This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Fears of possible ‘gang war’ brewing in Ōpōtiki


Talk of a possible ‘gang war’ brewing in the eastern Bay of Plenty town of Ōpōtiki has locals worried and police out in force.

Police investigating the death of Mongrel Mob Barbarian gang president Steven Takatini.
Police investigating the death of Mongrel Mob Barbarian gang president Steven Takatini. (Source: 1News)

Hundreds of patched Mongrel Mob Barbarian members have flooded into town today for the tangi of gang president Steven Taiatini, who was killed on Friday in an alleged altercation with rival gang members.

Many of the residents 1News spoke to, who didn’t want to be identified, said they are staying home if possible.

There were gunshots heard in the town last night, and three fires in the last three days – all suspected arsons.

Extra police being sent to Ōpōtiki as gang tensions rise

Local schools and the library have closed their doors as hundreds of Mongrel Mob members flood into the town for the tangi. (Source: 1News)

Another community leader who was meeting with gang leaders this afternoon told 1News they wanted to ensure innocent members of the public aren’t caught up in any crossfire.

“The community have been on edge a little bit. We’re trying to keep things calm,” Ōpōtiki mayor David Moore said.

“The local iwi and police, I’ve been working with them the last two days – they’ve been working very hard behind the scenes to try and calm things down a bit.”

Moore said while there is “definitely tension out there” due to Taiatini’s status and the potential ramifications following his death, “he is a local, he is a family member so they’re all grieving”.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to calm the tensions and hopefully let the police do their job as swiftly as they can.”

The town has been “extra quiet” in recent days, Moore said, and the local high school and Te Kura O Omarumutu have closed their doors of “their own accord”. The primary school was open, but many parents choose to keep their tamariki at home.

“It’s hard to carry on like normal when schools are closing but that is their choice, not something the police have advised them to do or council – it’s just, they’ve taken it upon themselves,” he explained.

Iwi and education trusts met to discuss whether to close more schools in the area in the next few days, citing concerns about tensions between gang families spilling over into the schoolyard.

He expressed the importance of giving the Taiatini’s whānau space to grieve.

“It’s just natural to feel the pain that they’re going through and they will be angry,” he said.

“This is an active homicide investigation and no one has been held to account yet.”