Whip­ping craze a ‘‘dis­tur­bance’’

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - CATRIN OWEN

‘‘It's driv­ing us up the wall where we live, it's get­ting out of hand.’’

A new whip crack­ing craze sweep­ing Auck­land is in­tim­i­dat­ing res­i­dents and spark­ing nu­mer­ous noise com­plaints.

Over the past few months in­creas­ing num­bers of youths have taken to streets and parks, crack­ing rolled up lavalavas and sheets like horse­whips.

Now schools are ban­ning the whips be­fore some­one gets in­jured.

To make a whip chil­dren fold a sheet or lavalava di­ag­o­nally, tie it at one end and crack it against the pave­ment re­sult­ing in a loud fire­cracker sound.

Some res­i­dents want to see the craze banned out­right, in­clud­ing Roy Bright from Mt Roskill, who took to Neigh­bourly.co.nz to vent his frus­tra­tion.

‘‘It’s driv­ing us up the wall where we live, it’s get­ting out of hand,’’ Bright said.

‘‘It’s a dis­tur­bance so must be il­le­gal.’’

Mt Roskill res­i­dent Lee Wong also wrote on Neigh­bourly how her young chil­dren were scared by the sound.

‘‘My 10-year-old boy hated it as it also dis­turbed his sleep.’’

Wong said a boy in­tim­i­dated her four-year-old daugh­ter by hold­ing out the whip. She ran back cry­ing and has been fright­ened since.

Both Mt Roskill pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate schools have banned whips at school.

Mt Roskill pri­mary prin­ci­pal Mike O’Reilly said the craze had been go­ing on for about three to four weeks.

‘‘They are nor­mally made out of old sheets or lavalavas and are rea­son­ably long, say around a me­tre,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve banned them at our school be­cause the end of the whip breaks the sound bar­rier and a lot of lit­tle chil­dren are about. They are dan­ger­ous,’’ O’Reilly said.

One­hunga Pri­mary have also banned whips and prin­ci­pal Viki Hol­ley ex­pects the craze to die out over the sum­mer hol­i­days.

‘‘We banned them pretty much as soon as we be­came aware of them as they have the po­ten­tial to really hurt a by­stander,’’ she said.

There have been no re­ports of in­jury at ei­ther school.

Auck­land Coun­cil has re­sponded to about 20 noise com­plaints re­lated to whips. Coun­cil’s man­ager of en­vi­ron­men­tal health, Mervyn Chetty said it was a new type of com­plaint.

Po­lice are aware of the the craze but have had no com­plaints.

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