A revving swarm of rampaging patched-up bikie gang members left a trail of motorway terror during a mass ride that left a bashed motorist critically injured in hospital.
Detectives are calling for witnesses and dashcam and cellphone footage as they pick up the pieces and track down men who assaulted a ute driver on the Waikato Expressway about 4.45pm on Friday.
The victim is still in hospital in a critical but stable condition.
It was initially reported that the man had been dragged from his vehicle - but police have now clarified to say that he had stopped and got out, just before he was "assaulted by a group of people".
A witness has previously said that one of the riders was clipped by a ute, but when the vehicle's occupants stopped to check on the rider they were attacked.
Police also confirmed that no firearms were involved.
"We are working hard to piece together what happened prior to our victim being assaulted, and to ultimately identify those directly involved," said Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson.
Patterson said the assaulted man and his whānau are being provided with support.
Police thanked those who have already uploaded footage of yesterday's incident but say any more electronic recordings can be uploaded via this link here: rangiriri.nzpolice.org.
"While we have investigators reviewing the information provided by the community so far, we want to ensure we have access to as much footage as possible," Patterson said.
Reports flooded into police on Friday afternoon of up to 80 Tribesmen bikes and cars in an aggressive procession.
It is understood the Tribesmen were returning to Auckland from Taupō after a national gathering and patching ceremony.
Witnesses say they were terrorising motorists, riding three and four abreast, cutting across lanes, crossing the centreline, recklessly overtaking, yelling, and blocking roads, roundabouts, and petrol stations. One video even showed a biker on the wrong side of the motorway.
Reports of reckless behaviour came from Tira, Karapiro, Tamahere, Hamilton, Manukau, and Otara.
One witness told the Herald that just south of Rangiriri, they saw a ute driving north on the expressway towards Auckland on Friday, trailed by what looked like gang members.
"I saw a [ute] and probably 60 or 70 motorbikes behind them; it looked like they were on a patrol," they said.
"I think the [ute] tried to pull over and he ran one of the head followers into the grass inside the motorway.
"Then he pulled over and opened up his door, and I saw three or four of the front people get off their motorbikes and walk over to the ute."
The witness said he didn't see what happened next.
They said one of the riders was clipped by the vehicle, but when the vehicle's occupants stopped to check on the rider they were attacked.
One woman was passed by about 30-40 motorcycles "roaring past at a ridiculous speed" when she saw someone running across traffic, appearing to be chased.
"Everyone swerved to avoid him. He was shirtless," she said.
"We drove past a red ute which was stationary with a smashed windscreen and a person was laying on the ground with wounds."
Another driver says bikies tried to force him off the road at Karapiro but he held his line.
"I will not be intimidated. They took evasive action to the opposite side of the road and continued into oncoming traffic at high speed," he said.
The Tribesmen Motorcycle Club was founded in the Bay of Plenty town of Murupara in 1980 and was one of the first organised groups to push methamphetamine in New Zealand. It still has a chapter in Murupara, but has branched out across the country, with other gang-pads in Otara, Northland, Rotorua, and Christchurch.
The gang has a history of incident-filled mass rides.
Freshly-patched Tribesmen member, 21-year-old Merc Papa-Hugh Lei-Tama Maumasi-Rihari died in November 2020 after hitting a car on State Highway 1 in North Canterbury while riding in a northbound convoy of around 70 fellow gang members.
His funeral procession caused more chaos, with more than 200 tickets being issued and bikes impounded by police responding to road complaints and burnouts.
In 2019, Dunedin police slammed the actions of a group of patched Tribesmen who rode motorbikes the wrong way up a one-way street, blocked roads, and ignored red lights.
• Anyone with information can ring 105 and quote file number 220311/5636, or else call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.