9 Apr 2024

Tamatea rugby matches suspended at park near scene of gun attack on players' van

1:28 pm on 9 April 2024
Hawke's Bay Rugby chief executive Jay Campbell.

Jay Campbell says the matches are being transferred to another venue where security can be managed better. Photo: RNZ / Kate Green

Hawke's Bay Rugby have relocated all Tamatea Rugby Club games after an opposing team's van was chased and shot at.

A fiery rugby match between Tamatea and Young Māori Party (YMP) at Bill Mathewson Park in Hastings was called off due to safety concerns.

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 van after the incident. Photo: NZ Herald / Supplied

A short time later the YMP team van was rammed and shot at.

"After reviewing evidence from all parties involved in the incident involving spectators from Saturday's Division 3 game between Tamatea and YMP and meeting with police, Hawke's Bay Rugby have this afternoon confirmed that with immediate effect all Tamatea Rugby Club games scheduled for Bill Mathewson Park have been suspended," the chief executive of Hawke's Bay Rugby Union Jay Campbell said.

"These games will instead be transferred to and played at Tremain Field Napier, where police and security can manage entrance and ground control can be adequately delivered."

He said the safety of its volunteers, officials, players, their whānau and spectators was paramount to Hawke's Bay Rugby.

"Hawke's Bay Rugby will continue to work with both Tamatea Rugby and YMP to get rugby played in front of their communities as quickly as possible."

Campbell told RNZ on Monday that the shotgun attack on the van was "deplorable" and that protocols at the match were not followed.

There were game day protocols that Tamatea clearly had not adhered to when hosting the match, including having a ground controller, he said.

The Hastings YMP was established in 1956 and is not related to the political organisation Te Pāti Māori, nor the Young Māori Party rugby club based in Gisborne.

Police said they were following strong lines of inquiry in their investigation.

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