9 Mar 2018

Community urged to 'nark' on teens suspected in Flaxmere death

11:02 am on 9 March 2018

Police suspect a group of teenagers may be responsible for the death of a Flaxmere man last Sunday night.

Police tape outside the Flax Bar and Eatery, where a homicide investigation has been launched.

Kelly Donner died outside the Flax Bar and Eatery Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Kelly Alex Donner, 40, died of his injuries shortly after being attacked near the Flax Bar and Eatery.

Police spoke at a community meeting in the Hastings suburb last night and urged the family of those who killed him to dob them in, in order to keep the rest of the community safe.

Eastern district commander Tania Kura told the meeting of about 50 Flaxmere residents the rumours the culprits may a group of rangatahi were true.

"What I'm really, incredibly disappointed about is that in our investigation, we know there are people in this community who know exactly what happened ... but [what] we've been told is they are too scared to come forward and tell us."

Hastings district councillor Henare O'Keefe, who is from Flaxmere, urged the community to dob in the perpetrators.

"What we are asking ourselves to do is going to take balls... Somehow we are going to have to turn into narks if justice is going to prevail."

Flaxmere residents expressed their concern about the growing number of disengaged, and often violent youth in the town, the scourge of methamphetamine, and the lack of parenting that meant teenagers often had no safe place to call home.

Tukituki MP and former Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule told the meeting the problems could not be solved by simply throwing more money at them, and responsibility had to lie with families and the community to stand up for what was right.

Kelly Donner was described by many at the meeting as humble, well-liked, and quiet. He worked at a local packaging business, but could often be found returning trolleys in the New World car park just to help out.

He died less than 100 metres from that car park, on a patch of grass outside the Flaxmere Tavern.

Henare O'Keefe said with Mr Donner's family's permission, a garden would be planted on that spot for the community to remember him by.

Kelly Donner will be buried in Opotiki today.