Rifles, shotguns, and a semi-automatic firearm were some of the 13 weapons seized by Northland police at a Hokianga address linked to the Tribesmen gang.
The large haul is one of the many blows the region's police force have dealt to organised crime halfway through a six-month national police operation launched in February.
Operation Tauwhiro aimed to curb gang violence, guns, and organised crime. The operation also provided police with an opportunity to disrupt violent offenders, prevent crime and victimisation, and engage with communities.
Three search warrants led to the seizure of 16 firearms, including a semi-automatic weapon, in Whangārei and Kerikeri earlier in March.
The same searches turned up a pair of grenades, which on further examination deemed them to be inert.
Overall, Northland police have seized 64 firearms, more than $35,000 in cash, and made 42 arrests.
Detective Inspector Bridget Doell said the operation showed police commitment towards preventing criminals from obtaining firearms.
"We want everyone to feel safe and our focus is working with communities and our partners to reduce and prevent the impacts of organised crime and gun violence in our communities."
Northland's seized firearms form 12 per cent of the national total of 522 weapons taken by police during Operation Tauwhiro.
The arrests made in the region during the first three months of the operation made up 9 per cent of the 476 arrests made nationwide via Tauwhiro.
Police Association president Chris Cahill labelled the results to come out of Operation Tauwhiro, so far, as "really positive" but kept them in perspective.
"The problem is we don't know how many firearms gangs have, so it's important we don't take our foot off the pedal."
He said the successful police raids sent out a powerful message to gang members with guns.
"Half the battle is they think they can drive around with firearms and not get caught but police are sending the message that you do get caught and there are consequences."
It was up to the courts to back up the powerful message to armed gangs, Cahill said.
"They have to understand and react to the serious threat gang members with guns pose to their communities."
He said there had been instances in the past where courts around the country had not factored in changes in society when making deliberations on firearm violence.
Information released to the Northern Advocate under the Official Information Act revealed 15 adult gangs with 405 members resided in Northland in March 2021, according to the National Gang List (NGL).
Gang membership in Northland has increased by around 5 per cent since 2017 when there were 385 members.
The slight increase was the smallest growth in gang members recorded around the country.
The next lowest was a 35.57 per cent increase recorded in the Central police district, and the highest was in the Tasman, where 2017 saw 68 gang members compared with 194.
There are more gang members in the Bay of Plenty than anywhere else in New Zealand.
Police data revealed there were 1493 gang members in the Bay of Plenty in April.
Nationally, the number of gang members across the country had increased 49.78 per cent, or from 5343 to 8003 people.
Last year saw 679 crimes take place in the region where the offender was named on the on the NGL - a 27 per cent decrease compared to 2015. Between January and March this year, 66 offences by people on the NGL occurred in Northland.
However, it's important to note this data relied on the successful identification of an alleged offender.
And not all offences have an identified offender as they may still be under investigation or the identity of an offender was never uncovered.
University of Canterbury sociologist and New Zealand gangs expert Dr Jarrod Gilbert said the NGL numbers were of "little value".
"We have to be very careful stating them as fact because they're likely to be highly inaccurate. It's very easy to get on [the list] and very difficult to get off," he said.
The Gang Intelligence Centre recorded patched and prospective members of adult gangs on the list.
The list was not definitive in terms of gang membership and its primary purpose was not to count membership numbers or be a reporting tool.
Instead, information was collected to maintain oversight of the gang environment and to assist prevention and intervention opportunities.
While sting on firearms is being left to police, Doell said there were steps the public – more specially lawful gun holders - could take to prevent gangs getting their hands on weapons.
"We know that these groups target firearms and it is important that gun owners ensure that they have appropriate measures in place to prevent being an easy target of gun theft, such as securing any firearms in a locked and hidden safe."
Adult gangs listed in Northland:
- Bandidos MC
- Black Power
- Filthy Few MC
- Greazy Dogs MC
- Head Hunters MC
- Hells Angels MC
- Highway 61 MC
- Killer Beez
- King Cobra
- Mongrel Mob
- New Zealand Nomad
- Outcasts MC
- Rebels MC
- Tribesmen MC