Gang members arrive in Foxton for funeral but 'no signs of any problems'


A community leader in Foxton says gang members who are there to attend the funeral of a senior member have been respectful so far, and he hopes they stay that way.

Police are keeping an eye on members of the Head Hunters gang who have gathered in the town for the funeral of William "Bird" Hines at the nearby Motuiti marae, which is expected to begin on Monday.

Police say they have maintained a strong presence and there had not been any significant problems in the town except a traffic stop in which officers discovered a stolen car.

Te Awahou Foxton Community Board member John Girling said gang members had mostly left the town alone.

"There were a few motorbikes in town at around midday [on Sunday], and I haven't heard or seen any since," he said.

"The Motuiti marae is a little bit out of town and I think most of them are there. Hopefully if they treat it as a funeral there'll be no problems."

The owner of a shop on a main road leading to the marae said it had been a quiet weekend.

"I've seen no signs of any problems," he said.

"There is quite a police presence, I've seen them stop one or two cars, I saw them stop a bike this morning.

"Aside from that it's been very quiet."

Police said they were visiting businesses in Foxton to reassure shop owners and staff.

Horowhenua Māori ward district councillor Justin Tamihana, who is attending the tangi, said they wanted to ensure that everyone was safe and respectful during this time.

"While there's a huge presence of gang members from all walks, they are working hard and supporting the kitchen and paepae and sharing korero and stories together with our local whānau. The marae is a hive of busy people all there to offer each other support in a difficult time," he said in a statement.

Tamihana said he had been made aware that some elders and whānau at the marae felt the police presence was "over the top".

Many attendees, some who were not even gang members, reported being pulled up by police multiple times, he said.

Local accommodation facilities had been told not to allow gang members to stay which had forced some to find accommodation outside Horowhenua, he said, but some other Foxton marae had also helped out with accommodation.