Heartfelt pleas to stop gang violence are dominating a South Auckland community Facebook group.
And locals in suburbs hit by a spate of gang shootings are organising community hui to develop safety action plans.
Southside WOKE Facebook group has 11 thousand members and they are sick of the violence.
Group moderator Antoinette Tiatia says “The general consensus is that people are over it. They’re asking for consideration of the wider community who are innocent in all of this.”
Normally locals share everything from posters looking for a lost dog, or where to get watercress - along with the occasional video of armed police surrounding a local property..
But the recent shootings have locals using the platform to call out the gangs involved - demanding they “stop destroying Ōtara”.
One commenter said, “To you bigshots with guns ,ur taking our tamarikis future away; ur making it harder for thm for thr future. .Where’s the love? It's time the community came together ,enough is enough!”
A local mother stood up to gang members posting, “Lived in Otara my entire life, my kids too. I refuse to move. I want to help make a change. Cmon peeps, we can do this.”
One community member drew on their faith, , “We need spiritual weapons,the greatest being prayer. Whether you believe there is a God or not, prayer moves mountains.”
Almost half of the population in the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board area identify as Christian.
Local mechanic and business owner Albert Jackson was inspired to do something uplifting, offering a lesson in changing tyres for young boys to learn a valuable skill so they can help their solo mums.
Jackson says he’d been thinking about it for a while, but now is the right moment “to promote love, because that’s the only counter to fear”.
Police Area Commander for Counties Manukau East, Inspector Scott Gemmell, supports locals using the Facebook group to connect.
He said, “I’m really rapt to hear the community is engaging and trying to bring about resolutions that are community led. If it has benefits that relate to community assurance and people feeling safe and feeling part of a neighbourhood, then that’s really cool.”
Inspector Gemmell attended a safety action plan hui with the Ōtara community yesterday and another in Pakuranga today. More community outreach hui are planned..
“There’s a lot of energised members of our community who want to help, want to feel safe and we’re here to support.”
The Tribesmen and Killer Beez gangs believed to be at the centre of the shootings have connections in Ōtara and Kaikohe in Northland.
Three weeks ago a collective of hapū in Kaikohe including Ngāti Ueoneone, Ngāti Tautahi, Ngāti Whakaeke, Te Matarahurahu, and Te Uri o Hau placed a rāhui on the town after gunshots were reported and a gang member assaulted a man.
The hapū demanded an end to gang violence in Kaikohe, before an innocent life was lost.
Since the rāhui only one firearms incident has been reported in Kaikohe.
Echoing the sentiment of the Kaikohe community, an Ōtara resident on Southside WOKE said, “Useless pointless fights … we need to .. stop killing ourselves”.