An inquest into the suicides of five Eastern Bay of Plenty teens during a five month period has led Bay of Plenty coroner Wallace Bain to talk about the issues of gangs, teenage pregnancies and youth offending.
A total of 13 teens committed suicide in Kawerau during an 18 month period – five of which were considered as part of the inquest in the Whakatane District Court this week.
Those five young people all took their own lives between October 2010 and February 2011.
The inquest is a continuation of one which began in July last year, which was adjourned to allow the coroner to gather evidence linking the deaths to such issues as gangs and teenage pregnancies.
From 2008 to 2011, the number of suicides has increased by almost 50 per cent in the Bay of Plenty, with 35 suicides recorded by the Rotorua coroner in 2008 and 60 self-inflicted deaths recorded in the year ending June 2011.
The episode has increased calls for more information about suicide to be released to the public.
Chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean says the high numbers of suicides in towns like Kawerau highlights the issue and believes that something further needs to be done.
People should be able to seek accurate information on suicide and prevention methods in the Bay of Plenty, the judge said.
Written evidence and submissions on the cause of self-inflicted deaths were presented to the coroner during Wednesday’s inquest.
The coroner reserved his findings into each of the five deaths.