Fatal stabbing at Dunedin bus hub: Teenager’s teammates cancel rugby match in memory of friend

Dunedin’s mayor is also calling for a community-based approach to addressing safety in the city. Photo / Ben Tomsett

Teammates of a 16-year-old stabbed to death in Dunedin today canceled their high school rugby match in memory of their friend, while the city’s mayor called for a “community-wide” response.

The incident took place at the Dunedin Bus Hub on Great King St shortly after 3pm on Thursday, and the 16-year-old was rushed to hospital but later died from his injuries.

A 13-year-old boy appeared in Dunedin Youth Court yesterday charged with murder.

It comes as friends of the 16-year-old gathered at the bus stop yesterday afternoon to leave flowers and tributes and take part in a blessing.

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Now, teammates of the 16-year-old, who was a student at Trinity Catholic College and an avid rugby player, are also taking time to mourn their friend.

Otago Community Rugby director Warren Kearney confirmed the teenager’s high school rugby team had decided to cancel their match today.

The teenager had played as part of Trinity’s high school team called Sassenachs, which was recently formed in 2024 and was made up of players from Trinity and three other schools.

Kearney said the “tragic circumstances” of the loss were felt by the entire rugby community.

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Otago Community Rugby previously wrote in a social media post: “Otago Rugby’s thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and teammates” of the 16-year-old.

“With regards to Trinity Catholic College, the Intermediate Otago Combined Sassenachs team will not be playing tomorrow’s match against Dunstan High School,” he said.

“In times like these, we must stand together and support each other. “Kia kaha.”

Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich said he is keen to bring together key parties such as police, schools, city council and bus operators so there is a “broader community response” to safety concerns. at bus stops and on the public transport network.

“I spoke to the principal of Trinity College and she is interested in discussing the matter further and what we can do about it,” Radich said.

“So I’m looking for a coordinated response, but it will take a while to organize those meetings.”

However, in the first instance, the council will continue to talk to the police, he said.

Radich had previously been criticized by Darin Smith, vice-chancellor of King’s High School, where the 16-year-old had studied before moving to Trinity, for previously saying the stabbing was an isolated incident and that the bus center was safe.

“As a city we need to expect better, as a city we need better for our children, as a city we need better to ensure that the safety and well-being of all of us is a priority,” Smith told the Otago Daily Times.

Police officers at the scene of the stabbing near Dunedin central police station.  Photo / Ben Tomsett
Police officers at the scene of the stabbing near Dunedin central police station. Photo / Ben Tomsett

However, Radich said this morning that the shelter is “clearly not safe enough.”

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He was also among those who laid flowers at the shelter yesterday, where he said “the events will impact our entire community.”

“The ripple effects of this event are being felt throughout our city. My heart goes out to all those affected, including the 13-year-old boy who is now in court.

“This is a disaster for everyone. “We are all grieving.”

The young man appears in court

The accused, aged 13, appeared in the Dunedin Youth Court yesterday before Judge Michael Turner.

He has been remanded in the custody of Oranga Tamariki’s chief executive until his appearance at the Dunedin High Court on June 11.

It has automatic name suppression.

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Otago Coast Area Commander Inspector Marty Gray said yesterday police were still working to determine the circumstances of the case.

Police arrived at the scene a minute after the incident providing medical assistance to the 16-year-old and arresting the 13-year-old, he said.

Security personnel also worked at the shelter yesterday and intervened quickly, he said.

Gray said anti-social behaviour, such as bullying and taunting, was common at the bus centre.

However, officers had been working with a number of partners to limit anti-social behaviour, for example by installing CCTV, he said.

Police also usually have patrols in the area, but unfortunately they were not there at that time of day, he said.

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Police are asking witnesses or anyone with information to provide videos and photographs of the incident.

Police arrived at the scene a minute after the incident at the city's bus hub.  Photo / Ben Tomsett
Police arrived at the scene a minute after the incident at the city’s bus hub. Photo / Ben Tomsett

Conflict at Dunedin bus hub

The incident is the latest in a series of assaults at the Dunedin bus center since it opened in 2019.

In 2022, a Dunedin man was arrested after attacking a pedestrian and punching an 83-year-old man in the face outside central police station.

The 45-year-old man pushed a 63-year-old man onto the street of the Great King St bus center on October 26, 2022, before straddling the victim and repeatedly punching him in the head, as well as kicking him in the back. the torso. .

When an 83-year-old passerby tried to intervene, the criminal punched him in the head.

In November last year, a man was punched and kicked by a drunk in a racially motivated attack at a bus station.

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