A man whose death in a Lower Hutt driveway has sparked a homicide investigation had gang connections.
Michael James Mulholland, 52, was discovered in Farmer Cres in Pomare on Thursday night.
He had suffered facial wounds.
Despite efforts to resuscitate him, he died at the scene.
Hutt Valley area commander Inspector Mike Hill confirmed yesterday that Mr Mulholland had Mongrel Mob connections, though it was not clear if he was a patched member.
However, neighbours spoken to yesterday described him as affable and softly spoken.
A man, who asked not to be named, said he found Mr Mulholland on the ground.
He was still alive but in a bad way.
"I think he might have been trying to get help. I rolled him over. I tried to open his mouth up, but it was full of blood. Then I called 111."
Mr Mulholland was "a good guy," the man said.
"He'd help anyone out, he didn't have a worry in the world."
Tai Pairama, president of the Mongrel Mob's Wellington chapter, said Mr Mulholland was not a gang member.
The incident had nothing to do with gangs, he said.
"He wasn't involved. I knew him to say hello to.
"He used to mind his own beeswax, he kept to himself."
Another local said Mr Mulholland was friendly, generous and hardworking.
"He used to give us firewood all the time. He even made a bach out the back of his house. We're all shocked about it."
Detective Inspector Darrin Thomson said Mr Mulholland was survived by six brothers, three sisters and two adult children.
"Obviously it's a tragic situation, to lose a child, to lose a brother, to lose a father, and that's why we're very determined . . . to identify the facts surrounding his death."
Twenty-five staff were working on the investigation, dubbed Operation Field.
They were still piecing together the sequence of events on Thursday night.
An autopsy was expected to be held last night.
Mr Mulholland was found a short distance from his home.
"He did have some facial injuries that are of interest to us and we will be working through with a pathologist exactly what that means in the next few days." Police wanted to speak to anyone who had been in Farmer Cres between 6pm and 11pm.
Mr Mulholland's body was taken from the scene late yesterday afternoon, after a karakia.
A voice called out "Kia Ora bro," as the hearse left.
Farmer Cres came to national attention in 2009, when Mongrel Mob members were accused of terrorising a single mother into leaving her home.
It was the site of protests against Housing NZ demolitions last year, which saw 89 state homes torn down.
Wally Cotter, who lives nearby, said a patched Mongrel Mob member lived at the house where Mr Mulholland was found.
"Most of the Mob guys - the older ones that live around here - I get on well with them individually," Mr Cotter said.
"They're quite nice guys."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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