Kaikohe community leaders place rāhui on town amid rising gang violence

Community leaders in Kaikohe will lead a hikoi through the town centre this morning calling for peace amid rising gang violence.

A collective of Kaikohe hapū (Ngati Ueoneone, Ngati Tautahi, Ngati Whakaeke, Te Matarahurahu, Te Uri o Hua) will place a rāhui on the Northland town in response to the spate of shootings across Te Ika-a-Māui.

The collective says that gang violence must end before an innoncent life is lost.

Te Tiahotanga spokesperson Mane Tahere says hapū need to look at the issue with a te ao Māori lens.

"Coming from a hapū level you understand your community, you know the people involved so it's a grassroots level approach."

He said they could not wait before taking action and hāpu had stood up and taken the lead because the community was on edge.

"We know when we see our whānau effected by these shootings we have to do something about it."

The rāhui comes in the wake of escalating gang tensions in the region.

Gunshots were reported in the town on Tuesday afternoon and a gang member also assaulted a man on the main street in broad daylight last week.

Detective sergeant Chris Fouhy said search warrants were executed on Thursday morning as part of the ongoing focus on gang activities in the Kaikohe area.

Police recovered $35,000 in cash and 80g of methamphetamine.

A 57-year-old man with gang associations has appeared in court charged with Supplying Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine for Supply, Assault with Intent to Injure and Disorderly Behaviour.

Tahere said the community must protect its people from kaumātua to its pepi.

While a complex issue, Tahare said Te Tiahotanga was committed to working for long-term solutions.

"The gangs and gang members involved in Kaikohe are all related in one way or another. We must bring kotahitanga through our shared whakapapa."

Tahere said there would be signage to indicate the rāhui prohibiting gun violence was in place.

"We want to make it clear that this is about whakapapa and whanau, including those in the gangs. It is about ensuring safety for all.

He said hapū had an inherent responsibility and authority to look after its people.

"It's about bringing our people back to their Ao Maori in a Te Ao Maori way."

The hikoi will begin this morning at 7.30am from the top of town, starting at the old RSA, down Broadway, and meeting in the centre of town.