Gang link in fire inquiry?

17:00, Aug 24 2012

Gang connections are not being ruled out of a homicide investigation into the death of Wai Tangi Matenga, who was found dead in what remained of her smouldering home on Wednesday morning.

While a patched member of the Mongrel Mob has been at the scene on Holland Rd, and gang colours were reportedly a regular feature of the neighbourhood, other residents last night said they hadn't noticed a gang presence at the Fairfield house before.

"We haven't noticed colours there, no," one neighbour said. "We have seen comings and goings for typical Maori get togethers."

"We've never felt threatened here and we've been here for 30 years, although other people have because of our dog, a rottweiler."

Another neighbour said he'd heard a few wild parties and drinking at the house but hadn't noticed gang patches or colours.

Waikato Police District communications manager Andrew McAlley said: "Police are aware of a number of different scenarios and they're not ruling anything out and if anybody has any information, make it available to police."


He would not comment on claims that the Mongrel Mob had been pestering the mother-of-four or her family.

An autopsy was carried out in Auckland yesterday in order to determine the cause of death. Police had received the results but were not releasing them last night.

They would get a clearer understanding of how the Ms Matenga died once they had received the results of toxicology tests and a pathologists report.

Ms Matenga, who is yet to be formally identified, was one of nine people at the house when the fire occurred at 3.50am.

Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall of the Waikato CIB said there were about 30 police staff working on the unexplained sudden death inquiry.

ESR forensic experts and fire service investigators are also helping the investigation.

Waikato Times