Martin Henry Reuben died in a crash on Tuesday. Photo / Facebook
A man who died in a crash near in Nelson Lakes National Park on Tuesday was a patched Mongrel Mob member – and police are now on alert as other gang members and associates travel to Nelson for his tangi.
Martin Henry Reuben was killed after the vehicle he was in crashed on State Highway 65 near Maruia at about 8.30am on Tuesday.
His family have posted tributes online and have set up a Givealittle fundraising page to help them cover funeral costs.
Reuben will be farewelled on Monday at his home.
The Herald has learned police are on alert for an influx of gang members to the Nelson area.
Sources say “many” gang members and associates are expected to travel to the area to attend Reuben’s tangi alongside his family and friends.
A police investigation into the crash – where a second occupant of the car suffered injuries – is ongoing.
The Herald sought comment from police on the funeral.
Citing privacy reasons they refused to comment.
Meanwhile Reuben’s cousin has set up a fundraising page, seeking donations to help his family.
“Martin had a tragic accident this morning and sadly passed away. We are trying to raise funds to help out the whānau for the costs of the funeral,” she wrote.
“Martin was loved by many and the support from anyone will be much appreciated.”
One of Reuben’s children posted on Facebook that he was her “absolute everything”.
“No words could explain the way I feel at the moment,” she wrote.
“Been crying so much but I know you wouldn’t want me to be upset – I’m doing my everything to get my brothers and sisters through this, just like you would want me to.
“I wish I could give my life for you to still have yours.
“I love you so much and I know you know how much you mean to me… forever thinking of you.”
Another family member said Reuben would be “sadly missed by so many who knew him”.
“He is a fantastic man with a heart of gold,” they wrote.
“I am so glad that he was a part of my life.
“RIP Martin sure as hell gonna miss you cuz.”
Reuben had appeared before the courts over the years and was sentenced to two years in prison in 2015 for his part in an aggravated robbery.
The Press reported the robbery was “nasty and serious” and Reuben – taking orders from the “main offender” used scissors to cut the webbing of the victim’s fingers and used the man’s blood as lubricant to take two rings off his hand.
At sentencing in the Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish said Reuben, then 53, did not have a “substantial history of violent offending”.
He had been arrested in August 2012 for what she described as a violent robbery at a city council housing complex in Avonside.
However, she said Reuben had been “working fairly solidly over the last two to three years to remove yourself from negative influences”.
“That is not easy for a man steeped in the gang lifestyle and culture for a long time,” said Judge Farish at the hearing.
She added that he had made “significant progress” to lower his risk of reoffending.
Mongrel Mob member killed in New Year crash – police on alert as gang members travel for tangi – NZ Herald