Chaos erupted outside the Whanganui District Court yesterday morning with a brawl between associates of the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs.
An abundance of security staff and police officers intervened as tempers flared after a defendant's plea of not guilty to the charge of murdering Kevin Ratana.
After the plea, the defendant began yelling obscenities and those in support of Ratana were quick to respond, standing up and shouting "sieg heil" among other things.
Police and security personnel returned four defendants to their cells and removed Mongrel Mob associates who were barking like dogs from the court room.
They were met by Black Power associates outside and that is when the fight erupted.
Senior Sergeant Shayne Wainhouse said two males had been arrested after the altercation.
"One has been charged with assault and one with disorderly behaviour," Wainhouse said.
"Police had an increased presence there because of the expected tension between both parties."
Before the brawl broke out, seven men charged with murdering Ratana appeared before Justice Simon France at a call-over conducted via audio visual link.
Five of them have been confirmed by police as being Black Power members.
Two of the men pleaded not guilty and the remaining five are yet to enter a plea as their defence counsel await further disclosure.
Justice France granted them extended interim name suppression and they will all appear in the court again on February 7for a case review hearing.
Ratana was shot outside his Puriri St home in Whanganui on August 21 as he left to go to the gym.
Known as Kastro, Ratana was an aspiring rapper and patched member of the Mongrel Mob gang. His tangi was held on the River Rd in Parikino on August 27.
It attracted an increased police presence, including an Eagle helicopter, as gang numbers in Whanganui swelled to more than 100.
Ratana left behind two sons and a partner.