Stokes Valley homicide: Rawiri Zane Wharerau named as gang member shot dead at birthday party

Detective Inspector Haley Ryan spoke to media on Wednesday.
Detective Inspector Haley Ryan spoke to media on Wednesday. Photo credit: Newshub.

The man who was shot dead at a birthday party in Lower Hutt has been named by police as 39-year-old Rawiri Zane Wharerau. 

His brother, who was also attending the party, was critically injured in the shooting and is recovering in hospital, police revealed on Wednesday. 

Wharerau was killed after an altercation at a 50th birthday party at his own home, which was attended by members of the Mangu Kaha gang, a splinter group of Black Power. 

Wharerau, who was a patched member of the gang, was shot alongside his brother after the altercation at the party spilled out onto the street. 

Emergency services were called to the party on George Street, Stokes Valley just after 2am on Saturday.  

When police officers arrived at the scene, Wharerau was found lying at the front of his home surrounded by people trying to resuscitate him. Despite the efforts to save him, he sadly passed away at the scene from gunshot wounds. 

His brother was transported to hospital, where he underwent surgery for life-threatening gun shot wounds. He is now in a critical, but stable condition. 

Police at the scene on George St on Saturday.
Police at the scene on George St on Saturday. Photo credit: Newshub.

A homicide investigation was launched on Saturday and now police are looking into establishing who was present at the address as part of our enquiries, including members and associates of the Mangu Kaha gang. 

Police want to speak to all those who attended the birthday celebration. 

"We have been working towards understanding what led to an altercation that left one man dead and another seriously hurt," Detective Inspector Haley Ryan said. 

"Rawiri's whānau will spend the coming Christmas grieving the loss of one son as they hope for the recovery of their other son." 

Det Insp Ryan said individuals at the party would know what happened and could help provide answers that would assist in the investigation. 

"We ask that those persons to do the right thing and think of both victims, their friends, whānau and loved ones and speak with Police sooner rather than later," Det Insp Ryan said. 

"Our team remains committed to locating the person or persons responsible for this violent incident and holding them to account, and we continue to appeal to the community for their help to do so." 

The police also continue to ask people within the community who have privately-owned CCTV or dashcam footage within Stokes Valley and the Eastern Hutt Road area between 1am and 3am that day to make contact. 

"We have already received information that has been of assistance and thank those that have provided that to us," Insp Det Ryan said. 

Anyone with any information that will help us progress this inquiry is asked to contact Police by phone on 105, or online at using Update Report, referencing file number 231216/6245.