National | Gangs

Gangs offering prospects up to $20,000 to join

Modern gangs are recruiting new members with ‘starter packs’, a former gang member claims.

Wi Turei Waikari, who was a Mongrel Mob member, says in his day a leather jacket and a pair of gumboots was all gang members needed.

He told Te Ao with Moana that modern gangs are now using a range of attractions to lure rangatahi into gang life.

“That starter pack can be up to $10,000 or $20,000 and a brand new bike,” says Waikari who now works as a cultural consultant and therapist. “It’s a lot of temptation for young people.”

The rise of organised crime and the wealth generated by methamphetamine has also influenced change.

Professor Tracy McIntosh, a member of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, says this includes the style of leadership and chain of command.

“The rank and file are now much harder to control,” she says.

Gang loyalties aren’t as permanent as they used to be, with ‘prospects’ today looking at what gangs are offering before committing to one. Some will also leave one gang for another.