Nearly 300 people lit candles and lanterns in an impressive vigil for peace at Kāpiti Lights, Paraparaumu, last night — just metres from the areas where two young men were brutally killed in Friday night brawls recently.
Police led by Kapiti Mana Inspector John Price were out in force, with police officers stationed around each of the two local bars and the car park where young troublemakers have gathered in the past.
It was an impressive community response to a call by KCDC Councillor K Gurunathan (Guru) for a candlelit vigil to honour those who died, to support their families, and to reflect in silence on the best way forward.
Just a week earlier, and only a few metres away, Paraparaumu man Sean Strongman-Lintern (20) was knifed to death outside the Monteith’s Junction Bar (just to the right of the photo) soon after midnight.
And only five weeks earlier,another Paraparaumu young man, Izak Millanta(17), was beaten to death in a frenzied attack after running from an area near the Retro Bar to a car park near the KFC in Coastlands.
In his opening speech, Councillor Gurunathan said there were ‘many reasons’ behind the violence which led to the two deaths but he didn’t want to dwell on those matters at the vigil — he wanted it to be a time of silence for reflection.
Then Mayor Jenny Rowan congratulated Guru for organising the community vigil and assured the gathering that huge efforts are underway to make Kāpiti ‘a safer place for everyone.’
She said the Police would be ‘with us and among us now much more over the next six weeks.’ And she pointed out to the Kāpiti Independent a new closed-circuit tv camera which has been put in place over the past week to scan a large area of the car park at Kāpiti Lights.
Mayor Rowan said the level of violence in the community had become unacceptable.She said:”I humbly ask you all, friends and family,and friends of these young ones, to be calm and considered and to think about tomorrow.
“She declared: “We must not lose any more young people in this District in this way!”
The Mayor also said the response from her call to the community to help had been overwhelming.
“You are a caring, concerned,community,” she said.
After the Mayor and Cr Gurunathan had spoken, a friend of one of the grieving families asked the large crowd to join in some Buddhist prayers in honour of Sean Strongman-Lintern and Izak Millanta.
The final prayer concludes:
‘May this love, light and peace be dedicated into a positive rebirth for Sean and Isaac.’
(Note: The Retro Bar, scene of many late-night problems in the past, will have the license allowing it to remain open to 3am reviewed at a Licensing Authority hearing next month.
Monteith’s Junction Bar, which usually closes around 12.30 am, says it does not intend to extend its hours)