Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana wants to stop gang violence in Hawke's Bay by turning "gang colours to hi-vis colours".
Māori leaders around the region have come out in support of Eastern District Commander Superintendent Tania Kura's frank admission that police cannot stop the gangs on their own.
"This is well beyond police," she said on Tuesday.
"We need the help of the community and the whanau."
A brawl between rival gangs Mongrel Mob and Black Power that ended with shots fired in the fray in Taradale's main street on Sunday has prompted the calls for change.
The incident is one of a number of high-profile and seemingly escalating clashes between the two gangs in Napier in recent months.
• Shot fired during gang brawl in Taradale hit a car seat with child in it
• Man injured, gunshots fired in Taradale during mass gang brawl
• Napier to have community meeting after Taradale gang shooting
• Taradale gang brawl: Man injured by gunshot appears in court on firearm charge
Tomoana said gangs had been an ongoing issue for years and would be a "forever problem", but he saw hope for a more stable secure future.
He said that future meant forming relationships with gang leaders to work together, rather than isolating them, and ensuring Māori families stayed healthy, strong and vibrant.
"We want people living together and longer."
Ngāti Kahungunu's most recent strategy it has implemented is "Takitimu Housing", which encourages young people to join a trade training programmes to become future workers needed to build homes in the coming years.
"We want to change the gang colours to hi-vis colours. Give us your kids and let us train them for the future."
Iwi Promotions Manager Te Rangi Huata said the interesting thing about hi-vis was that it represented "safety, hard work, wellbeing, active lifestyle, walking, jogging, cycling, all affiliations with good life and wellbeing".
Hastings ambassador and Flaxmere councillor Henare O'Keefe said change needed to focus on the upbringing of youth in Hawke's Bay.
"Gangs have been an issue in Hawke's Bay for decades, but I have noticed an increase in numbers," O'Keefe said.
"The young fraternity, I call them wannabes - wanting attention, mana."
The question of why young people were attracted to the gang lifestyle was not one he could answer, but those who were already there might be beyond help now, he said.
"Maybe we say we are writing you [gang members] off and try the next generation, the ones we can."
He said "good, consistent, quality parenting" was a big part of finding a solution.
Going back to church, an environment that's positive and inspiring, was another possible solution, O'Keefe said.
"Tania Kura is right. This is everyone's problem. We need to step up to the plate.
"Let's try the evangelical approach. What have we got to lose? It could literally be a godsend."
Louise Hutchinson, Waikato Mongrel Mob public relations liaison, said changes needed to be made within gangs, as well as from outside.
"Gangs need to solve it themselves. They need to have a hui, a korero.
"Don't ostracise them, they have been ostracised all their lives and that has solved nothing."
A 25-year-old man shot in the Taradale brawl appeared in the Hastings District Court on Wednesday charged with possession of an offensive weapon, and unlawful assembly.
In court the man, who has interim name suppression, had injuries to his face, a white eye-patch over his eye, and a cast on his arm.
He was remanded in custody to reappear in the Napier District Court via audio-visual link on February 12.
He has interim name suppression.