Mum says she’d rather her son ‘bike down steep cliffs’ than hang out at the mall

Police were called to Westfield Riccarton on Saturday after four teenagers were assaulted.

David Walker/Stuff

Police were called to Westfield Riccarton on Saturday after four teenagers were assaulted.

A Christchurch woman says she would rather let her teenage son go mountain biking at the Adventure Park than go to Westfield Riccarton mall, after he and his friends were robbed there earlier in the year.

On Saturday, a teenager was left “bruised and battered” and another received a “martial arts-style” kick to the head during a robbery in the mall car park.

On Monday, Christchurch Boys’ High School warned students that Riccarton bus lounge and mall “aren’t particularly safe” after a series of assaults by “mobs of young people”.

Zoe, who did not want her last name used to protect her son’s privacy, said her son, 13, was one of four children robbed at Westfield Riccarton on January 13.

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They were followed into a lift near the Hoyts cinema by five youths, thought to be aged 12 to 16. They were “pushed around and robbed”, and one of the boys had his $100 Christmas money stolen.

“They basically said ‘give us all your stuff or we’ll smash you’.”

The police arrived quickly and one person was later arrested, she said.

Police have increased patrols in the Westfield Riccarton mall area.

David Walker/Stuff

Police have increased patrols in the Westfield Riccarton mall area.

Zoe is now reticent to allow her son to go back to the mall and prefers him to go to Christchurch Adventure Park.

“It’s something I’m encouraging because it seems to be safe, apart from the mountain biking.

“Which is kind of ironic really, given that it’s biking down steep cliffs.”

Westfield Riccarton has been approached by Stuff for comment.

A police spokesperson said a 16-year-old was charged with demands with intent to steal and is currently going through the Youth Court in relation to the offence in January.

National police data shows a 15% increase in acts intended to cause injury in the year ended May 2021 between youths aged 10 to 19 – rising by 1093 recorded incidents to 8388.

By May this year, the number had dropped to 8275.

Riccarton community board member Helen Broughton said the board had been campaigning to improve safety in the area for years.

“When the bus exchange opened about five years ago we had stabbings outside and we brought in a security guard, but they only police the bus exchange itself and the issues are arising outside where we have had drug dealing going on and the police were involved,” she said.


A public loitering ban near Christchurch’s Westfield Riccarton mall and bus lounge is being proposed. (Video first published May 3, 2017 – the proposal did not pass)

She said she intended to ask the board to meet with police to raise the issue again.

“We need to beef up security in the area.

“It comes down to a higher police presence and maybe more cameras. It’s sort of Auckland-type behaviour that’s happening here, with a lot of young people coming from gangs,” she said.

National youth crime

  • On Wednesday, a teenage girl was punched, kicked and hit with a plastic sign after being chased into a Dunedin department store. At the same time, police were called to another assault involving teenagers near Memorial Park in Mosgiel, where a teenager was kneed in the face and stomach, chased into a supermarket and punched and kicked near a checkout.
  • A New Brighton 14-year-old was violently assaulted by teenagers twice within a month and had to flee a shopping centre when a youth tried to steal his sneakers in July.
  • In August, another 14-year-old boy was left with blood streaming down his face and two front teeth knocked out after an alleged assault outside a Lower Hutt mall – the second to be reported in a week.
  • A 16-year-old girl was waiting for a bus home on Bunny St, outside Queensgate Mall in Wellington when she was viciously assaulted after one of a large group of youths snatched her phone. Her head was allegedly stomped on and she was held at knifepoint by a group of youths.
  • Retailers in a Palmerston North mall were left fearing for their safety after disorder that erupted involving young people committing damage within the Downtown shopping complex on August 9.

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