Game of Thones solution to Gang bloodshed in Northland

In the HBO series Game of Thrones, the new Queen is asked if she will reopen the fighting pits. She had closed them down at the same time that she had freed all the slaves when she successfully conquered their Masters’ city. She is revolted at the blood sport but over time she realises that they are an essential part of the culture of the city and that she will do more harm than good if she keeps them closed.

In Northland, there is a similar moral dilemma. On the one hand there are gangs killing each other and on the other hand, there is a violent but less lethal proposed solution to the gang rivalry.

A boxing tournament has been touted as a way to stop the bloodshed between gangs in Northland following five gang-related deaths.

The deaths in Northland over the past year have drawn the various gangs together for a “fight night”.

Members of the Mongrel Mob, Head Hunters, Black Power, Nomad and Mangu Kaha met in Otangarei yesterday to discuss the tournament and pay their respects to a fallen gang member.

The gang members, most of who will fight against each other next month, gathered at the site where Head Hunter gang member 25-year-old Moses Noor Mahanga died of a gunshot wound while he sat in a car on William Jones Dr in October last year.

The Te Tai Tokerau Fight Night boxing event to be held next month at the Portland Recreation Centre has a motto of “Leave it in the ring“.

There will be 20 fights on the card. Police say they are aware of the event and will have a boosted presence in the rural area on the night when in excess of 250 gang members are expected to gather.

Event spokesman and ex-gang member Tokomauri Hoterene, of Otangarei, said there had been enough bloodshed and it was time the gangs came together and showed unity.

“This event is where we can do that. We want to get people aware there are better ways than just shooting each other. There are better ways to settle disputes and ensuring whanau go home to their whanau. We want to stop all the shootings.”

Smashing someone in the face in the boxing ring is better than shooting them and when you are dealing with undisciplined violent people it does seem like a logical solution as boxing is a skilled disciplined sport when done properly. Civilised people tend to use non-violent sport to compete but gang members are hardly civilised. When Cam took part in a charity boxing match I wasn’t happy. He pointed out how it would raise thousands for charity no matter who won and that it would help him to lose weight and get fit. He was right but I couldn’t help wishing that he had been offered a charity event where people competed in a sport that didn’t cause head injuries.

…”It’s about us coming together as a collective, showing unity. Not everybody is going to agree but for those who do agree it will mean less bloodshed.

…He added: “In order to change there first must be change. This is a start.”

In the future he hoped opposing gang members would be able to have a conversation, rather than a confrontation.

…He said he did not want any more murders or fighting on the streets.

“Bring it to the ring. We will have a rumble in the ring – that’s what it’s all about.”

…Gang-related deaths in Northland in the last year include the death of Kimble Moore in Kaitaia. His body was found six months after he was reported missing. The 48-year-old was a member of the Tribesmen.

The first homicide investigation of the year began on New Year’s Day, after the death of Kaitaia man Lee Rata in hospital. Rata was attacked and badly beaten in Bonnett Rd, in the town the previous night. Lester Pairama, 17, Christopher Mana Manuel, 36, Juanita Rafael Wilcox, 26, and Joseph Martin, 41, all of Moerewa, and members or associates of the Mongrel Mob, have been jointly charged with murder.

Head Hunter gang member 25-year-old Moses Noor Mahanga died of a gunshot wound while he sat in a car on William Jones Dr in October last year.

Two weeks later John Harris, also known as John Boy, from Horeke, was driven by two men to the St John Ambulance station with a gunshot wound to his chest. He died before he could be transported to Whangarei Hospital.

-The NZ Herald

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