Rāhui on Kaikohe gang violence lauded as 'huge success'

Source: 1News

Gang tensions in the Northland town of Kaikohe have simmered thanks to a rāhui on gang violence, a local Māori leader says.

The rāhui was put in place by a collective of five hapū - Ngāti Ueoneone, Ngāti Tautahi, Ngāti Whakaeke, Te Matarahurahu and Te Uri o Hau - on May 27 after a hīkoi of around 250 people through the town.

The collective, known as Te Tiahotanga, put it in place due to tensions between the Killer Beez and Tribesmen boiling over.

Police have been cracking down on gang violence as part of Operation Tauwhiro. In Northland, there have been multiple arrests and drugs and firearms have been seized.

READ MORE: Explainer: How do other countries deal with gang crime?

One top police officer said any antisocial behaviour by gang members or their associates in the streets of Kaikohe or in Northland wouldn't be tolerated.

Te Tiahotanga spokesman Mane Tahere told Breakfast the situation in Kaikohe called for the preservation of life.

Gang expert Jarrod Gilbert explains the Killer Beez started as a feeder group to the Tribesmen in 2003.

"We all knew at some point in would get worse and our tamariki, our mokopuna, may have been in the crossfire. We took the step up as hapū and took the ownership of that rāhui and placed it over our town."

He said Te Tiahotanga was calling the rāhui a "huge success" as the police had told them while it was in place gang violence callouts had gone from around 27 per day to zero.

Tahere said the zero number of callouts lasted for three weeks and in the full four weeks there was only one serious incident.

"That is huge for Kaikohe," he remarked.

"It's a tikanga of ours and we believe in it."

Tahere felt the "power, the wairua (spirit)" of the rāhui had been respected by the gangs.

He also told Breakfast he thought a rāhui could be rolled out in Auckland, where there have been more than 20 drive-by shootings in recent weeks.