Hundreds of gang members, family and loved ones have gathered in Foxton for the tangi of Head Hunter William “Bird” Hines.
Patched members from a number of different gangs including Head Hunters, Greazy Dogs, Nomads and Hu Hu MC have been part of the tangi today, which briefly blocked State Highway 1.
On Saturday, around 100 gangsters made the 500km procession journey on motorcycles from the Head Hunters’ East Auckland headquarters to Foxton for the tangi at Motuiti marae.
Hines comes from the Foxton area and is being buried alongside other family members at the Motuiti Marae urupā at Hīmatangi.
There is a large police presence surrounding the funeral. Photo / Bevan Conley
Police, including the Eagle helicopter, will be maintaining a significant presence in the town today and as gang members and other mourners begin to travel home after the funeral.
Traffic management and lane restrictions have been put in place outside the marae.
“The current focus is on Foxton and the tangi proceedings occurring there this morning,” said Assistant Commissioner Mike Johnson.
Hundreds of gang members have gathered for the funeral. Photo / Bevan Conley
Johnson said there were no significant incidents overnight but that officers were ready to respond if needed.
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Te Awahou Foxton Community Board member John Girling told RNZ that gang members have been respectful so far, and he hopes they stay that way.
He said they had mostly left the town alone.
“There were a few motorbikes in town at around midday [on Sunday], and I haven’t heard or seen any since,” he said.
“The Motuiti marae is a little bit out of town and I think most of them are there. Hopefully if they treat it as a funeral there’ll be no problems.”
The body of Head Hunter boss William Hines is being driven in this van during a mass ride to Foxton. Photo / Hayden Woodward
More than 100 police officers were deployed to monitor Saturday’s funeral procession.
During the procession, police impounded one motorcycle, seized a stolen car and several people were arrested related to the seizures.
Police also gave out several tickets and failed one person on an evidential breath test.
Before they got on their way, gang members performed a haka in front of a big crowd gathered at the pad that also included gangsters from the Killer Beez and King Cobras.
Hundreds of people lined Marua Rd.
Greazy Dog gang members have also been seen in Foxton for the funeral.
Gang members have gathered at Motuiti Marae urupā at Hīmatangi for the burial. Photo / Bevan Conley
Johnson said conversations were had with Head Hunter members to let them know exactly how they are expected to behave on public roads.
“Our expectations are very clear around no tolerance for unlawful activity that puts the wider community at risk.
“Community safety is paramount for police.”
The Herald earlier reported that police met last week over fears about how the ride would progress while under political pressure from the new Government.
Traffic management and lane restrictions are in place around the marae where William "Bird" Hines' tangi is taking place. Photo / Bevan Conley
Hines was serving a 17-year prison sentence for running a methamphetamine syndicate, but was released by the Parole Board late last year on compassionate grounds.
He was living with type 2 diabetes, which required dialysis every second day and resulted in limb amputation, heart disease and end-stage renal failure.
Hines was released from prison shortly before his 70th birthday, and had been living with a family member who provided 24/7 care in his final months.
A previous Parole Board decision noted Hines wanted to “make peace with his whānau as a consequence of his offending history on them”.
Caitlan Johnston is a breaking news reporter based in Waikato. She joined the Herald in 2022.
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