Hon Hekenui Hawira, also known as Hon Reihana, kissed the children as he appeared in the gallery of the High Court in Auckland today via an audio-video feed from a prison holding cell.
He pleaded guilty to firing a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the Sofitel Hotel in Auckland’s Waterfront Viaduct area in April last year.
The high-profile shooting followed weeks of exchanges between Hawira’s Head Hunters motorcycle gang and rival Mongolian gangs, according to court documents. Police alleged that this involved a burnt car and other shootings.
No one was injured in the 9 a.m. shooting at the Sofitel, but it prompted a citywide police response with armed officers and an Eagle helicopter.
A Mongolian member was already staying at the hotel when he showed up to Hawirah around 12.30pm.
He left an hour later and stayed at another hotel but returned to the Sofitel at 7.48am, authorities allege.
The Mongolian member checked out around 9 a.m., spoke with a hotel employee while waiting for a valet to retrieve his vehicle from parking, and Hawira walked through the foyer area and pulled a pistol from his shoulder bag, documents said.
Police allege the man fired two shots, which were later found against the wall just behind where the complainants were sitting.
Hawira refused to speak to police after his arrest, but records say he is New Zealand’s most wanted man.
At today’s brief hearing, Justice Simon Moore tentatively set a sentencing date for later this month.
Others accused of involvement in the shooting will go on trial next week.
– By Craig Kapitan