Regional | Māori

Gisborne leader calls for unity after birthday tragedy

“Te Tai Rāwhiti, he pērā, ka whiti mai te rā”

The Gisborne community is still in shock following a tragedy that took place over the weekend but leaders say the people will stick together.

Two people are dead and three more in Gisborne Hospital following a brawl at a 21st birthday party at a Lytton Rd home in Gisborne on Saturday night. Police have launched a homicide investigation.

Te Poho o Rāwiri Marae chairperson Harata Gibson says her thoughts are with the whānau and wider community.

“There is a deep sadness within our whānau, hapū, iwi, throughout the region, following these needless deaths.”

“This is a big day for the whānau pani, making arrangements for the tangihanga, which will be the main thing and I think we must give the whānau space.”

The Police homicide investigation continues. Credit: Newshub

One of the victims is believed to have Black Power connections while another has connections to the Mongrel Mob. But police say the incident isn’t gang-related.

Gibson says the rohe must come together in solidarity and aroha. She was quick to point out that this isn’t what Gisborne is known for.

“This is a one-off incident and we have got to be thankful for that, that it was just a once-off. Kāore tēnei he momo (This isn’t representative of Gisborne.).”

“Kāore he kōrero i tua atu i te āwhina tētahi i tētahi, aroha ana tētahi i tētahi, manaakitia tētahi i tētahi, wērā o ngā kupu.”

“There is nothing better than helping one another, loving one another and looking after one another. Those types of words.”

What we know so far:

March 23 March, afternoon:

21st celebrations start.

11.30pm: Police called

Police arrive at what they call a ‘disorder event’, allegedly involving about 100 people on Lytton Road in Elgin, Gisborne.

The Armed Offenders Squad attends the scene, and emergency services attempt to resuscitate two people who were pronounced dead.

Three others are taken to Gisborne Hospital in a critical condition, and as a precaution, the hospital is placed into lockdown for parts of the following day.

March 24, 9.26am: Police statement

Police announce a homicide investigation as well as larger police presence in the coming days across the Gisborne area.

The alleged homicide scene is still cordoned off.

3.34pm: Subsequent Police statement

The condition of the three men in hospital is revealed, a 45-year-old and a 21-year-old in serious but stable condition, and a critically injured 30 year old in intensive care.

Police guard outside Gisborne Hospital. Credit: Newshub

Police stand guard at Gisborne Hospital. A spokesperson announces one person has been arrested and is assisting authorities with enquiries. Initial indications are that many whānau were present for the birthday celebrations when two uninvited guests arrived.

While authorities don’t believe it to be gang-related, they do believe gang members “were involved”.

4pm: media conference

Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz give a joint press conference in which they confirm the lockdown at Gisborne Hospital has now lifted.

This is also the first confirmation that knives were involved in the altercation, which has left two people dead and three in hospital.

March 25, 7:43am: Police statement

Police announce a 29-year-old man is set to appear in Gisborne District court on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The homicide investigation continues.