A violent riot involving Mongrel Mob and Black Power is a disgraceful example of the mistaken belief that gangs own their turf, police say.
A sword, knives, wooden bats and planks of wood were used in a 3pm melee yesterday after about 20 Black Power members took exception to Opotiki Mongrel Mob members wearing patches in Whakatane.
The crowd of onlookers in King St, Kopeopeo, included students on their way home from nearby schools.
The Daily Post understands the body of an Opotiki Mongrel Mob member had been lying at Brent Willetts Funeral Home awaiting a report by the Whakatane coroner.
Senior Sergeant Bruce Jenkins said the coroner had been delayed and patched Mongrel Mob members had been walking through Kopeopeo awaiting the body's release.
Whakatane has for years been known as a Black Power town while outlying areas such as Kawerau and Taneatua are considered Mongrel Mob strongholds.
Mr Jenkins said the incident was disappointing for the community.
Police had done a lot of work over the past few years to make Whakatane a safer place.

"This is yet another example of why gangs shouldn't be tolerated in New Zealand and how they mistakenly think they own communities." Local gangs had disgraced themselves, he said.
Two uniformed police officers had been at the funeral parlour speaking with grieving Mob members but left moments before the fight erupted. A woman, who did not wish to be named, said she saw a group of about four or five Black Power members waiting at the end of the funeral parlour driveway as she drove past.
Terrified Kopeopeo shopkeepers described the clash as "tribal" and "warlike".
"It was so loud and the language was like nothing I have ever heard before," said one shop owner.
A shop front window was smashed and a hole made in the exterior wall of another.
Tables outside a cafe were overturned as those involved in the fight threw things at each other and charged their opponents.
One of the men was armed with an ornamental samurai sword that police say was stolen from a local store.
Police say pieces of timber and a tyre iron were also used.
Whakatane High School students ran the distance between the school grounds and King St as they were released for the day.
A student who saw much of the fight said he could hear the bellowing as soon as he walked from his last class.
"It was really loud and there was heaps of banging - you could tell straight away there was something pretty big going on.
"I saw this mean-as sword and a couple of the fellas had hammers in their hands," the student said.
"I think one of the guys wanted the glass from the window that got smashed 'cause he was hard out trying to smash it."
When the fight broke out only one policeman was on the scene but reinforcements were quick to arrive, including a police wagon.
Minutes later - and further down the road - a second scuffle broke out between two police officers and a Black Power associate who had been involved in the initial gang clash.
Two high school students ran over to other police and told them their colleagues needed help as the man was "going nuts".
Whakatane High School principal Malcolm Harison turned up to disperse students who had stopped to watch the clash.
He described the fight as "completely unnecessary".
Meanwhile, Mr Jenkins said four men were arrested.
They were charged with rioting and possession of offensive weapons.
"Basically we locked up who we could at the time."