Hundreds of patched members of the Killer Beez gang came to Te Ore Ore marae last weekend to participate in a haka wananga [educational meeting to learn a haka].
Leader of the Masterton district Killer Beez chapter, who the Times-Age has agreed not to name, said the rumours that the event had been a patching ceremony were unfounded but acknowledged it took some convincing for Te Ore Ore Marae to open its doors to the gathering.
“They were told not to give us the key, but one of our kaumatua came out to support us and wrote a letter to the marae.
“And he was there on Friday watching the haka.”
Kaumatua Mike Kawana said the gang members had invited him and his wife to attend the wananga.
He said Te Ore Ore marae hasn’t had bad experiences with gangs in the past.
“Our marae is open to everyone; from my perspective, they’re still our whanau [family], and it’s their marae too.
“A lot of those young people are aware of their heritage, which is a good thing; I think that will serve them later in life,” Kawana said.
The Killer Beez leader said the haka, composed by a member while in prison, spoke about brotherhood.
“It’s about representing who we are and what we’re about – bikes, family, and brotherhood. The police warned the community about some trouble, but not one of us got arrested.”
He said he grew up seeing his uncles fighting but said the next generation is different.
“We’ve changed. It’s not about getting into trouble and getting locked up.”
Moka Namana, brother of a high-ranking member of Killer Beez Masterton chapter, said many of the men had been barred from their own marae, so to be allowed at Te Ore Ore was meaningful to them.
Police confirmed the gathering was monitored closely, and there were no arrests relating to the activities of the Killer Beez gang members in the area over the weekend.
However, police did serve several outstanding fines and warrants to individual gang members and seized five motorbikes after complaints of driving behaviour.
by Mary Argue.