Violence erupts in South Taranaki town

01:43, Jan 31 2009

A group of Mongrel Mob gang members and their families are now at the coastal Taranaki Maori settlement of Parihaka after batttling their way through Patea and Hawera in a violence-laced incident earlier tonight.

Police say the group are on a tour of the North Island, visiting the burial sites of Mogrel Mob members who had died last year.

One such person is buried at Parihika.

But when the group stopped at Patea to refuel after their drive from Hawkes Bay, they were spotted by Black Power members and there was trouble at the service station.

However continued north, but when they arrived at Hawera there was a large group of Black Power waiting for them - and the fighting erupted.

Baseball bats, axes, machetes, and knives were all involved, but although a number of vehicles suffered panel damage and had windows smashed, no-one was injuried.

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Police from Hawera, Opunake, Eltham and Patea all rushed to the scene and after about half an hour were able to get the Mongrel Mob contingent to contine on their way to Parihika.

Taranaki rural area police commander, Inspector Frank Grant, said he hoped there would be no further confrontations tomorrow.

"I hope they are able to travel through,'' he said.

"Their cars are all fuelled up - let's hope they'll get fed, then go to where they need to go.''

Locals say bad blood has been simmering for some time in Taranaki - which is Black Power territory - following the importing of Mongrel Mob gang members to work as scaffolders on energy projects.

Taranaki Daily News