Gangs want to take the rivalry from the streets to the boxing ring to prevent arrests and unnecessary deaths. Leaders from several rival gangs met today in Otangarei to discuss the upcoming organised event in northland next month.
Gang leaders gathered in Otangarei to acknowledge the death of Moses Mahanga who was shot late last year.
Former gang member turned social worker Toko Hoterene says, "We want our whanaunga, our dads, our uncles, our grandfathers, we want them to go home. Whats a black eye and a broken nose or a few missing teeth compared to a bullet in the head or a bullet in the chest. We want our kids to be happy. So this is the reason why we've coming together."
It's the long term goal for the gangs and it starts with fighting competitions they've organised for the upcoming months.
Toko Hoterene says, "I'm talking about fight night. Te Taitokerau Fight Night. The slogan on the back is "Keep it in the Ring" and I refer to all the shootings and all the mishaps that have been happening within our whānau. Because we're in Ngāpuhi and again we're whānau and al ot of the killings that has been happening, even my personal self, I've had whānau pass away."
Head hunter leader Herbie Rata took the opportunity to address a meeting of gang leaders at Otangarei marae.
"So I'm asking us as a gang fraternity to put these people to rest, these bros to rest starting with one of my own club members who was killed down here. I can't speak for the tribesmen and their killings because they've been hit hard. But I speak for my own bro down here."
Otangarei residents couldn't believe their eyes seeing the amount of red gang regalia being worn in their community which has been a Black Power stronghold for generations.
The President of the New Zealand chapter of the Mongrel Mob known as Smashdog told Te Kaea, "It's about time. Something happened with us as gangsters, you know. We should be sticking together you know, brothers aye, that's what we're all about, sticking together. Things have changed. We're trying to make good all the P and all that sort of stuff and all the murders. We've just had enough."
Toko Hoterene says, "You know like the headhunters, like the nomads, even our own little rōpū in here, our Mangu Kaha. To have the Mongrel Mob even come in here. That's a big no no! But we're making changes and I hope that people out there can see that we're making changes."
Local Police are aware of these events and have been for some time. They are planning a major operation to police everyone involved in and attending the events.
In a statement Whangarei Police say:
"We’ve spoken to the original venue organiser who declined to continue after police spoke with them.
We’ve spoken to the current venue and suggested they do not hold it.
Police will be attending to ensure all people attending are adhering to the club’s licence.
Police are permitted to attend under the terms of the club’s licence.
If gangs want to contribute to reducing violence and harm in our communities, don’t become involved in violent acts, and assist Police when we are investigating those incidents."