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Rebels fighting comes to a head in Moerewa

Sunday 3 Feb 2013 5:50 p.m.

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By Karen Rutherford

Locals in the Northland town of Moerewa fear an innocent person will be killed or maimed as in-fighting between members of The Rebels motorcycle gang comes to a head in the town.

Moerewa's the latest New Zealand centre to be infiltrated by The Rebels, who are Australia’s biggest gang.

But after gunshots and a stabbing on Friday night, locals want to reclaim their town from The Rebels.

Slowly but surely they've stamped their mark across Australia and New Zealand. The Rebels’ patch extends to Moerewa and locals are close to breaking point.

“The events of the past few days have made it unsafe for our kids and our people to walk around the town," says Moerewa resident Peeni Henare.

Police have upped their presence in Moerewa in the past 24 hours and say they won't leave town until The Rebels are out.

Australia's biggest bike gang, The Rebels claim they're simply motorcycle enthusiasts.

But on Friday night, locals say they had to run for cover as a volley of gunshots rang out and someone was stabbed as internal fighting between local Rebels members came to a head.

“These were school friends and now they are fighting each other,” says Ngahau Davis of Kaumatua. “They have totally taken another culture that comes not from our world and are caught up in that."

In the past two years New Zealand police have joined their Australian counterparts in declaring war on The Rebels, making dozens of arrests for offences like drug trafficking.

Residents in Moerewa are now planning a public meeting for Thursday night

“That's what we need to do as a community – to come together and unify to deal with these problems,” says one local woman.

"What we're trying to do is make this safe for our families again,” says Mr Henare. “Gang violence can't be tolerated, let alone in Moerewa."

Four people will appear in court tomorrow. Locals hope that'll bring an end to the uprising. 

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