NZ Police's Eastern District commander says she can give no reassurance to the public there will be no more gang clashes in the region due to the "unpredictable" nature of those involved.
This follows escalating tensions between gangs on the North Islands East Coast after multiple shootings in the weekend.
Police have been ordered to carry firearms at all times, but Eastern District Commander Tania Kura says she can’t give an assurance more incidents won’t occur.
"I don't think we can give reassurance about anything involving people who are unpredictable, who are undisciplined and who don't respect authority in anyway,” she told a press conference today.
“They don't particularly want to come forward and talk to us. Asking hundreds of gang members to cooperate is a little bit of a stretch to think that that’s just the police that can do that.”
It comes after Sunday's shootout between Black Power and the Mongrel Mob in Taradale where up to 40 gang members were thought to be involved. Gunshots barely missing a two-year-old's car seat.
A 25-year-old man was hurt. He's been discharged from Hawke's Bay hospital and is now in police custody and will appear in Hastings District Court tomorrow.
It's also believed a shooting in Ruatoria on Saturday was gang related, but this weekend's incidents follow on from a string last year.
The Mongrel Mob took over Te Mata peak for a patching ceremony in May.
Turf wars broke out in local parks and shots were fired at the Wairoa police station as well as Napier's health centre.
Police Minister and MP for Napier Stuart Nash says more police recruits have been prioritised to the Eastern District.
“We have a gang problem throughout the country. It's the reason why there' s a lot more resource and focus on organised crime. It's the reason there's a really strong focus on going after those who are pushing methamphetamine into our communities.”
Part of that is a gang focused unit in Hawke's Bay.
But police admit their work is cut out due to rising membership.
“The prevalence of these types of events [is] because the growing number of gang members and the type of activity they undertake, a new cohort of younger members.
"But I don't think the older hierarchy are able to control the same way as they used to, so whether it's reached a crisis point, I think any event that happens like this is a crisis to a point.”
Extra officers have also been brought into the region and investigations into the weekend's shootings are ongoing as police try to calm the situation.