Boy racers rev up residents' meeting
20 Sept 2008
Usually sedate Matua Residents' Association meetings turned scary this week when boy racers arrived en-masse to express their point of view.
The sharp-eyed car enthusiasts had spotted an advertisement in which they were named on the agenda of a public meeting called to discuss crime-related problems in Matua.
Association chairman Richard Kluit said it was a huge surprise when the usual turnout of about 50 people with an average age close to 70 was boosted by 50 boy racers with an average age of 20.
He said the boy racers descended on Wednesday's meeting from all over town, and not just those who lived in Matua.
After a tense half hour, it became clear it was not the sort of meeting they were expecting.
The meeting was about the association's involvement with community patrols, neighbourhood support and civil defence. Leaders from among the boy racers explained that all they had wanted to do was to put their point of view to the association. Their initiative has led to a separate meeting being arranged next month with Tauranga west's community constable Jenny Wright.
Mr Kluit said the boy racers were largely well behaved and left after they realised it was the wrong forum.
"It was more of the shock of them turning up to one of our traditional meetings."
He said the influx of boy racers highlighted how rare it was to get younger people along to meetings. Basically, there was a whole generation missing on Wednesday _ parents with families still at home.
Mr Kluit said the meeting had no particular agenda against boy racers in so far as what happened in Matua was no different to anywhere else in Tauranga.
"Elderly people get quite petrified when they hear the engines screaming."
He said it was about educating residents to ring *555 when people heard burnouts and 111 when they suspected a crime was happening in their neighbourhood.
If people had a particular concern they could email the association at firstname.lastname@example.org. The organisation's website was http://www.matua.org.nz.