London-style riots in NZ 'hard to imagine'

  • Breaking
  • 12/08/2011

By Thomas Mead

For Andrew Potter, a Kiwi journalist living in the UK, it's hard to imagine a London-style uprising in New Zealand.

The Dunedin-born journalist, who has spent five years in England, pointed out the extremity of the violent culture found within much of London's youth.  They're extremes which Mr Potter struggles to align with New Zealand which, by his argument, isn't a "big city with big problems".

"In New Zealand I was never scared of teenagers. In London they can sometimes be very frightening indeed,” he said.

Knife crime was one the biggest issues for Potter, who says "there are parts of London where you could get stabbed by a young person for 'disrespecting' them."  

"Violence related to 'respect' or a perceived lack thereof is huge," he said.

The Kiwi certainly knows the extent of this violent youth culture, having experienced the intensity of the riots firsthand.  

Following the events close up, as a part of the news media, Andrew saw everything from massive battles between police and rioters to the charred remains of pillaged buildings.

"The atmosphere was like a carnival, these kids were seriously excited.  It was more than a little surreal, especially as the police were doing nothing to stop the looting," he said.

But they're scenes which, if the Mr Potter’s perspective is a true one, were too outlandish to be seen in his homeland.  

In short, New Zealand youth just aren't as "volatile and extremely unpredictable" as the youth of England, he says.

Thomas Mead is a journalism student at the University of Canterbury

source: newshub archive