Gangs uniting the realisation of a long held dream

By Dean Nathan

Elders say the uniting of gangs in Whangarei this weekend is the realisation of a long-held dream.  

For generations, the Otangarei community in Whangarei has been a stronghold for the Black Power gang. 

Tickets to the fight event aimed at putting an end to gang related murders and shootings have all but sold out.

Kuia, Hira Kopa says, "I feel love for them because if you look at their genealogies you'll see they're all connected through their bloodlines.  This is a dream of our elders that they unite and now that dream has begun."

The Police Area Commander for Whangarei and Kaipara, Justin Rogers say's they are well prepared for the over 400 gang members attending this weekends event in Whangarei.

 "Our main priority is making sure that our community feels safe and that they are safe and so as I say we'll have additional staff that will be up here. 

"We'll be policing through the event as well as the night tomorrow night.  And it's important that if any of the community do feel unsafe that they contact us," says Rogers.

Gang leaders are aiming to quell the recent spate of murders and shootings in the community.

Kopa says, "When we've had deaths irrespective of where they're from I've been here to call them onto our marae.  The real hope is that this event brings an end to the violence and fatalities we've been experiencing and that love and peace prevail amongst them."

Rogers says, "One night certainly is a start and I hope that it does go well.  However, history tells us that organised crime and criminal gangs are involved in a lot of the issues that affect our community such as the recent homicides we've had and as I've said the sale distribution and manufacture of methamphetamine."

Labeled 'Keep it in the Ring' the event starts this afternoon with twenty fights on the card.