Rival gangs meet to discuss violence and poverty


Black Power and Mongrel Mob members met in Wellington recently to discuss strategies towards making their communities safer and healthier.

Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam has held eight similar hui across the island.

Tam, a former policy analyst, had been involved with the Mongrel Mob since his teens.

He worked alongside four other social workers with gang connections to initiate change within gangs.

“We didn’t come together because of the gangs, we came together because we’re all parents. Regardless of your affiliation, you’re still a parent.”

At each hui, Tam tries to get health and social agencies to come along.

“A lot of our people don’t live in good homes. It’s cold and damp homes. They don’t have good information,” Tam said.

At Wainuiomata Marae about 100 people attended a hui.

It was run by the organisation E Tu Whānau, which works with communities that government agencies often do not engage with.

A member of the Mongrel Mob in Murupara, Tau Kopu-Edwards, said he had heard about the hui and brought his family along.

“We need to make the change for the better, the better for my kids or the other gangs’ kids.

“It doesn’t matter what gang you belong to, it has to benefit them.

“It’s not only through gangs, it’s through our whole community. So, everyone’s on board.

“If they can see what we’re doing then everyone else will jump on board”



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