, fuelled by a "totally unnecessary testosterone overload".

Mapua needed a stronger police presence, he said.

Ms Hutching said Richmond police were dealing with the incident and hoped to make further arrests. She said a liquor licensing investigation was also under way.

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- The Nelson Mail

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