By Karen Rutherford
Locals in the Northland town
of Moerewa fear an innocent person will be killed or maimed as
in-fighting between members of The Rebels motorcycle gang comes
to a head in the town.
Moerewa's the latest New
Zealand centre to be infiltrated by The Rebels, who are
Australia’s biggest gang.
But after gunshots and a
stabbing on Friday night, locals want to reclaim their town from
Slowly but surely they've
stamped their mark across Australia and New Zealand. The Rebels’
patch extends to Moerewa and locals are close to breaking point.
“The events of the past few
days have made it unsafe for our kids and our people to walk
around the town," says Moerewa resident Peeni Henare.
Police have upped their
presence in Moerewa in the past 24 hours and say they won't
leave town until The Rebels are out.
Australia's biggest bike
gang, The Rebels claim they're simply motorcycle enthusiasts.
But on Friday night, locals
say they had to run for cover as a volley of gunshots rang out
and someone was stabbed as internal fighting between local
Rebels members came to a head.
“These were school friends
and now they are fighting each other,” says Ngahau Davis of
Kaumatua. “They have totally taken another culture that comes
not from our world and are caught up in that."
In the past two years New
Zealand police have joined their Australian counterparts in
declaring war on The Rebels, making dozens of arrests for
offences like drug trafficking.
Residents in Moerewa are now
planning a public meeting for Thursday night
“That's what we need to do as
a community – to come together and unify to deal with these
problems,” says one local woman.
"What we're trying to do is
make this safe for our families again,” says Mr Henare. “Gang
violence can't be tolerated, let alone in Moerewa."
Four people will appear in
court tomorrow. Locals hope that'll bring an end to the