Weekend brawl not gang-related - Napier Mayor

Napier's Mayor says a violent brawl on Sunday was not gang-related.

One gang member was present in the crowd of around 15 people in Maraenui, Kirsten Wise told Newshub, but the incident was a family altercation.

There were fears gang tensions had broken out again in the city after one person was hospitalised with moderate injuries. 

"It's a little bit disappointing that there's this immediate assumption that something that happens in a part of our community is gang-related when quite clearly it isn't," Wise said.

Emergency services responded to the fight just after midday on Sunday. There were reports that baseball bats were used in the brawl.

A police spokesperson told Newshub on Sunday that all those involved were believed to be members of the same gang, but Wise says that is not the case.

"My understanding is there was one gang member present who was a member of one of the whanau that was involved in the altercation and he was there purely in a peacekeeping capacity." 

There have been concerns around rising gang tensions in the area after shots were fired in Taradale last month.

Following that incident, around 250 residents in Hawke's Bay attended a public meeting to find a solution to the problem.

Wise is expected to reveal a strategy in the coming weeks, involving gang and iwi leaders, but she says there's no quick fix.

"How can we all collectively as a community work together to provide a different path for those members of our community who feel that that's their only option at the moment?"

Flaxmere Councillor and Hastings ambassador Henare O'Keefe says increasing gang tensions in Hawke's Bay are happening "far too often, far too frequently."

"[It's] not good, certainly not good," O'Keefe told The AM Show on Monday.

He says although gang-related incidents in the region are nothing new, he blames the increase in violence on the '501s' - Kiwi gang members deported from Australia. 

"They're entrepreneurs, these guys. They're business people in every sense of the word. So we shouldn't be surprised. As the technology increases and gets more sophisticated they move along with that.  They're pretty well on to it, if that's the word to describe it. "

O'Keefe said only a long-term strategy of giving more support to vulnerable young people before they join gangs in the answer. 

"We're not going to legislate or arrest our way out of this," O'Keefe said. 

"Our prisons are overflowing. But if we have the fortitude to drill down, I've always said it starts in the home - good, consistent, quality parenting. That's a good a place as any to start."