Rebels Motorcycle gang move into Kaikohe
CONTROVERSIAL: The Rebels attracted police and media attention when they attempted to set up in Whangarei.
The Rebels motorcycle gang look determined to establish themselves in Northland after buying property just outside Kaikohe.
The gang tried to set up in Whangarei with a grand opening including a bouncy castle at a pad in the industrial area of Whangarei in April last year.
But constant pressure from police and the public forced them to leave the leased building in Porowini Ave.
Nearly a year later, the gang, with strong links in the criminal underworld, have bought a property on Mangakahia Rd, Kaikohe, and look set to base their operations from there.
The Northern Advocate understands the Rebels paid cash for the industrial piece of land, opposite the saleyards, and have been visiting the property for about two months.
A top Northland police officer has vowed the gang will be subjected to the same pressure in a bid to force them out of the region.
Detective inspector Karyn Malthus said it was a concern the gang was persisting with having a presence in Northland.
"Police recognise they have criminal intentions and we will do our best to get them out of Northland."
She said there was also pressure from the local community to get them out of town.
Gangs remained a police focus locally and nationally, she said.
Northland police had been quick to put the lid on gang tensions on Waitangi Day and the lead-up to it in the Bay of Islands.
Kaikohe police chief Senior Sergeant Arthur Mclean said police and the community were disappointed the gang had moved to the town. Kaikohe faced enough challenges already.
"We are bitterly disappointed. It's the last thing we need here," Mr McLean said.
"Police and the community absolutely don't want them in town in a place that could potentially be developed as a pad."
Police had noted people moving in and out of a small office-like building on the property over the past few months.
"It has happened and they are here. We will be monitoring them and be keeping a real close eye on their activities."
Far North District Council mayor Wayne Brown was unaware of the gang setting up in Kaikohe.
Mr Brown said it was not a worry and "not even news".
Mr Brown added: "If they were in every town, it would be an issue. If the community board see it as a problem and raise it with the council, then we can go from there. It's a community board issue.
"People choose to live where they live. Councils can't determine where they live."
Chairman of the Kaikohe/Hokianga community board Win Stephens was shocked but not surprised the Rebels had moved to Kaikohe.
"There have been a bunch of motorbike lunatics hooning up and down the streets and highways. They are there all the time now," Mr Stephens said.
"I think wherever they move in New Zealand is an issue ... they should be taken offshore.
"We just don't want these people. They do nothing that is constructive and they do nothing for the community."
He said the only people that were pleased to see gang members move in were gang members. He would be voicing his concerns to the Far North District Council.