The Annual Devonport Bullrush Ritual

Posted by on Nov 07, 2010 | 10 Comments

The police must have it down to a fine art by now.  Every Saturday on or near the 5th of November, the same game starts about 8pm, and gets played until about 1am. The routine is something like this;

ScreenHunter_43 Nov. 07 20.03

– Kids turn up at Cheltenham beach from about 4pm;

– They start texting their mates from all over the Shore and Greater Auckland telling them to get to Cheltenham;

– Kids wander aimlessly up the beach looking for the party;

– Kids wander aimlessly down the beach looking for the party;

– Once it gets dark, someone try to start a bonfire;

– Kids, now transformed into drunk louths, scour the beach looking for drift wood;

– Driftwood runs out;

– Bonfire starts to die;

– Louths scour neighbouring properties looking for clothes lines, dinghies or perhaps the council’s floating pontoon to re-kindle the bonfires;

– Louths start playing catch with empty beer bottles in Arawa ave;

– Residents get fed up and call the police;

– The police call in the police helicopter and riot police in an effort to disperse the crowd before it gets heavy (as per previous years);

– In a perverse version of Bullrush, the louths are herded up the beach and nicked as required, or dispersed up Vauxhall Rd or towards the golf course;

– Residents on Vauxhall Rd watch bemused as the police root out drunk louths quivering in their front gardens.

This year’s event was relatively tame compared to some years; despite an estimated 250 youths on the beach. At about 11.00pm police began a planned operation to disperse and scatter the large crowd. Police helicopter Eagle hovered overhead assisting police officers on the ground with disbursal directions.  Some bottles and fireworks were thrown at police but there were no injuries to officers. Fire Service attended to extinguish fires lit by the youths on the beach and nearby reserves.  Police quickly controlled the scene and the youths were disbursed. Most left the area without incident – There were four arrests for disorder related offences.

Martin at the Cheltenham dairy spent Sunday morning sweeping up broken glass on the footpath and the road around his dairy, but apparently things were relatively quiet at the Bath St end of the beach.

Nevertheless, a lot of valuable police time and resource was wasted on controlling a herd of kids whose Mums and Dads apparently didn’t know where they were.

The kids are clearly lacking in basic survival skills

The kids are clearly lacking in basic survival skills

The Speculator’s visit to the beach in the afternoon revealed little of note, apart from the remains of a somewhat pathetic attempt to start a bonfire with a freshly broken branch from a nearby Pohutukawa. If nothing else, we should be concerned that our kids are clearly deficient in basic survival skills.

So here’s a couple of radical ideas;

1: In any instance when a location is targeted by unruly groups at a certain time, the community should organise an event to take place at that time and that place, thus re-taking ownership of that public space;

2: Kids should be asked/helped to organise part of the event: a skateboarding tourny, a fireworks display (with the appropriate supervision) – whatever;

3: Appropriate coolness should be attached to the event (the right sponsors / prizes etc), to ensure us fuddy duddies don’t take it over with our irritating uncoolness. Vodafone have plenty of techniques to identify the “cool kids” and to work with them to sell their products into the rest of the herd; let’s pick their brains;

4: Or we could just say; a) “They’re just kids having fun, leave them alone;” b) “They’re just kids. Let’s have some fun and leave them alone;” c) “We should lock ’em up and throw away the key.” d) “Whatever.”


  1. Nod says:

    Set up a generator and stereo around at secret beach, the one around the rocks from south chelty and let them have a big party!

  2. Jay says:

    For those who are always complaining about youth – go get a life. Instead of bashing them why not try to help them if you find them so darn destructive.

    We have all been through that often awkward age, trying to fit in socially, looking for fun and not old enough to be at respectable bars or establishments. Kids are just trying to enjoy themselves. Often celebrating Guy Fawkes, exams, end of terms or a host of other things.

    Police presence normally throws accelerant to the situation. Riot police? Come on what that really needed? Course not. There you go I answered the question incase you didn’t know the answer yourself.

    As for Pari’s comment – that is ridiculous. People should be allowed to be wherever they want without having a piece of paper with an address on it. Sounds like you’re out to ruin young kids having fun. Hope you don’t have your own kids…

    Sarah has the right idea. Sure have a few police, but no need to use excessive force.

    Every year for us New Zealander’s we get less civil freedoms and more restrictions. Of course at the teenage years it feels even worse!

    Until next Nov 5th…..

  3. The Speculator says:

    The Speculator received the following comment via email…. – Ed

    I think the basic problem is that, unlike in the rest of the world where Nov 5th fireworks mark Guido Fawkes’ well-intentioned but unsuccessful attempt to send that sadistic, hypocritical, bible-bashing, child-molesting twat James I on his way (which among other benefits would have meant that the English could have avoided the English Civil War (and no doubt would have put the time to better use fighting the Scots, the Irish, the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Spanish and the French)), in Devonport Nov 5th is really just an excuse for a mass piss-up. It just happens to fall on the same night as Guy Fawkes

  4. Jo says:

    @ Sarah. It’s not harmless though. It’s intimidating. And then when they do go on the move they destroy signs, kick over letterboxes – and just mindlessly destroy anything in their way. I watched them do it out of my window. I personally would rather that my rates money was spent on other things rather than repairing damage caused by mindless kids with nothing better to do.

  5. GB says:

    How do these kids have lawyers anyway??..their rich Parents who don’t know where they are on any given night, let alone guy fawkes??..and don’t forget the idiots that were up Mt Vic, but least there wasn’t a ‘big fire’ like years gone past. 🙂

  6. erica says:

    on saturday night in my street, a whole bunch of youth arrived on the back a truck. O.k it was adults leading this, driving the truck. they then got out on the middle of the street and started to set off fireworks. this went on far an hour. some of the fireworks fell over and shot into the crowd. i have never witnessed such idiot behaviour. some cars came up the road. did they want to drive through a hundred litten fireworks…..NO!!!!!!

    whats happening devonport. someone will pay and soon.

    thanks erica,

  7. JL says:

    Once again (sigh) I have to comment that if we had a bit more of a regular police presence at Devonport trouble spots, ‘louths’ might not feel they can rampage with immunity & gatherings might be dispersed before they get to riot size.

  8. Sarah says:

    I live on Vauxhall rd and the helecopter noise was more annoying, if they having harmless fun then its ok, we were all young once..! maybe.
    the police could be there just it gets out of control.

  9. Hamish says:

    Option 1 sounded good to me (and make it as uncool as possible, so the yooves go somewhere else). Unfortunately, part of me being an uncool parent means that i’ll be tucked up in bed by 9pm, at which point the mayhem will probably just get started. haha.
    So im changing my vote to Option 4d.

    Oh – forgot to mention; Option 4d is available only to those aged between 13-19 – Ed

  10. Pari Rikihana says:

    Every year we know it’s going to happend down Cheltenham
    what should be done is a Road-Block stationed at the lights on lake road by the intermediate school,all young people who do not have a legitimate reason to going to Devonport,ie live there, must have address on them,to be turned around and sent packing. If the dont have an official devonport address on an official
    piece of paper, ‘Driver’s licence’turned around. these young people are quick to text lawyer’s if harassed by the ‘Police’ but they can call these people whilst driving to takapuna and complain. These ‘gatherings’ not only hapen on ‘Guy fawkes nites’it happens at the end of each school term.

Leave a comment

Lake Rd Traffic Cam
Devonport Calendar Business and Service Directory Cafe Directory
Urgent and Non-urgent Services/ Local Accomodation Teamer


Subscribe by e-mail You can subscribe by e-mail to receive news updates and breaking stories.

RSS Follow Us on Twitter