Mayor calls for 'self-indulgent brats', parents to pay for Whangamata cafe's New Year's Eve damage

The mayor of Thames-Coromandel is calling for the 'self-indulgent brats' who vandalised a Whangamata cafe to pay for the 'horrendous damage' they caused.

There was chaos in the Coromandel township of Whangamata on New Year's Eve as 3000 party going teenagers started rioting at Williamson park,  damaging public toilets and knocking over rubbish bins. 

Some of the teenagers jumped on the roof of Blackie's Cafe, which the owner estimates did $8000 worth of damage, before police intervened and drove them back into town. 

"[There's] lots of damage," cafe manager Jordan Hunter told Newshub.

"There's holes all through the roof and they broke into our freezer and stole about $8000 worth of product."

Things got heated when the rioting teens are then said to have turned on police and pelted them with bottles from the roof. 

"We had a number of young girls with significant lacerations," Eastern Waikato Area Commander Inspector Dean Anderson said.

"They were throwing bottles into their own crowd, and that's when we decided to intervene and move that group."

Officers in riot gear drove the crowd towards the centre of town and Police made 22 arrests for disorder, assault and unlawful damage to property.

Older teenagers usually go to an over-18 music festival just out of Whangamata, but after opposition from locals there hasn't been entertainment for younger teens in the town since 2017.

"There used to be events in the park," Hunter said. "But nothing really happened this year, so they didn't really have anywhere else to go... so they all came to Blackies."

Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie said there's a simple explanation to what went wrong.

"Alcohol, booze and young people having free access to booze that are underage."

She said parents need to take some responsibility.

"I think it's atrocious... for those who are underage the parents should be required to pay for the damage caused and for those who are of age, they should be required to pay for the damage caused."

Inspector Anderson said he believes individuals are responsible for their actions, but parents may want to look at the way their children access alcohol.

Police said the vast majority of people behaved well last night, and the cafe owners are amazed at the positive response from the local community following the vandalism. 

Police said they are confident there won't be a repeat on Friday evening, and there'll be a visible presence and dozens of officers will be patrolling the town.