The notorious Mongrel Mob has left tourists "shocked" and locals furious after taking over a Hawke's Bay landmark in an apparent gang patching ceremony.
Hastings District Councillor Damon Harvey has been told that locals and tourists were prevented from driving or walking up Te Mata Peak on Saturday afternoon for what could have been the gang ritual.
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"I was contacted by a concerned resident last night, who had been speaking to some visitors to Hawke's Bay that had felt intimidated and told to turn back around and not go to the top of the Peak," he told Newshub.
"The tourists were shocked that this could happen in public and felt intimidated. If they were holding a patching ceremony, then that's totally unacceptable."
Harvey was also told that police were in attendance but didn't stop the event. And he's heard that it's not the first time, with a similar event taking place in January.
He says Te Mata Peak Road is a public road and Te Mata Park should not be closed off to the public so that new members can be welcomed into a gang.
If any other group or organisation wanted to use both the road access and the summit car park, they would have to seek prior-approval from the council, which would also require public notification, he says.
"I walk and ride up there regularly, as do many family and friends - it needs to remain a safe place," he told Newshub.
"It seems none of the protocols of holding an event were followed and at the end of the day, I don't think this is the type of activity we want in such a high-profile public space.
"Council, gang leaders and New Zealand Police need to meet and resolve this before it gets too out of hand."