Riot Squad


Here’s the Rugby World Cup story you won’t read in the MSM.

Mix the cocktail of Kiwi booze culture and the UK-type football behaviour that happens when different sporting tribes come together in high spirits to watch a game and what do you get?

So far for the Rugby World Cup 2011, you get excellent behaviour in some cases better than your average Friday and Saturday night on the town.

After every game up and down the country, police have been reporting few if any arrests and good drinking behaviour around the town.

Media have been ignoring it because it’s not news i.e. no riots, no massive arrest toll, no brutal bashings.

The media is desperate for that riot.

TVNZ’s One News reported after last Saturday’s Eden Park post-match dining and drinking around nearby Kingsland:

When the masses departed Kingsland to take their seats, the street was left with an apocalyptic scene of debris and discarded bottles for cleaners to deal with.

That’s apocalyptic as in  ”foreboding imminent disaster or final doom as in Revelations.”

FFS. Talk to the bar people in Kingsland and they’ll tell you the happy crowd spilled off the narrow footpaths into the street but no one got hurt or out of control. Restaurants will tell you most, hoping for the predicted RWC boom, were shocked to have to close by 9pm the other Friday because of no customers so made the most of being able to pay the extra staff they had brought on during the cup by being flat out on Saturday. They coped and so did the patrons even if they did spill onto the footpaths were drinking is banned.

I drove through a deserted Kingsland very early the next morning and it was so clean you would not have known anyone had visited it the night before.

The real story for the media is that Kiwis, not always known for controlling their booze, and tourists have been not filling the police cells but just getting into the spirit of the RWC distraction.

Last weekend, media gave the impresion police were kept busy in Auckland keeping drunk irish supports in check.

In fact in the main reported incident is one I witnessed and photographed below. Police did poke their head into the Wellesley St Irish bar when people spilled onto the footpath and were breaking the street liquor bar,

They had a quiet word and everyone took it calmly and in good spirits.

Even some Aussies were drinking at the same tables and there were no punchups.

6500 people watched the Irish game at Party Central without any major problems. 12 people were evicted from Eden Park but there were only 3 arrests for minor offences.

People drinking inside The Cloud last Saturday night

Put aside the transport fail on Opening Night.

Media reporting the Opening night problems in Auckland failed to report the good news aspect of the night. Despite 200,000 people again there were no riots.

In fact Police, not always known for restraint in their language said in a largely unreported statement:

Auckland Police say they are pleased with the way Policing of last nights opening events of Rugby World Cup 2011 has gone.
Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham says Police arrested 64 people in the city between 5pm Friday and 7am Saturday - mainly for disorder and drunkenness.  Police made only one arrest and evicted 14 from Eden Park venue for low-level offences.

“This number of arrests is comparable to a very busy Friday night in the city, and indicates that overall people in the city for the event were generally well behaved.

As in Kingsland, people in Queen St  from that 200,000 Downtown horde on Opening Night  had spilled over to the streets to create a  non- designated shared space between people and vehicles but there were no issues. People managed and respected and accommodated each other.

The crowd spilled into Queen St and mingled with vehicles


People were in good spirits but everyone - people & cars -looked after each other

Now pick any of the RWC matches in any city . The story from the police has been the same according to the Police official post- match reports. Let’s take a sample.

Police in Nelson are delighted with the behaviour of fans at tonight’s rugby match between Italy and Russia.  Operation Commander Inspector Steve Caldwell said people heeded the requests to park away from the grounds and walk to the venue.

“There were no issues with traffic congestion and access to the ground. The crowd was extremely well behaved and enjoyed the hospitality that Nelson offered. Rugby was the winner,” Inspector Caldwell said.  A 47 year man was arrested for a disorder related offence towards the end of the game. Two people were ejected from the ground during the game, one for disorder and one for being intoxicated.

Waikato Police commend post-match revellers for good behaviour in Hamilton . They came, they partied and, for the most part they behaved, is the message from Waikato Police winding up from overnight celebrations following the All Black victory in Hamilton.

Officer in charge of the Waikato’s Rugby World Cup operation, Inspector John Kelly, said far greater numbers of revellers filled City bars following last night’s game than is normal for a Friday night. Despite this arrest numbers were on a par with a normal weekend and we put this down to a highly visible Police presence and the positive attitude of the crowd.

