Police are appealing for information about a gang-related incident in Whakatane in January in which a man and his son were threatened with a firearm.

Detective Sergeant Darren Thomas said the man and his young child were driving along Lord Cobham Drive in Whakatane when a silver car cut them off and forced them to stop.

Three men wearing bandannas across their faces got out of the silver car and approached the victims, who remained seated. A fourth man stayed in the silver car.

The offenders accused the victim of being a Mongrel Mob member and put a sawn-off shotgun to the side of his neck and cocked the trigger.

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"He told the child to close his eyes as he thought he was going to be shot in the head and he didn't want his child to see that," Thomas said.

"The offender with the shotgun then pulled the trigger, the gun went 'click' but did not fire. The group then walked back to the silver car laughing and drove away."

The attack happened on the same day as tensions between rival gangs during a funeral processioncarrying Mongrel Mob member Tahu Kingi from Kawerau to the Whakatane Crematorium on January 17.

"This is was an incredibly distressing event for the victims and police are determined to find the men responsible and hold them accountable," Thomas said.

"We are working closely with the two victims and providing them with the support they need.

"Police believe the man was mistakenly identified as a gang member and for that reason are concerned that the offenders could have gone on to stop other vehicles that night.

"If people have experienced something similar, potentially witnessed such an event or have other information which may help our investigation, we ask that they contact us."

People with information can ring Whakatane Police on (07) 308 5255 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.