Members of Black Power and Mongrel Mob congregated again in Napier on Wednesday night, just a few hundred metres from where bullets were sprayed in a drive-by gang shooting nearly three weeks ago.
But this time the congregation was an embrace, a hongi between two rivals to be specific, as members of both gangs sought to find a solution to an increase in public violence and tensions in the city.
The so-called public meeting at East Pier Hotel in Ahuriri, called by National Party MPs Simon Bridges and Louise Upston, brought roughly 100 people together to talk through the issues.
Potential solutions floated included stronger policing in Napier, a more nuanced look at emergency housing's role in the upheaval, and even a return to compulsory military training.
Since the shooting outside the Thirsty Whale nightclub in West Quay about 12.30am on February 28, two people have been charged with wounding with intent to injure and firearms charges.
A police search of CCTV footage found a third person was shot multiple times by bullets, as well as a Thirsty Whale Bar staff member and another man.
Upston, National's caretaker MP for Hawke's Bay, said the region's biggest area of concern was gangs.
She said her concern related to gang activities rather than the gangs themselves, particularly the escalation of violence and use of firearms.
"This can't continue."
Bridges, National's justice spokesman, said he regularly received emails from Hawke's Bay residents and others around the country concerned about the rise of gang numbers and increased firearm usage.
"People don't feel as safe and feel scared in a way they hadn't before."
He said the solution couldn't simply be to "lock them up and throw away the key" as there were complex social issues which played a part.
Common threads which emerged from the 100 or so crowd included reduced police capacity and slow response times following the downgrading of the Napier police station, as well as increased intimidation from "people wearing patches" in places like the Marewa shops.
At least two women spoke about being confronted with firearms, with one adding such incidents were hurting the region's reputation and tourism industry.
Several gang members in attendance expressed their own concerns about such incidents, saying it was the younger generation coming through that were causing the trouble.
A Black Power member said the gangs themselves were trying to "clean it up" but faced increasing pressure from new gangs coming into the country which some saw as a "threat".
A member of the Mongrel Mob agreed, and said he felt certain gangs were easy scapegoats and were being picked on.
Both spoke of their desire to see their youngsters lead better lives outside of the gang and they wanted more government support to do so.
One woman, a member of the recently formed all female Wāhine Toa, said she was proud to wear her patch as well as point to her university degree and work that she did for the Ministry of Justice.
"Not all gang members are bad people," she said.
"Not all members agree with what the younger ones are doing."
Meth addiction played a large part in recent tensions and she said the challenge was helping get people off it.
"We have been trying for years to solve problems in amongst ourselves.
"Every family has problems."
Cherie Kurarangi, another member of Wāhine Toa, spoke about some of the programmes she had launched to encourage better education and address drug addiction issues.
She also believed the gangs had to be involved in the solution and called for a hui with different leaders.
One woman who lived in an area with a large gang presence said hardly anyone spoke about the issue of housing and the sheer number of people forced into motels as the housing crisis worsened.
She also questioned why a meeting like this hadn't been held in the weeks following the shooting in Tamatea last year.
"What about us in the suburbs," she asked.
"[Is it] only because the shooting was in a $1.5 million suburb?"
Bridges said any shooting incident was terrible and shouldn't be happening.
He repeatedly asked the audience throughout the night, including the gang members present, if they thought the situation was worse and what the solution might be.
Many responded by saying the Government and those in power needed to listen and organise a meeting with heads of different gangs.
Other solutions floated by those in the crowd included better education and keeping kids in school, as well as better support for young men as they transitioned from school to further study or employment.
One woman also encouraged a compulsory military service to instil a sense of discipline and united pride in New Zealand, while another called for loan sharks to be targeted.
Former Minister of Police and Napier MP Stuart Nash was unable to attend the meeting as he was in the South Island, but said he sympathised with people feeling unsafe and the government was working on the issue.
He said there were more police on the ground now than when the Government first came into power and the Eastern District would see an increase of 50 police over the next few years.
"I think we are being really proactive.
"We've changed gun legislation […] and have increased the penalty for gun crime."
He agreed housing was a part of the issue and that was why the government had prioritising building new homes.
"When you're in a motel that's no place to call home so gang pads become more attractive to younger people.
"It's not just a policing issue, it's a community issue."