Neighbours shocked by fatal Gisborne mass brawl, say violence happening more frequently

Jemima Huston and Ashleigh McCaull for RNZ

Locals say Black Power members performed haka as a body was removed from the scene of a deadly mass brawl in Gisborne.

Late on Saturday night a fight involving 100 people broke out on Lytton Street in Elgin after two uninvited guests arrived.

Two people, aged 21 and 30, were fatally stabbed, three are in hospital and one person has been arrested.

Jocelyn Johnson lives on Lytton Street and said she saw people wearing Black Power patches at the property when the bodies were taken away.

"It's pretty scary when you wake up and all that's outside... and pretty scary seeing a whole Black Power type thing following one of the bodies that were released."

Another resident said she saw members of the gang perform haka on the street corner.

Police confirmed on Sunday that gang members were present at the party but the fight was not a conflict between rival gangs.

Johnson's husband, Kim Johnson, said violence in Tairāwhiti was happening more frequently.

His family has lived on the road for more than 20 years and the neighbourhood has been through some rough times.

"This seems to be something that just happens on a regular occurrence now. We've got this that happened last night (Saturday night). Last year, we had the one just around the corner where that young girl was shot in Titoki Street. It's sad. It's sad to see this sort of thing happen."

He felt sorry for the whānau whose family members had died and hoped the police investigation was successful.

Another local, Raewyn Jacqueline Hurinui, said people in Elgin were friendly and waved to each other on the street.

She said it was shocking to hear the news of the fight.

"We're friendly, yeah everybody knows everybody around here. It's sort of like a sub-highway, a lot of traffic up and down but never too extreme with something happening like this, no. Everybody gives a wave and a hi as they pass by and no, good community."

Hurinui said she was sending aroha to the whānau who were grieving.

Police are investigating the two homicides and the brawl, with officers spending Sunday night patrolling the Lytton Street scene.

Officers were also at the city's hospital managing access in and out of the emergency department following the deadly brawl.