Man beaten outside Lower Hutt party dies

Jardin Whanga-Elliott (Facebook)
Jardin Whanga-Elliott (Facebook)

The 21-year-old Lower Hutt man who died following a fight outside a party has been remembered for his prowess as a rugby league player.

Jardin Whanga-Elliott was attacked after being chased from the party early on Sunday. He died overnight, prompting a homicide inquiry.

Police say more than 30 people were at the party on Cleland Cres. They want to hear from witnesses to the attack, or anyone who was at the party on Saturday night.

In a statement from the Petone Rugby Club in which Mr Whanga-Elliott and his family were long-time members, it says he was a good player and always willing to help out.

Statement From the Chairman of Petone Rugby League Club by NewshubNZ on Scribd

Chairman Thomas Meihana says Mr Whanga-Elliott joined the club as a teenager playing in the under-17 Premier Grade and offered his condolences to the family.

"Petone Rugby League is a close-knit, family oriented club and whatever the club can do to help Jardin's family we are here to do it.

"Jardin will be sadly missed by the club and his old team mates."

A neighbour who heard the "loud" fight outside the party says things have been "getting worse every week" at the party house.

Ginger, a resident, said she and her five children were woken up around 3am because of a "big fight" outside.

"All we heard was 'you better get lost', and then he went running down the road. There were people running after him and that was it.

"It was very loud, the whole street could hear it. It was pretty scary, all the neighbours came out."

She didn't know Mr Whanga-Elliott, but said the neighbours who were holding the party were "pretty good people". That's despite her concerns that parties at the house were "getting worse every week".

"It starts off quiet, just normal Maori kids getting on the drink and just gets worse, gets louder in the evening and sometimes I wonder if the parents are home."

Ginger says her son was meant to go to the party, but she told him not to.

"I didn't like the fights that are always going on there, so I told him 'no, you stay home', and he's glad I told him no."

She said later on Sunday there were a lot of beer bottles on the street as well as a number of police officers.

A 27-year-old man was arrested and charged with assault on Monday. At the time, police said more charges could be laid.

He's been remembered on Facebook as a "funny character, one of a kind a loving boy (sic)".

Anyone with information should call Lower Hutt police on (04) 560 2600 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.