Five people were taken to Whangarei Hopsital with serious injuries after a shoot-out in Northland’s capital of Whangarei.
At approximately 10.30 on Tuesday night police were called to a Clark Road address in the suburb of Kamo after receiving reports of a shooting.
Inspector Justin Rogers, Area Commander for Whangarei/Kaipara told reporters “While the investigation is still in its very early stages, we can confirm that those involved in this incident have links to gangs.” He acknowledged the gangs in question were the Nomads and Black Power.
With regards to the number of gangs related incidents in the area, Rogers said “I don’t believe Whangarei is any different to anywhere else in New Zealand”. source
Increase in gang violence linked to nationwide meth market
Whangarei has seen a spate of shootings recently that have involved gang members. John Henry Harris, 37, known as John Boy, died on October 18 last year from a gunshot wound to his chest. He was dropped off in a critical condition on the doorstep of a local ambulance station.
Police later released pictures of gang members taken moments before the shooting in an attempt to find who killed him. There have been growing concerns about an increase in gang violence which seems to be linked to the nationwide meth market. source
The same month Moses Noor Mahanga, a member of the Headhunters, was shot in Otangerei.
Clark Street residents were happy to talk to the media about the incident but everyone refused to be named for fear of retribution from the property’s residents:
Neighbours told RNZ reporter Lois Williams, who was on the scene, that the shooting happened at a rental property on the normally quiet street. They said the occupants had been disturbing the neighbourhood by playing loud music, fighting and doing wheelies on the road at night.
One man said people were coming and going from the address at all hours of the night.
A woman, who also lived nearby, said she heard yelling and fighting and a man crying last night so she called the police. She said it was an old established neighbourhood where people had lived for 50 years or more, but the family at the address had just moved in and been trouble. source
Northland earned its name “The Lawless North” due the crime that has plagued both residents and visitors to the region for many years. Much of it linked to gang activity. The overstretched, and under resourced, police force appears incapable of controlling the situation.
Gangs linked to Meth, Huge Issue in Northland and Rest of NZ
When asked if they were worried about the escalating gang violence and what was behind it, one Clark St resident was adamant about the cause. “I may be old but I’m not stupid, and I’m pretty sure there’s a drug problem at the root of all this.”
It’s a thought echoed by many others, but who are more specific: methamphetamine.
In August, Mark James Lang was jailed for more than 14 years for helping cook one of the largest batches of P police had ever seized. The lab where he was working, in the rural Northland community of Waiotira, had the capacity to produce $3 million of methamphetamine each week.
A few years earlier police seized millions in drugs and cash and arrested 13 Headhunter associates and prospects after executing search warrants in the city.
One man well-placed to speak on the issue is Martin Kaipo. An ex-Black Power member, Kaipo is now a community leader and has worked with the gangs on many issues. He was unsure if the latest violence was drug-related, but said there was no doubt gangs in the area were involved with methamphetamine.
The drug was a huge issue both in Northland and the rest of the country, and not going anywhere in a hurry. “The problem we’ve got now is there’s no cure. In those days there was some sort of cure, now families are having to endure the tough luck cure… read more
Methamphetamine (P) manufacture and use is widespread throughout New Zealand. A former Hamilton detective once accused the Government of a “head in the sand mentality” when it comes to New Zealand’s growing drug culture. The country now rates as having the third highest number of meth users per capita in the world.
Drug dealers are often armed and may keep guns, ammunition, stolen property and other drugs in the premises. (ref Daniel Vae and New Zealand’s war on drugs)
There may also be children living in extreme danger at the property as around a third of homes where methamphetamine is being manufactured have children living in them. Figures show that 35-70% of children in those environments test positive to methamphetamine itself, while 90% test positive to toxic levels of chemicals. (source)
Children may be being used as couriers by their parents and children as young as six have been found passing drugs at school. (Ref. Drugs battle fought on school playgrounds and six year old kids take dope to school).
If you’re thinking about buying, or renting, a home in New Zealand you’re advised to have it checked out for meth contamination.
Better still, go somewhere better. Especially if you have children.
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