Five people have been arrested in connection with the suspicious death of Foxton man Dean Kahukiwa.
Police carried out search warrants across Shannon and Palmerston North and arrested a 28-year-old woman from Lower Hutt, a 37-year-old woman from Shannon, and a 47-year-old man from Shannon.
Two people from Palmerston North have also been charged with arson in relation to Kahukiwa’s death – a 30-year-old woman and a 40-year-old woman.
Kahukiwa’s body was found in a burning house on Reeve St in Foxton in the early hours of September 27. Firefighters were called to battle the blaze, and he was found dead inside. Police have not confirmed how long he is believed to have been dead before the fire, but said his death was suspicious.
The 32-year-old was a Mongrel Mob member, and his death came weeks after escalating gang tensions in nearby Palmerston North, where 27-year-old Hori Gage was fatally shot in his car in front of his horrified partner and children.
While he was from Lower Hutt, police said he was a resident of Foxton at the time of his death.
A whānau member told the Herald Kahukiwa was “an out-there person” who “loved his kids, loved everybody”.
“He was a . . . damn, Deanie, he was a fun guy to be around. He was like the joker of the party. . . it’s actually quite hard just knowing that he’s actually gone. Bit of a bummer for our Wellington lot . . . and for this to happen, I don’t believe this was what they say it was. He was murdered.”
She said he has several young kids, and that he was an “awesome cousin”.
Kahukiwa’s funeral was held in Petone, Lower Hutt at the start of October.
Vita Molyneux is a Wellington-based journalist who covers breaking news and stories from the capital. She has been a journalist since 2018 and joined the Herald in 2021.