Head Hunters plan cage fights
Members of motorcycle gang the Head Hunters have set up in a Hutt Valley building which is being run as a cage fighting club.
The Dominion Post understands the gang members moved into the new pad last month and have hosted the club's national meeting, which was attended by patched members from across the country.
Police are aware of a Head Hunters presence at the two storied building on Goodshed Rd, Upper Hutt and hold concerns about the growth of the gang throughout New Zealand in the last nine months.
A patched Head Hunters member this week denied the building was a gang house or headquarters - rather a gym setup to help "troubled youth".
Hutt Valley area commander Inspector Mike Hill said he was concerned about the intentions of the gang. "I don't understand why any law-abiding youth would want to go somewhere like this establishment.
"I encourage parents to ensure they have their eyes wide open. Would you want to take the risk with your children?"
Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy said the gang was not welcome in the city and urged people to stay away.
The new gang pad is at a leased warehouse which is slowly being converted into a fight club-branded gym called Capital Cage Club.
So far the new Upper Hutt pad has boxing bags, a rowing machine, weights gear and a cage fighting ring. It is already fitted out with surveillance equipment and members are living there. A collection of motorcycles are stored inside.
One of the men living at the building is Upper Hutt man Nathan Hemana.
He said he was the only patched member of the Head Hunters in Wellington - despite a source revealing there are at least three - and said the building was not a new gang pad.
One of the men living there has drug and firearm convictions.
Mr Hemana denied a national meeting was held there last month. "That's a load of rubbish. You'd have to be pretty stupid to set up a headquarters straight across the road from the local police station.
"At the end of the day time will tell. We've been expecting to get branded . . ."
The gym is run by the Capital Transitions Charitable Trust Board. Its two trustees are Mr Hemana and Philip McFarland, another patched Head Hunters member.
Mr Hemana also runs his debt collecting business - Capital Collectors - from the building.
The trust aimed to provide a training facility for troubled youth, he said. "This is strictly [a] business that we're trying to give back to the community as well as feed our families.
"Some troubled boys respond better to sports or physical activity than any other rehabilitative or stay out of trouble programmes."
It was hoped up to three major cage fighting events would be held at the gym each year, he said.
One of the building's three owners, Douglas Sandom, would not reveal who had leased the building or comment about any gang activity.
"We have a lease with a legal company which appears to have a legitimate purpose for being there and that's about all we can do."
Detective Inspector Bruce Good, from the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand, said gangs such as the Head Hunters and Hells Angels used gyms and fight nights or similar events to recruit new members.
The Head Hunters were involved in a range of criminal activity - drug manufacture and supply, debt collection and intimidation. "They have been around for a long period of time, having originally been formed in the late 60s, and use the patch as a means to intimidate either lawful citizens or other criminals."
Recently the gang had more than 90 patched members - predominantly in Auckland and Waikato.
- The Dominion Post