Rāhui laid to stop gang feud in Kaikohe

By Stefan Dimitrof

Escalating gang tensions in Northland prompted a collective of hapū to place a rāhui on the township of Kaikohe.

Representatives from Ngāti Ueoneone, Ngāti Tautahi, Ngāti Whakaeke, Te Matarahurahu and Te Uri o Hua led a hikoi through the town centre this morning calling for peace.

This was after gunshots were reported in the town on Tuesday, and an assault took place on the main street, last week.

Te Tiahotanga spokesperson Mane Tahere said that the rāhui was a kaupapa Māori mechanism that all Māori used.

“It’s an enhancement to all the other pieces of work going on in the community around bringing this kind of behaviour to an end in our town”.

Tahere said there was a feeling of fear in the Kaikohe community.

“There are talks of the local kura kaupapa Māori doing gun drills and children in their korero talking about gunshots at night.”

'Hāpu standing up'

“There is a fear in the community. As things escalate, the fear is someone will get seriously hurt."

The rāhui restriction is the prohibition of gang violence in the town of Kaikohe and Tahere said there wasn’t a definitive timeline for the rāhui to end.

“It’s about hāpu standing up to have those courageous conversations from whānau to whānau.

“It is progressively getting worse."

Tahere said that it was a different approach but it was Māori.

“It is a different approach but it is important. If whanau need to be educated on what a rāhui is, we're here to do that but a lot of whanau know what rāhui is."

Tahere said there were signs leading into the entry point at Kaikohe.

What it signalled to everyone after today's rāhui was that as a collective hapū, called Tiahotanga, it was invested in stopping the violence and “we are in it for the long haul”.