NZ: Students take stand against school brawls with peaceful protest

New Zaeland/ 28 July 2020/ Source/

By Josephine Franks

Fed up with groups from different schools fighting, students in Auckland have organised a march against inter-school violence.

In June, a student was stabbed in the stomach and another left with a concussion after a brawl involving up to 30 teens outside De La Salle College.

It wasn’t the first fight to break out between rival Auckland schools: late last year police had to break up 100 brawling teenagers in south Auckland and a fight between a massive group at Mission Bay left one student hospitalised.

On Wednesday afternoon, about 800 people are expected to join a march in a “display of unity” against violence. The march will start at 4pm at Murphy Park in Ōtāhuhu.

The students marching on Wednesday want to tackle the stereotypes about Auckland schools and raise awareness about how to prevent inter-school violence.

They will also be taking a stand against bullying and online harassment. New Zealand’s bullying rate is the second-highest in the OECD, with one-third of principals witnessing it at least weekly.

Students from 15 schools have worked together to organise the march. Among them is 18-year-old Theresa Viane, a student at McAuley High School in Ōtāhuhu.

She said the organisers decided to do something to show unity after seeing school rivalries playing out online and in real life.

“We always are shown videos and news about students fighting or rivalries between schools but why does this occur?

“We need more projects and groups that specialise in actively reaching out to students about this issue.”

Arizona Leger, who has been supporting the organising students, said the march would be a “visualisation of what it means to be unified”.

Most of the time when different schools come into the same spaces, they’re there to compete, she said. By contrast, the march would be a display of unity.

De La Salle head boy, 18-year-old Toma Laumalili, said the marchers were “standing for peace amongst schools”.

The peaceful protest was an alcohol-free, drug-free and violence-free zone, organisers said.


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