June 14, 2023
Ōpōtiki school closures over-reaction
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says he’s disappointed schools in Opotiki felt they had to close this week because of a gang tangi.
This morning a procession of Mongrel Mob members accompanied the body of former Barbarians chapter president Steven Taiatini from his Opotiki home to the Hillcrest Crematorium in Whakatane where the nehu was held.
Mr Taiatini was killed in what police call a disorder incident on Friday, and there had been fears of retribution.
Mr Jackson says he doesn’t understand why schools were closed.
“Gangs aren’t going to attack schools or anything. Obviously they’re thinking safety so obviouly I’m disappointed the town has shut down. It’s unnecessary,” he says.
Mr Jackson says Police seem to have handled the situation in a reasonable fashion, brining extra staff into the area.