Two Northland kids set to represent NZ at world kickboxing champs

A tiny Far North community is making champion martial arts fighters out of sometimes troubled kids, with two of them off to Bangkok to represent New Zealand at the Muay Thai Youth World Champs.

Manu Tepania, 14 and Lfah Trego, 10, managed to qualify for the games despite having had most of their training in a modest garage.

Before Manu started training he used to get into quite a lot of trouble, but the teenager has no time for that now.

"I'm snapping out of it, I'm training too hard," he told 1 NEWS.

Coach Motu Trego coaches up to 30 kids in his backyard, asking only for a small donation to attend.

"My main objective was to get the kids of Whatawhiwhi off the streets there was nothing for them to do here," he said.

The boys will get to test themselves against the best in the world, during the championships in two weeks.

They train in a garage and on the beach, but it hasn't stopped them competing at the world championships in Bangkok. Source: 1 NEWS



'It's all about kaupapa' – Despite scrapping in the ring, gang fight-night friendly and relaxed

Twelve separate gangs were involved in last night's boxing night in Whangarei, with members emerging from the ring bruised and bloodied, harbouring broken bones. 

The aim of the event was to settle hostilities and "get along" following a spate of gang related killings in Northland, and for the most part, the event achieved its goal.

One spectator said the atmosphere was "good".

"Everyone is on the same level. It’s all about the kaupapa," he said.  

Head Hunters gang member Chris Morris told 1 NEWS his nephew was representing Connor Morris in the fight night.

The 26-year-old died on August 3, 2015.

"My nephew... who is a patch member of the Head Hunters also is going in there and representing Connor tonight," Mr Morris said. 

The boxing event in which rival gangs provided the competitors, was so successful that organisers want to make it an annual event.

And while Whangarei Police might not be too keen on that idea, they had to admit the event was largely peaceful, after setting up a roadblock to monitor attendees.

"We've had a successful operation here today," Whangerei area commander Inspector Justin Rogers said.

"A number of arrests, some vehicles have been impounded, but all in all the attitude's been pretty positive."

The organisers are hoping the get-together eases tensions and resolves issues - both large and small. Source: 1 NEWS

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Rival gangs clash in Whangarei - but only 'love and respect' in the ring

It’s not often that police would describe an event in which rival gang members emerged bruised and bloodied, harbouring broken bones as a "pretty positive" night.

But that’s just the assessment of Whangarei Police following a 'fight night', gathering together 12 separate rival Northland gangs under one roof yesterday.

The aim of the event was to settle hostilities and "get along" following a spate of gang related killings in Northland, and for the most part, the event achieved its goal.

"Too much bro, much love and respect," event organiser Tokomauri Hoterene told his rival who had just beaten him in the ring.

"I'd rather have a bleeding nose, broken jaw and missing teeth then going home in a box.

"You take a look in the crowd and you got multitudes of gang members all coming together for the purpose of one cause which is to bring peace and to get along."

In fact, the boxing event in which rival gangs provided the competitors, was so successful that organisers want to make it an annual event.

And while Whangarei Police might not be too keen on that idea, they had to admit the event was largely peaceful, after setting up a roadblock to monitor attendees.

“We've had a successful operation here today,” Whangerei area commander Inspector Justin Rogers said.

"A number of arrests, some vehicles have been impounded, but all in all the attitude's been pretty positive."

It was an organised boxing fight aimed at keeping gang violence off the streets. Source: 1 NEWS