7 Apr 2024

Shots fired at van after Tamatea v YMP club rugby match in Hawke's Bay

5:32 pm on 7 April 2024
Club rugby shooting: YMP's team van was badly damaged by shotgun pellets after they left their abandoned game against Tamatea at Bill Matheson Park in Hastings.

The YMP team van was peppered with bullets after it left the abandoned match. Photo: NZ Herald / Supplied

Police are investigating after shots were fired at a team van after a Hawke's Bay third division rugby match at Bill Mathewson Park in Hastings on Saturday.

No one was injured, but a photo shared on social media showed a window of the Young Māori Party (YMP) team bus peppered with bullet holes.

In a statement, Hawke's Bay area commander Inspector Lincoln Sycamore said: "An investigation has been launched after a van was shot driving on Willowpark Road yesterday around 3:30pm.

"Those involved are believed to be gang-linked and the shot appears to have been targeted at an opposing gang."

A police spokesman told RNZ that "The damage that you see is consistent with what a shotgun will do, in terms of the spread, with a number of pellets that are fired from a single cartridge."

The statement said there was no risk to the public, and before the shots were fired a "disorder" occurred at a Hawke's Bay rugby club.

Police arrived and separated the parties, Sycamore said.

YMP coach and club captain Guy Taylor told NZME's Hawke's Bay Today newspaper he was in the driver's seat of the van with eight members of his team when they were shot at.

"It's not the first time this sort of thing has happened to us. We weren't expecting it but it doesn't surprise us that this happened.

"I don't know if there is a solution for this sort of thing, this behaviour is becoming more and more common, and it is getting beyond the police to control it."

A witness told media that after a Tamatea Arikinui player was floored by a tackle, young supporters of the team ran out onto the field and pulled out weapons, including knives.

The YMP posted on its Facebook page about the incident, saying that "Unfortunately our game was called off early due to a number of sideline abusers, one who kicked our player while he was on the ground."

"The situation then escalated once the team was back at the changing rooms where one of the Tamatea players called for a fight with a YMP player."

In a statement also posted on Facebook, Tamatea Rugby & Sports Club chairperson Stewart Whyte said the club did not support gangs or have association with gangs.

"We refute claims the behaviour of individuals associated with gangs are supporters of Tamatea.

"The incident, which occurred yesterday after the match between Tamatea and YMP, involved gang members who are not associated with Tamatea and are not members of our club.

"Our committee thanks those present who acted quickly to ensure all whānau were safe until police arrived."

"We would like to extend our aroha to YMP for the events that transpired yesterday.

"Tamatea's stance has always been that we are here for rugby and to manaaki our manuhiri."

The YMP said in its statement that it hoped Hawke's Bay Rugby Union addressed the situation.

"It is disappointing when these type of things happen whilst being hosted by other clubs and is very concerning for our younger whānau and tamariki who enjoy watching their parents/uncles play a game of footy on a Saturday afternoon."

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information was asked to contact police on 105, call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 or share it online using 'Update report' and referencing file number: 240407/9520.

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