Gang members charged with dangerous driving, antisocial behaviour after June funeral procession in Auckland

Sixteen gang members and associates have been charged with dangerous driving and antisocial behaviour on Auckland's roads in relation to a large funeral procession three months ago.

The procession, which was held on June 18, caused disruption on the roads and concern for members of the public.

The majority of those partaking in the procession behaved within the road rules, Inspector Jacqui Whittaker from Auckland Police said on Tuesday. However, some of the group drove dangerously at times, putting themselves and others at risk.

"Police received a large amount of camera footage displaying some of the driving behaviour exhibited that day," Insp Whittaker said.

"Those drivers are now being held accountable, and police have laid 18 charges against 16 drivers."

The charges include driving while disqualified, driving while forbidden and sustained loss of traction.

All 16 are due to appear in the Waitakere, Auckland, North Shore and Manukau District Courts in the coming weeks.

As a result of their enquiries, police have also impounded two motorcycles and issued 12 infringement notices for breaches of the Land Transport Act, Insp Whittaker said.

"Police will continue to identify drivers that may be liable for prosecution and if necessary, action further impoundments."

Insp Whittaker also thanked members of the public who came forward with information and footage for their assistance in the investigation.

"This was able to greatly assist the enquiry team in identifying those responsible and holding them to account," she said.

Intervening on the day of the procession would have put other road users at risk, she added.

"Police decision making when it comes to these types of events will always be about community safety. The driving behaviours of some presented a real risk to those involved, as well as other road users, and will not be tolerated.

"If you choose to put other motorists at risk through dangerous driving activity, such as sustained loss of traction, you can expect the police to hold you to account and your vehicle may be impounded."

As these matters are before the court, police are not in a position to comment further. 

Gang members ride their motorcycles at the funeral procession in Auckland on June 18, 2021.
Gang members ride their motorcycles at the funeral procession in Auckland on June 18, 2021. Photo credit: Newshub

On Friday, June 18, hundreds of gang members descended on a central Auckland church for a funeral to farewell Head Hunter Taranaki 'Ardie' Fuimaono, who died in Auckland Hospital earlier that month. 

The massive gathering forced authorities to cordon off parts of Grey Lynn, a central suburb, and divert buses from the area "as a precaution to ensure the safety of members of the public in the area". 

Newshub saw hundreds of riders arrive at the church that Friday ahead of the hearse. Prior to the service, members of the Head Hunters gang were seen standing outside the church, while King Cobras watched from the other side of the road. Fuimaono had previously been a member of the King Cobras gang.

Members of other gangs, such as the Killer Beez, Mongrel Mob and Rebels, also drove past on their motorcycles.

The service wrapped up at around midday. It was understood the gangsters and Fuimaono's family then headed to a burial in Māngere.

One person who tried to park near the church that morning claimed there were "1000, atleast, members of whatever gang it is... just mingling". He told MagicTalk there were up to 150 motorcycles parked "across the footpath".

"I thought, if I parked my bike there I would have a ticket in a New York second."

A service also took place for Fuimaono on June 17 in Auckland's Grey Lynn. Video footage from outside St Joseph's Catholic Church showed a large number of Head Hunters revving their motorcycles.