Van riddled with bullet holes after gang violence breaks out at Hawke's Bay rugby match

  • 07/04/2024

Police are investigating a disturbing incident where a van was shot up while driving away from a rugby field following a match that turned violent in Hastings on Saturday.  

The shooting took place on Willowpark Rd at about 3:30pm on Saturday, near Bill Mathewson Park where the rugby game that was forced to be abandoned took place.  

Police said in a statement the shots appeared to be targeted at an opposing gang.   

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The incident happened after a division 3 rugby match between Hastings-based Tamatea Arikinui and Raupunga-based Young Māori Party (YMP) was cut short 15 minutes before full-time due to safety concerns.  

Bill Mathewson Park where the rugby game that was forced to be abandoned took place.
Bill Mathewson Park where the rugby game that was forced to be abandoned took place. Photo credit: Google Maps

A witness told Hawke's Bay Today there was visible Mongrel Mob presence among the crowd, with hell breaking loose when a Tamatea Arikinui player was tackled aggressively. "A lot of the young supporters of Tamatea then ran onto the field and pulled out weapons including knives," the witness said.  

But Tamatea club chairman Stewart Whyte said the club does not support gangs and those who caused trouble are not associated with Tamatea.  

"We refute claims the behaviour of individuals associated with gangs are supporters of Tamatea."  

The witness told Hawke's Bay Today the referee abandoned the game after his calls for supporters to leave the field were ignored. The teams went back to their changing rooms but, when YMP and their supporters left the park, they were followed by Mongrel Mob members and associates who were hanging out of vehicles and wielding weapons, the witness said.  

Police said they were forced to separate the parties involved after disorder broke out at the rugby club. No one was injured in either incident, they added.  

"Our committee thanks those present who acted quickly to ensure all whānau were safe until Police arrived," Whyte said.   

"We would like to extend our aroha to YMP for the events that transpired yesterday." 

Newshub has contacted Hawke's Bay Rugby Union for comment. 

Police said they have spoken with witnesses and people involved but want anyone with further information to come forward. Police can be contacted on 105 or via their website, referencing file number 240407/9520.  

Alternatively, information can be reported anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.