A group of teenagers have struck fear into a 23-year-old shopkeeper after a targeted attack on his shop.
Gaurav Dewitt was set upon by the youths late on Tuesday evening at his takeaway shop, Taste of the Island.
The three offenders abused the shopkeeper, tried to provoke him into a fight and finally threw a bike at him.
"It was closing time so I was just mopping the floors. I tried to scare them off with the mop but they kept wanting to fight me," Mr Dewitt said.
He managed to shield himself with the mop and was uninjured during the altercation.
However, "repeated attacks" have left him ridden with angst and wanting to leave the area. He said the three boys are related and aged between 15 and 17 and are well known to police.
"I have had a lot of trouble with these boys in the past and have made a number of statements to police about them."
He said they were trespassed from the store after a number of incidents involving swearing, threatening, stealing and damage. After Tuesday's incident, the youths went to a playground opposite the shop until police arrived. "They took off when the cops arrived."
The shopkeeper said he wants to leave Maraenui but is staying to help his uncle run the shop.
"It continues happening, it happens about twice a week with different youths in the area.
"I'm very fearful at work, I don't want to be here anymore."
The Indian national moved to Hawke's Bay from his homeland in 2011 and to Maraenui in May.
He said because of the large gang presence in the area, the young people were a problem.
Maraenui ward councillor Maxine Boag said she agreed there is a youth problem in the suburb.
She said there was a high population of Maori and Pacific Island youth who were not in employment, education or training.
"It's an indictment of the central government's ability to support our youth.
"This latest incident is typical of a systemic problem across New Zealand."
She said government needs to start challenging low-income communities and start more education initiatives.
The councillor will facilitate a meeting today between Mr Dewitt and the local Maori warden to ensure he feels safe in his shop.
She said while it is a known gang area, a lot of the older gang members had been involved in education initiatives to help the youth break the cycle.
A police spokesman said officers have had a few problems in that shop over the years.
"The incident is still being investigated. Police are waiting to review the CCTV footage to hopefully identify the boys and action will be taken from there."