An influx of gang members is expected in Whanganui today for the tangi of the victim of Tuesday's fatal shooting.

And the police have boosted their numbers in the city and brought in the Eagle helicopter to provide "support and assistance".

Kevin Ratana, 27, was shot dead on Puriri St, Castlecliff about 9.40am on Tuesday morning, amid reports of a gang clash in the suburb.

The offenders remain outstanding, however it was believed those involved were known to each other and were known to police.


Senior gang leaders are working collaboratively with police and providing assistance as police work to identify the people responsible for Ratana's death.

Whanganui area commander Inspector Nigel Allan said today that police expect that a number of gang members and associates will be travelling to Whanganui for the tangi.

Puriri Street was cordoned off after a fatal shooting in the suburb of Castlecliff on Tuesday. Photo / Bevan Conley
Puriri Street was cordoned off after a fatal shooting in the suburb of Castlecliff on Tuesday. Photo / Bevan Conley

"We want to reassure the Whanganui community that there will be a strong and visible police presence across the city in the coming days, including additional patrols," he said.

"Police's Eagle helicopter will also be in the city today and tomorrow, providing support and assistance as required.

"We want Whanganui residents to feel reassured by the increased police presence, not alarmed.

"Our staff are appropriately trained and equipped to deal with any situation which may arise and we are committed to ensuring that members of our community feel safe and are safe."

It was originally reported that Ratana, a Mongrel Mob member, had died protecting children and other occupants when rival gang members turned up at his home.

The slain young man had two sons, 7 and 3.


Castlecliff residents who live near the property have expressed their fears of a full-blown gang turf war in retaliation for the death.

Tensions between gangs had been simmering for months with younger Mongrel Mob members trying to encroach on traditional rival gang Black Power's territory, one resident said.

However, both acting Mayor Jenny Duncan and the police say the public is in no danger and police have adequate numbers of staff to deal with any escalation.

• Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact Whanganui Police on 06 349 0600 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.