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Gang member killed in head-on motorcycle crash received his patch days earlier

Published in 1%er News

A 21-year-old gang member killed instantly after his motorcycle crashed into an oncoming car had received his patch two days earlier.

Merc Papa-Hugh Lei-Tama Maumasi-Rihari was riding his new Harley Davidson along with about 70 members of the Tribesmen gang when he crashed on State Highway 1, Hurunui, North Canterbury, on Monday.

Maumasi-Rihari, a scaffolder from Auckland, was one of about 80 Tribesmen gang members from all over the country who rode into Christchurch on Friday as part of a national gathering. They were heading to Picton to catch a ferry back to the North Island when the crash happened about 7.50am.

Merc Maumasi-Rihari, a member of the Tribesmen gang, was killed in a crash in North Canterbury on Monday. His facial tattoo stands for North Shore.

His father, Richard Rihari, said his son had been with the gang for about three to four years and purchased a Harley-Davidson two months ago, after upgrading his bike.

Monday’s crash involved a member of the gang heading to Picton with about 70 others.

Rihari last heard from his son on Saturday after he got his patch at a patching ceremony.

“He was definitely in a happy place,” he said.

“He was just showing us the fun that he was having.”

Rihari said his son “put in his work” to obtain his patch. He received a call from another member of the gang within minutes of the crash.

“[It was] pretty numbing. The pain comes in waves.”

It was the third motorcycle crash to impact the family in the past year.

Maumasi-Rihari’s uncle was left a tetraplegic after crashing, while Rihari suffered a head injury in another crash, keeping him off work for over a year.

Rihari said while his son was a gang member he was not a criminal.

“He goes to work every day … he doesn’t deal drugs, we’re an anti-P family.”

Maumasi-Rihari moved out of home in Whangarei to live in Auckland when he was 16 for work, before moving back in with his mother when he was 19.

“Every night he’d come downstairs and he’d hug his mum and kiss her goodnight, he was a real mummy’s boy.”

Rihari said the family had received countless visitors in the wake of his son’s death.

“The depth of his love is what I see at home. There’s just people coming from all over the place to give their condolences.”

Maumasi-Rihari was one of nine children, with five brothers and three adopted brothers. His mother flew to Christchurch on Monday to bring her son home.

“They’re all hurting, they’re all in pain,” Rihari said.

The Tribesmen gang stayed at the Heartland Hotel Cotswold on Papanui Rd, Merivale, after being rejected by at least two other accommodation providers.

Members of the Tribesmen gang descended on Christchurch at the weekend.
STUFFMembers of the Tribesmen gang descended on Christchurch at the weekend.

On Saturday, members of the gang were seen riding en masse in Christchurch and surrounding areas, including Lyttelton.

They drove past Christchurch Men’s Prison, where many of the local chapter, including president Elder Browne, are in custody.

Detective Inspector Michael Ford said police learned about a fortnight ago Tribesmen gang members were coming to Christchurch en masse.

Additional staff, including some from other police districts, were rostered on to keep a close eye on them.

Ford said there were no major issues that could be linked to the gang over the weekend.

He declined to comment about the crash.

The Cotswold Hotel declined to comment about the gang, but said they were “well-behaved”.

In recent years, the Tribesmen gang has been considered a dominant player in Christchurch’s underworld.

Location: New Zealand