Police have completed a significant phase of their investigation into reports of a raucous gang funeral procession through West Auckland that took place despite Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, but there have been no arrests.
"Despite thorough inquiries being conducted, including reviewing CCTV footage, police were unable to identify specific individuals found to be in breach of alert level restrictions," said Waitematā West Police acting Inspector Nick Poland.
"At this stage, no charges have been laid or infringements issued."
A member of the public reported "complete carnage" on Friday, October 1, as patched gang members accompanying a hearse in Henderson were seen doing burnouts on motorbikes.
At the time, Auckland's alert level restrictions allowed for no more than 10 people to attend a funeral.
One witness noted: "A hearse drove past with 50 full cars behind it and patched gang members hanging out the cars to gangster music in Te Atatu Peninsula and Henderson."
The witness described it as an hour-and-a-half procession.
Kai Tipene of Tipene Funerals in Henderson, which is the subject of TVNZ series The Casketeers, acknowledged the hearse was surrounded by motorbikes when it departed for Waikumete Cemetery. But the funeral itself - both inside the funeral home and at the cemetery - did not include the entourage and was compliant with lockdown restrictions, she said.
"There were definitely a lot of bikes. I'm not going to lie about that," Tipene told the Herald at the time. "We get given access to go in [the cemetery] and whatever happens outside is out of our control."
Tipene said she didn't see any disruption during the drive, but added, "whatever happened behind us I can't tell you".
It wasn't the first time crowds had gathered at spaces outside the funeral home's control, she said.
"There's been many families that have wanted to be present with their loved one inside the funeral home but they can't and that's just unfortunate for a lot of families at this time," Tipene said. "Whether they're inside their car, all we know is when we're travelling to the cemetery there's a lot of people who simply want to say goodbye to their loved one."
On the day of the funeral, police confirmed that they responded to reports of a gathering outside a Henderson funeral home.
"Those gathered were spoken to and reminded about the rules at alert level 3," police said, adding that the people they spoke to were "compliant" and moved on.
It was later, police said, that they received reports of "some groups that are gathering in various locations in West Auckland".