Hundreds of people joined a candlelight vigil in a Paraparaumu carpark on Friday night for two young Kapiti men who suffered violent deaths.
The community gathering at Kapiti Lights followed a call by district councillor K Gurunathan to honour those who died in separate fights outside the two bars in the complex, to support their families and to reflect in silence on the best way forward.
Sean Strongman-Lintern, 20, died of a stab wound outside Monteiths Junction Bar a week ago and five weeks earlier, 17-year-old Izak Millanta died after a confrontation outside Retro Bar. Men have appeared in court charged with their killings.
Police have upped their patrols in the area since the deaths and four new closed-circuit cameras have been installed in the carpark along with better lighting.
Kapiti Independent News reported that police, led by Kapiti Mana Inspector John Price, were out in force on Friday night, with police officers stationed around the bars.
Mr Gurunathan told the gathering of almost 300 people there were many reasons behind the violence and he wanted the vigil to be a time of silent reflection.
Mayor Jenny Rowan said huge efforts were under way to make Kapiti safer as the level of violence in the community had become unacceptable.
"I humbly ask you all, friends and family,and friends of these young ones, to be calm and considered and to think about tomorrow. We must not lose any more young people in this district in this way."
She said earlier there were moves under way to establish Maori wardens in Kapiti and last week the council brought together nine social and youth agencies who would meet weekly over the next two months to respond to immediate concerns and look at longer-term strategies and actions for at-risk young people.
An independent expert had been commissioned to undertake a safety audit of Kapiti Lights looking at the design, management, activities and use of technology from a crime prevention perspective.
The Retro Bar, which closes at 3am, will have its late-night licence reviewed at a Licensing Authority hearing next month. Police have indicated they will seek cancellation or postponement of the licence.Monteiths Junction Bar, which usually closes around 12.30am, has dropped plans to extend its hours.
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