Havelock North is unique. Because of its style, its layout, its climate, its people and its history, the Village attracts visitors from all over the country.
Nestled at the foot of Te Mata Peak, surrounded by orchards and vineyards, the lifestyle is particularly appealing. Its establishment dates back to 1858. Shopping is attractive and interesting to Visitors both young and old. A high standard of schooling is provided at primary, intermediate and secondary levels with three secondary schools, one intermediate and three primary schools servicing not just the Village, but District and beyond.
Herein lies part of the problem the Village is currently experiencing.
The Village is regarded in the Hawke’s Bay as the place TO BE on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. With bars now able to remain open till 4a.m., young people from age 13 to 20+ are now congregating in the Village centre, with numbers swelling to around 600 prior to closing time. Bars try to control the outflow at 3a.m. by staggering their release of patrons. Once on the streets some youths can be goaded by young partially intoxicated early teenagers into carrying out acts of violence, vandalism and vulgar activities.
Noise is sometimes unbearable and, to the elderly living close to the Village centres, terrifying to the point where an elderly resident has had a heart attack and is now moving into a Hastings rest home. Others have moved to the rear of their units because of noise and fear. Bottles and cans are thrown over the walls onto roofs and into gardens. Owners don’t feel safe.
Village motelliers inform me that visitors/tourists who have in the past enjoyed the Village as a regular destination have advised they won’t return because of the noise etc. Graffiti, breaking of neon signs and fencing, and other property damage is a major concern to the point where at least one Motelier has said “he has had enough”.
Young people also travel to the Village from Napier, Taradale, Hastings, as well as local young folk. The mix can sometimes create issues.
So where to now?
With the Village’s reputation being sullied, tourism and trade threatened, property and people damaged and abused, it is time these issues were addressed. We have, however, a duty to our 16+ year-olds to allow them to relax and enjoy their Saturday nights, just in the same way that they have a duty to respect people and property and take pride in what has been built up for them over the past 100 plus years. It will be their Village in years to come!
How do we resolve this issue?
To my mind …
- The number of Police in our area for Saturday night patrol needs to be increased and hourly patrols instigated.
- The Village Community patrol does a wonderful Job on weekends, but does not have a Strong Police presence to fall back on.
- Closing times brought back from 4a.m. to 1 or 2 a.m. at the latest.
The problem is concerning and will be addressed.
These are my thoughts at the present Time.