It was hardly Mane Adams' comfort zone. A town hall meeting, on the vexed vax issue. Not yet vaccinated, but in good company. There were a few others.
Three hours later, he would be saying he's "over the line now."
He knows he's got to do it. Just like two of the other "bros" he thought least-likely to do it, but who had both just done it.
"I'm happy for them, that's their choice," he says. "That's what this was about. Information, education, people taking to their own questions, and getting the right answers."
That was the Black Power movement coming together in Taradale on a Sunday afternoon.
Where such gatherings of patches might normally spark calls to the police and murmurings of unlawful assemblies, this was a gathering for entirely lawful purposes - looking at Oranga Mana Ake 2070, a strategy about whanau for the ages and ensuring that the whanau are still there to deal with it.
"We are at war with the virus," says Black Power life member, university graduate and fellow, and oft-deployed gang and social issues consultant and "resultant" Denis O'Reilly, as he introduces the afternoon's fare.
The three big-hitters streamed in from their homes around the motu are epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker, MP and Maori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa Packer and Labour Government Minister for Maori Development Willie Jackson.
On the floor, there is leader Mike Te Pou,down from Whakatane, who a month ago joined O'Reilly and leaders of other gangs in a video taking the Covid battle messages to their people, or "hard-to-reach communities", as they have been called.
Available to answer questions if needed are Ngāti Kahungunu's own Dr David Tipene-Leitch and Hawke's Bay DHB executive director Māori health Patrick LeGeyt, while nurses from Choices Kahungunu Health Services, ending yet another seven-day week are on hand to give out vaccines and Covid tests for anyone that wants them.
Adams and Te Pou get together briefly afterwards, elbow-to-elbow, and Adams confirms he's "in". He's not going to be telling people what to do, but he can help "reach" possibly a thousand members of whanau whose hesitance is driven mainly by mistrust "of the system".
Adams confesses to being "a bit of a rebel", whose objection is ultimately against "the mandate".
He's not going to do what he's told just because they're telling him, so he wants answers.
Beckoning towards Jackson on the screen he talks of the whanau, and his daughter now in the nursing industry and possibly losing a job if she's not vaccinated, and the "confusion" most in the room appear to face.
"I'm not anti-vaccination," he tells the auditorium. "I'm against mandate. I want options."
"Willie," he says back to the screen. "Get me across the line, Willie."
There are some hitting messages, from Ngarewa Packer, reassuring that she knows where everyone is coming from.
"The option of doing nothing has left us a long time ago," she says, imploring the people to make sure they get the right information. "I'm no expert. I just love Māori. We will be the most that die. That is breaking my heart."
She says whanau need to take on responsibility, and if there are people in the whanau who won't be vaccinating then "wrap-around" them, being united, and not divided.
"This will mean getting our vaccinations up," she says.