The Committee

Karen Ritchie, Chair

Karen RitchieAfter living in K’Rd for 12 years and enjoying the night life of the street for 25 years I am gutted at how bad things are. I attended a hui where more than 50 people gathered at the Pitt St Methodist Church on 26th February 2013 to address concerns about violence against gay people on K’ Rd. They included local residents, gay bar patrons, bar owners, local body members, an MP and representatives from the K’ Road Business Association, Body Positive, police, the NZ Prostitutes Collective and a local primary school.Among those who shared brief stories was one person who had both lived and worked on K’ Rd for ten years but no longer resides in the area because they don’t feel safe. Another person who spends a great deal of time on K’ Rd said the violence is worse than it’s been for 16 or 17 years.These bashings of innocent people impacts not only our rainbow community, but also the whole community because any assault on a New Zealander for being who he or she is, is an assault on all of us.
So if you want to come into our street, come in and party with us, don’t party against us.”

Gerard Marychurch, Secretary

Gerard MarychurchI worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years and part of this was working in establishments along K’Rd. Over the years I built up many friendships and always felt at home but in recent years the atmosphere along the street has changed. This saddens me as the community has a vibrant and loving presence but it’s undermined by violence and drug and drinking culture that at times seeks to destroy core community values. My passion for the street has encouraged me to become part of a team that wants to bring about change in people’s attitudes and to make the street safe from anti-social behaviour.I went through a terrible period of addiction which sent me to prison and almost insanity and during my recovery I realised some of the behaviour patterns of those struggling to deal with issues in their lives. My vision for K’Rd and Auckland city is to see places that are not only safe but offer services to address personal problems and issues around drinking and drug taking. Our team along with the City Council and Police can stop the cycle of street violence and other issues. But can only do this by being a community that supports initiatives that don’t just involve police and government laws but the health and wellbeing of all who visit, live and socialise on the street.

Craig Bradley, Treasurer

Personal Bio to follow – K’Rd Community Safety Inc.

Raymond Morgan

Raymond MorganI have been a regular patron and visitor to K’Rd for many years. Seventeen years ago I was making my way home when I was assaulted. A security guard who witnessed my plight was instrumental in leading to the arrest and conviction of my attackers. Justice was served and I felt a sense of resolution after such a traumatic experience. I count myself very fortunate however as there are many victims of violent crime who don’t have closure as I did.My gratefulness of being helped by a total stranger is what influenced me in getting involved with this community initiative and my resolve to give back to my community because I love Karangahape Road. I believe that it is only together as a united community will we tackle the current challenges facing us all.I invite you to share in our vision, mission and outcomes. Come meet the working group, find out how you can be involved making K’Rd safe for those who use the street now and those that will follow after us into the future. I fully support the initiatives of K’Rd Community Safety Inc.

Jason Heap

Jason HeapI remember a time when everyone could be pretty safe walking around in the wee smalls of the night through the back streets because everyone knew each other to a point. Now there are so many strangers coming to our community to enjoy our surroundings, which is great, but they are tending to not respect it.I wanted to be a part of our committee to ensure that I played a role in helping restore our community to a safer place for everyone who uses it, and to get it back to a place where others and myself can be less fearful of it, and so here I am. I take great pride in the progress we have made thus far, and I look forward to continued success in achieving our mission.

Daniel Cairncross

Personal Bio to follow – K’Rd Community Safety Inc.

Founding Committee Members

William Ruru

Many of us live healthy, supported and positive lives. But for some GLBTI people, physical violence, verbal abuse, bullying and ongoing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity directly contributes to poorer health and wellbeing outcomes, particularly physical and mental health.I am dedicated to cultivating a healthy, inclusive environment on Gay Road where individuals of all sexual orientations and gender expressions enjoy full civil rights, are thriving and are safe from harm.

Robyn Vella

Robyn VellaMy earliest memories of K’rd are being dressed up and having dinner at George Courts on Friday nights with Mum, Dad, and my Brother and Sister. K’rd has always been my place, a place where I have felt comfortable, it holds my favourite places to shop and play.
The troubles that are prevalent along the street are a reflection of New Zealand’s attitude to Alcohol and Intoxication, and until that changes these are not going to disappear, but I do strongly believe that we as the people of K’rd can bring our street back towards the community that uses it. K’rd needs to be reclaimed as the place of ‘difference’ that it has always been, a place where we all belong. Our place to stand.

Dom Nash

K’rd was always a place where there were no constraints on conformity, everyone could feel comfortable in who they are.Recent shifts in attitudes, behaviours and the level of intoxication have attributed to a darker, more violent culture in the area, where I no longer feel comfortable. The number of liquor outlets increasing in the street has made it more accessible to purchase cheaper alcohol and I believe this has aided in the problem.My aim is to help create a safe and friendly environment where everyone can enjoy themselves regardless of how they choose to live their lives.

Chris Malsen