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Kiwis on Waitangi pub crawl 'very friendly' - police

Published: 7:05AM Tuesday February 07, 2012 Source: ONE News

Police have come to the defence of Kiwis criticised for their behaviour on a Waitangi Day pub crawl in London.

Around 4,000 Kiwis took part in the pub crawl and according to media reports Kiwi expat Dylan Clements has complained to Prime Minister John Key and the High Commissioner about their behaviour.

Clements said he saw fellow New Zealanders urinating on police cars and historic monuments, as they took part in the annual Waitangi Day Circle Line Pub Crawl on Saturday.

In a complaint filed with New Zealand High Commissioner Derek Leask, Clements said their antics brought "great shame" to the country.

Clements, who is from Wellington and works as a London travel agent, claimed that Kiwi revellers used vulgar language in front of children, frightened people on the tube, flashed people, spewed everywhere and urinated on famous landmarks including Westminster Abbey and the historic Jewel Tower.

There were also complaints on Twitter, with one person remarking about "Kiwi drunks on the loose".

Hundreds of Kiwis took off their shirts and performed a haka in Westminster to celebrate Waitangi Day.

Clements slammed their antics saying it was shameful and brought New Zealand into disrepute.

However, Inspector Bruce Middlemiss of Westminster Police told ONE News details on the event might have been exaggerated.

"There was no unruly behaviour; they were 99% respectful when asked to stop doing something."

"On a scale of what we do on a week to week basis it was very minor."

General good behaviour - police

One hundred police were tasked with following those on the pub crawl and this was later reduced to 50 due to an unrelated protest.

He said if there was any damage it had not been reported to police and one person on the crawl was arrested in the evening, although he was unsure of details.

Middlemiss said police actually enjoyed the pub crawl and that Kiwis were "very friendly and have a large capacity for alcohol".

"It was a reasonably successful day."

He said compared with last year residents said it moved along a lot quicker because it was "absolutely freezing and they were half naked and covered in cream".

Middlemiss said with the rise of Facebook and Twitter it became difficult to pinpoint numbers and where everyone would be.

He said he "did not want to stifle fun" but the Council may need to become involved in future and there would need to be organisation and structure given to the event.

He said police main concern was not urination saying they were more worried about people getting run over or blocking roads.

The inspector said options to go to the toilet were very limited and more facilities would need to be available in future to prevent public urination.

"Local residents were understandably unhappy, but next year there would be fair warning, more toilet facilities and more organisation."

Online reaction

Londoners took to Twitter to comment on Kiwis' drunken antics.

"WTF is going on Ken High Street 1000s of drunken Kiwis on the loose Waitangi Day Pub Crawl," Serena Thyme tweeted.
Sylvie said: "WTF is happening at Westminster with all these drunken Kiwis in costumes?"

Dan Tuhou said he attended the event "and it was embarrassing to be a New Zealander" so he left.

Kane tweeted: "Hmmm Kiwis get drunk, vomit, pee on statues, run around naked and end up in hospital come on expats give us a good name haha."

And Emmma tweeted: "Well I appear to have survived Waitangi Day, 14hr boozeathon, nothing Hill's residents were really not blessed with 10, 000 drunk Kiwis."

But others rejected criticism of Kiwis on the crawl.

"Load of crap! Most ppl were well behaved. It was a great day," Krystle Field tweeted.

"Wanna say a BIG thanks to all the awesome London police we met out and about yesterday who all told us we were a well behaved bunch! Good work team! " Nic Hughes commented on the Facebook page Waitangi Day Circle Line Pub Crawl.

One participant, Clint Heine, commented on the Facebook page: "The bloke who made the complaint is a stirrer - and implicated himself on this page as being anti the pub crawl. I have seen the letter - and it contains a couple inconsistencies."

And Hayden Starkey said. "Two words - mountain and molehill. Let's hope one person with a chip on his shoulder doesn't spoil what is a unique and fantastic experience for the rest of us!"

Heine also commented that police look forward to the event.

"Many police are also trying to learn the haka in time ... They have already done all the planning regarding blocking off the area for the haka."

Middlemiss said he would hold a debrief with Heine and police involved to discuss how to improve the event next year.