“The majority of arrests were for minor disorder and breaches of the liquor ban and while we are very happy with the crowd’s behaviour we are concerned with the number of people, particularly young woman, who under the influence of alcohol left themselves in potentially compromising situations.” ”We had an arrest free match, good behaviour in town and by ensuring we moderate our drinking and plan ahead how we’re getting to and from events I’m sure that success will continue.”

 Wellington Police are again pleased with the crowd behavior at Wellington’s second RWC pool game at the Westpac Stadium this evening, where South Africa played Fiji.  Wellington Police District RWC operation commander Inspector Simon Perry says the large crowd was well behaved and had a good time. ”There were no arrests and only two evictions.”

Bay of Plenty Police say the Police operation to support Rotorua’s Rugby World Cup game this afternoon went smoothly and they are pleased with crowd behaviour.  The officer in charge of the Bay of Plenty Police RWC operation, Inspector Scott Fraser, says today’s crowd were in good spirits, and Police didn’t attend any incidents inside or outside the Stadium.

“So far, our crowds have entered into the festive spirit of Rugby World Cup and they should be congratulated on their behaviour. We hope that continues both for Rotorua’s third and final game, and for other events around the country.”

New Plymouth Police say that showers didn’t dampen the good spirits of fans attending the Ireland v USA game in New Plymouth and Police are praising them for their good behaviour.  All fans at the game showed impeccable respect during a minute’s silence to the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.  No-one was arrested at the game, traffic flowed well with no congestion and St John treated only one person who was feeling unwell.

Bay of Plenty Police have congratulated the crowd on their behaviour at Rotorua International Stadium for the Fiji versus Namibia Rugby World Cup 2011 game this afternoon.  The officer in charge of the Bay of Plenty Police RWC operation, Inspector Scott Fraser, says the crowd were in good spirits and well-behaved.  Inspector Fraser says a male was arrested outside the Stadium earlier this afternoon for possession of cannabis. There were no other arrests.

“From a Police point of view, this afternoon’s operation to support the game has run very smoothly.  “There were no major issues on the roads before or after the game and the crowd behaviour was excellent.

Dunedin Police have praised the behaviour of the large crowd who attended the Argentina versus England match held at Otago Stadium in Dunedin this evening.  ”It’s pleasing to see that people enjoyed the occasion of the first major international to be held in the city’s new stadium,” said Dunedin Area Commander, Inspector Dave Campbell.  Police only attended to a few relatively minor incidents at the stadium.

There were five arrests - two for intoxication, one each for disorderly behaviour and trespass, and one further offence for pitch invasion under the Major Events Management Act.  St John treated 13 people at the game for minor medical matters.

So well done everyone.  But not well done media which seems to be desperate for the apocalyptic event and will make it up if it doesn’t occur.

Which makes me cynically wonder if Kingsland  resembled the final days of the planet, how will ONE News actually describe a real apocalyptic end-of-the-world finale if it happens on their watch. with a “Final ONE News live special” as the world crumbles and burns.

I hope Kingsland’s New North Rd will be closed on Saturday night and a party atmosphere permitted. Remember attempts to allow a street party of sorts was not permitted by the Council and RWC authorities either because of the dreaded street drinking ban or the fact police and emergency services insist the street must be kept open. Or was it the draconian RWC rules that insist any RWC event can not be allowed unless you are a paid official sponsor?

They should have learnt the lesson from other recent matches around Kingsland that people just want to have fun. And now they should be trusted to be able to do so.

Over at Kingsland's bars, a quiet drink just before the game


* I have just spotted Russell Brown is discussing media and the RWC including such matters on his Media 7 tomorrow. It’s on TVNZ7 at 9.05pm. Give the media heaps, Russell.





  1. Ben says:

    Agreed, you will not see the news in the blog post above mentioned in MSM.
    Last Saturday night was awesome, the Aussies (until post match - poor buggers) and the Irish were in very good spirits and extremely well behaved. Was a great pleasure working that night and I had to smile that the Maori Wardens gave a flash haka to 600 Irish post match on the Britomart Platform.

    Was a good night all round yet the MSM fail again - and will probably stir things up as things get very busy this Saturday.

  2. Owen Thompson says:

    Showing my age!

    Riot Squad by The Newmatics.

  3. Jeremy says:

    TVone love a good sub story they can ride and they dramatise everything. With tvone they always seem to have to be reporting live somewhere as well and some of the locations they report from are so random or desperate. I also find they like to edit footage more and add their own commentary.


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