Police watch as Otangarei homicide site blessed

By Kristin Edge

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Police kept a close eye on the contingent of motorcycle gang members as they headed North after a blessing of the site on William Jones Drive. Photo/John Stone
Police kept a close eye on the contingent of motorcycle gang members as they headed North after a blessing of the site on William Jones Drive. Photo/John Stone

A convoy of 100 motorbikes and vehicles tailed by police descended on Otangarei for a blessing at the site where a Northland man was murdered.

Moses Noor Mahanga died of a gunshot wound last Tuesday as he sat in the driver's seat of a car parked in William Jones Drive near the entrance to Fishbone Park.

While witnesses reported seeing a person running from the scene at 11pm that night, with what appeared to be a firearm after gunshots were heard, no arrests have been made.

A tangi for Mr Mahanga was held at Waiomio Marae yesterday and on their way north mourners diverted into Otangarei for a blessing and to lay a wreath.

A large number gang members and their supporters on about 70 motorbikes and in 30 vehicles gathered at the site about 10am yesterday. A local minister blessed the site and said a prayer.

Community leader Martin Kaipo said the visit had been discussed between different groups and police were notified before yesterday and there were no problems.

"A lot of locals came out for the blessing and for them it's part of the healing too. We respect they had to come here and that's part of the cultural protocol," Mr Kaipo said.

"Police are doing a thorough investigation and our community want this resolved quickly."

One driver in the convoy spotted doing burnouts was summonsed to appear in court on a charge of sustained loss of traction and had his vehicle impounded.

Whangarei police Senior Sergeant John Fagan said the group was monitored by police as they travelled north and during their ride through Otangarei.

"We wanted to make sure the Otangarei community were not intimidated by an increased presence of this group of people."

Head of the investigation Detective Inspector Kevin Burke said it was believed there were witnesses to the fatal shooting who had not come forward.

"We still believe there may be people who were in the area at the time who have not come forward."

Mr Burke renewed calls for sightings of the the car Mr Mahanga had been using, a 2010 white Mitsubishi Lancer with black mags, and said officers now called for anyone who had seen a second car - a small grey vehicle - that was also in the area.

"We would like to identify the occupants of that vehicle and speak with them."

Anyone with information can contact the Whangarei Police Station on 09 430 4500, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

- Northern Advocate

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