Gang members turn to Rauhoto Marae following Birch death

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Ngāti Rauhoto is looking within their ancestral house for answers after the death of Wiremu Desmond Birch in Taupō in recent weeks.

Today, members of Birch's family, police, Mongrel Mob and Black Power gang members met at Rauhoto Marae, Taupō-nui-a-tia.

It’s the first time the family of Wiremu Desmond Birch has met with gang affiliates, highlighting the bigger issue of gangs and their place here in the community of Taupō.

Wiremu Desmond Birch died in the early hours of October 11 in the Paetiki area of Taupō.

A 30-year-old man has since been charged with his murder and remains in custody, however organisers of the meeting say this issue is something that’s concerning everyone.

Key points covered in the meeting today included avenues to bring issues to the marae to be sorted out, as well as intervention programmes allowing youth to spend time with local elders for advice and consultation.

The participants of today's gathering believe this is a Whānau Ora approach in finding answers to questions in order to avoid further senseless deaths.