New Zealand's largest gang gathered to celebrate fifty years since it's birth on the outskirts of Hastings tonight but the festivities were dampened by the news that a gang member had died and two others were missing after the accident near the Mohaka Viaduct.

Mongrel Mob members gather at the Te Aute Hotel. Photo / Paul Taylor
Mongrel Mob members gather at the Te Aute Hotel. Photo / Paul Taylor

Police kept a strong presence at the Te Aute Hotel on the fringes of Hastings in anticipation of trouble as about 400 gang members gathered to celebrate.

The day started with a five hour tour of cemeteries around the Bay. It concluded with a party at the Te Aute Hotel.

Earlier in the week, the gang had controversially been granted a liquor licence - a process opposed by police. The decision by the local liquor licensing board was made because members felt it was better to grant it with conditions than have the event go ahead anyway.

Advertisement

Police stationed near the hotel last night said that tensions were high after news of the accident near Raupanga on the road to Wairoa had filtered down to gang members.

There were police patrols at either side of SH2. They reported no incidents during the day's gathering.

The fatal crash happened near the Mohaka Viaduct at 2.40pm, while the trio and another man - who suffered moderate injuries - were travelling to the gang's anniversary party.

Mongrel Mob members ride around the Hawkes Bay area. Photo / Paul Taylor
Mongrel Mob members ride around the Hawkes Bay area. Photo / Paul Taylor

The police dive squad was tonight heading to Wairoa to begin the search for the two men believed to be trapped in the car.

A fourth man was taken to Wairoa Hospital with moderate injuries.

Police know the identity of all those in the car but their names have not yet been released.