Teenager Kaine Lewis lost his life after a savage attack with poles, sticks and possibly a knife, a jury in the High Court at Rotorua was told today.

Opening the Crown's case, senior prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch told of the beating the 17-year-old from Kaingaroa received during a bloody clash between members and supporters of the Tribesmen and Mongrel Mob gangs at Murupara on October 2, 2009.

Kaine Lewis died within two hours of the attack.

On trial for his murder and participating in an organised criminal group are Mongrel Mob gang members Neville Duff, 33, Joshua-Lesley Whitu, 18, David Te Wharerangi Rewi, 25, Jerome Takere Rutene and Hemi Winitana, both 19. A sixth young man, Norton Taoho, 19, has already admitted the murder and Jarrod Tumoana Rewi, 19, was discharged on the murder count but admitted to participating in an organised criminal group.


Mr Pilditch referred to the Tribesmen as the "yellows" and the Mongrel Mob as the "reds", saying there had been a long-standing animosity between the two.

Mr Pilditch told of a series of attacks that began during the evening of October 2 when the "yellows" were at one party and the "reds" at another in Murupara's Tawa St.

The first was outside the "yellows' party, where bottles were thrown, abuse exchanged and a Mongrel Mob vehicle's windscreen smashed.

He said that Mongrel Mob members Rewi and Rutene drove to Galatea, some distance away, to find guns with which to confront the Tribesmen.

Unsuccessful, they returned to the "reds"' party at Taoho's home, where a plan was hatched to 'have it out' with the Tribesmen.

Duff drove the Rewis, Whitu and Winitana to the other party, where words and gang slogans were exchanged with some of the "yellows" saying "come on, have a one on one, let's fight it out".

The accused were brandishing a variety of weapons including poles, wooden stakes and golf clubs while Taoho sat in the vehicle revving it before driving at people in the vicinity. After a girl was pulled to safety her friend grabbed a weapon and smashed the truck's windscreen.

The accused returned to Taoho's home where they were confronted and challenged by Tribesmen members and associates who had grabbed fence posts and ripped off palings on the way.

A truck was driven at them, scattering them.

It appeared Kaine Lewis, who was wearing a yellow hoody, may have been struck by the vehicle and become isolated from the others.

He was knocked to the ground by the accused wielding poles, pieces of wood and something sharp, possibly a knife. Duff and Rewi were also seen to assault Kaine Lewis while Rutene, who was armed with a stick, chased others.

Kaine Lewis was repeatedly hit around his body and at least twice in the head, crushing his skull.

It was these injuries that proved fatal. By the time he reached Rotorua Hospital he was dead.

Mr Pilditch contended Kaine Lewis' death was not an isolated act, and although it was not known who struck the fatal blow the jury would hear evidence that made it clear the accused acted together.

The trial is before Justice John Priestley and is expected to run for at least three weeks.