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Mass brawl started as minor scrap

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/08/2016

Police sent a car to the scene of a mass, armed brawl in the Auckland suburb of Mangere before fighting broke out - but say officers left because the crowd hadn't done anything.

Five people were arrested after the large fight on Massey Road involving school students from at least three schools on Monday afternoon, during which knives, wood planks and even chairs were used as weapons.

Police say about 80 people were involved in the incident which spilled into a KFC at about 5pm.

"We believe it started as a simple fight between two individuals which quickly escalated," area commander Jason Hewett told reporters on Tuesday, adding it was lucky no one was seriously hurt.

He said a police car had earlier been called to the area over reports of a large gathering but left before fighting broke out, because nothing unlawful had happened at that point.

"You have to remember it's after school on a school day and there are lots of kids heading home," he said.

"A unit was dispatched ... a number of groups were spoken to and there was nothing more we could have done at that time."

Four teens were arrested after the fight was broken up, included two 17-year-old men - one charged with possession of a knife and possession of an offensive weapon - and two 15-year-olds who have been referred to Youth Aid.

A third 15-year-old was taken into custody on Tuesday.

Police say they cannot rule out further arrests as they continue to investigate.

"This was appalling behaviour, especially given the presence of young children and elderly nearby," Mr Hewett said.

He said police would be increasing patrols around Mangere and were keeping their "ears to the ground" over any retaliatory fighting.

"We are all over this. We've been dealing with a school and dealing with some of the parents of kids we know are involved," Mr Hewett said.

"I've got community policing teams, neighbourhood policing teams, working with agencies such as the Maori Wardens ... and we've really increased our visibility."

He said it was too soon to say if there was a gang element to the fighting.

Officers were retrieving CCTV footage and speaking to witnesses on Tuesday.

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