25 Mar 2024

Man who died in Gisborne mass brawl was celebrating his birthday

5:33 pm on 25 March 2024
Tributes have been paid online to Chrysler Stevens Mark (left) and Kane Taare-Gray.

Online tributes have been paid to Chrysler Stevens Mark (left) and Kane Taare-Gray. Photo: Supplied

One of the two men who died in the Gisborne mass brawl was celebrating his birthday.

Posts on social media are paying tribute to Chrysler Stevens Mark.

There are also a number of tributes to the other man Kane Taare-Gray, who is pictured online wearing a Black Power vest.

In a police news conference on Monday afternoon, Detective Inspector Dave de Lange said police had identified more than 40 witnesses of the 100 people at the party on Saturday night.

The 21st birthday party had erupted into a brawl after two uninvited guests arrived, police previously said.

A 29-year-old charged with wounding with intent following the brawl was one of the uninvited guests.

Another uninvited guest sustained critical injuries in the brawl. They were in a stable condition in hospital on Monday.

Two other people also remained in hospital - one in a critical condition, one in a stable condition.

De Lange said there were people out there who knew what had happened and they needed to come forward.

Police said while there were gang members involved, this was not an incident involving "rival gang factions".

"This is a very complex investigation with dozens of witnesses to be spoken to and everyone involved remains committed to getting answers for the grieving whānau and our community.

"Again, if you were there on the night, or have information, please contact us as soon as possible."

'They feel like it's unsafe' - Residents fearful after two deaths in brawl

Gisborne residents are fearful for their safety following the incident, while neighbours say the whānau who hosted the birthday party are good people.

Police forensic teams were at the property on Monday, examining cars on the street and have been and coming and going from a number of homes inside the cordon on Lytton Road.

Police at the scene of a mass brawl in Gisborne in which two people died.

A tent is set up at the scene of a mass brawl in Gisborne, where two people were killed. Photo: RNZ / Ashleigh McCaull

Civil Construction worker Daniel Walters, who lives on Lytton Road, said a friend whose house is on a different street, but near where the party happened, decided to stay elsewhere out of fear for her safety.

"She's been staying at her mother's for two days just cause they feel like it's unsafe and they haven't come back to the house yet," he said.

A neighbour of the whānau who did not want her name used described the family as "lovely people" who sometimes take kina over to her grandmother.

She said they were still awake on Saturday night when they heard the commotion outside.

"It was just a whole lot of people in the middle of the road, pretty much. Couldn't see much, it was pretty dark, no lights, just a whole bunch of people screaming, yelling."

She said emergency services arrived within minutes.

She had never experienced anything like this in the neighbourhood before.

Police at the scene of a brawl in Gisborne in which two people died and three were wounded.

Police forensic teams have been examining cars. Photo: RNZ / Ashleigh McCaull

Supermarket worker Tione Williams Tamatea said the double homicide had been the talk of the town.

"There was a lot of chitter chatter in the supermarket about what happened - everybody's got their own little scenario about how it happened.

She agreed the whāanau who held the 21st birthday party were good people.

"They're a pretty good family. We've had no issues with them whatsoever," Williams Tamatea said.

Extra police officers are patrolling the area, and armed police remain at Gisborne Hospital where three people are being treated for stab wounds, one in a critical condition.

Although the party involved Black Power gang members, police said the brawl was not sparked by conflict between rival gangs.

Residents in or near the Elgin suburb where the party was held say they're concerned about the growing violence in the area.