Dunedin gangs keen for work after burying hatchet

Black Power leader Albert Epere. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Black Power leader Albert Epere. Photo by Craig Baxter.
After burying the hatchet, the Notorious Mongrel Mob and Black Power are keen to take up a council contract and cut some of Dunedin's grass.

The once warring gangs gave a joint submission at yesterday's annual plan hearings, asking councillors to consider giving them a contract to maintain some of the council's green space.

They also asked for access to City Forests to provide firewood for families who struggled to stay warm during the winter.

Notorious Mongrel Mob spokesman Paddy Mason addresses the Dunedin City Council annual plan hearings last night.
Notorious Mongrel Mob spokesman Paddy Mason addresses the Dunedin City Council annual plan hearings last night.
The group's message of wanting to move on from its ''colourful'' pasts attracted strong support from councillors, with Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull urging the two to discuss their business plan with council staff.

Mangu Kaha (Black Power) leader Albert Epere said the plan was aimed at helping up to four people into employment.

''We have all had colourful histories and we are just trying to change things, to be part of the community.''

Given their histories it was ''understandable'' people did not want to employ them, but the council was in a position to change things.

''It's not about us; it's about our kids. We have made a path and now we are trying to change it.''

Mr Epere said doing work for the council's Taskforce Green, after being unemployed for 25 years, made him see the value of having a job.

Speaking about his former life of crime, he said: ''I don't do that business [any more].''

Notorious Mongrel Mob spokesman Paddy Mason said Dunedin was in a ''pretty unique situation'' having the two factions ''together''.

The ''times had changed'' and both sides were keen to make Dunedin ''a better place for everyone''.

The submitters were keen to thank the council, particularly Mr Cull and previous Dunedin mayor Peter Chin, for helping them move in a new direction.

This started in 2008 when Mr Chin initiated dialogue with Black Power and this year dialogue also included members of the Notorious Mongrel Mob.

Mr Cull said it was ''really exciting'' to see the two groups, which were ''normally at each other's throats'', coming together.

He could not say immediately whether they would get the contract, but said their plan was ''positive'' and urged them to discuss the idea with council staff.

Cr John Bezett said the submission was ''very good'' and the plan could be taken ''to the next level'' after discussion with staff.

''I think it's a good idea and I'd like to think it will happen.''

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz


Dunedin Gangs

Well done to the Dunedin City Council, Mr Albert Epere and a good friend of mine from many years ago Mr Paddy Mason for working together rather than fighting each other.

To all of those people who doubt these guys I say Please give them a chance to prove themselves. We all made mistakes and/or bad choices.


Good on 'em

Go hard guys. You can't knock them for trying to provide a better future for their families. Hard work is good for the soul.


Yes, gangs do make money, from illegal activities. The gangs are not going away, so if you can come up with a better idea I would like to hear it. It is all well and good being a critic, but gangs exist across the planet in every country. Always have (in one form or another) and always will. So if you are happy with the status quo, then good luck to you. Personally, I would like to see an improvement in the gang culture in NZ. 

Macedonian troublemakers

The thing about Caucasians is the police look for them. The place is full of crims from the Caucasus, usually 5' 8. Ask that overexcited Police 10/7 guy. Lily123 is right. At least Dn gangs aren't white power.

Gangs of Bogeymen

Well I remember the Bogeymen of the Permanent Way. They checked out the bogeys, and tapped the wheels, of NZR Rolling Stock. Up the line, rough railways gangers repaired sleepers.

Public boogymen who aren't that bad

We New Zealanders like our scary boogymen and gangs have always been one of the top condenders both in the public mind and in the media. However, if they are really so bad then what do they actually do? No gang member has ever personally done me any harm and I suspect that's probably true for most of the people posting negative comments here too.

Gangs often claim to be just ordinary people who live a lifestyle that is a bit different from the rest of us. Of course that isn't the whole story, and some of the negative things said about them probably have some merit.  However, there is probably a lot of truth to the claim they are just normal people too. 

For a group of people who are so roundly made out to be bad guys, they don't seem that bad to me. If they are so terrible then perhaps somebody would like to tell me what they personally did to you that makes them deserve that reputation.

Get informed

Lilly: Sad you say objectors to this initiative are caucasian . Actually gangs offend mostly against minority groups .. read, Pasifica, Maori and Asian. It has all been tried before, and if you read the horrible case of the Christchurch girl's murder recently you may not speak up so uninformed. 

Hit the nail on the head

YeahRightDunedin: You have said what we all know, or should know about these members of a criminal gang...which is what they are. 

Fear breeds ignorance

I'd put my hand up for a firewood delivery. In fact, Moana house already gainfully employs offenders in a variety of jobs. This isn't a new idea. I reiterate my disappointment. And again, I ask the negative commenters, do you know any gang members or criminals and have you heard their stories? I knew personally a career criminal who became a loving and devoted family man. Nearly everyone is capable of change, and the rewards are great.

It is all very nice to be caucasian, middle class and educated and never come in contact with violence, discrimination, crime or poverty. Not everyone has grown up so privileged. Gangs as a group and the actions of individual members are different things. There are also various chapters of each gang. The Notorious chapter particularly has a very successful history nationwide of reform and members have stayed out of prison and enjoyed positive family relationships. As pizzazz said, I can't understand how anyone could be against this? Actually, I do know the answer - ignorance often stems from fear.

ODT - the people are asking for a story about this journey between the mayor and the gangs, and about their reduced involvement in crime. Seems like a great article to write?

A positive force?

Which planet are you on? not the same one as these gangs. Shall we employ them in daycare centres and schools to educate our children so they become upstanding citizens?

There is nothing courageous about this. It is minipulation of the system for a cash gain for the gang coffers.

When they join forces to clean up our city and beaches and parks for no monetary gain for a few years, without the patches and the colours , then, and only then will I see change.

But thats a Tui's ad.


You state "all gangs need to make money" ... You should add "all gangs need a front to cover illegal activity".

Last "trust" these gangs had they syphoned money to buy drugs and traffic them, and then were teaching other factions on how to do the same.

Legitimate you say...... Gangs have no benefits. They are the bottom feeders of society and prey on the weak and vunerable.

End of story. 




How many criminal convictions  have been recored in Dunedin against members of these gangs since the mayors' initiative in 2008? Actions speak louder than words. I see also in today's paper there's a warrant to arrest a violent gang "associate".





Gang workers

I don't understand how anyone could have a problem with this. Gangs exist, and as we know their activities are mostly 'undergound'. For the gangs to be working together and with the element of legitimacy within the community is a positive step forward. 

All gangs need to make money. Anything that increases their ability to earn a legitimate income has obvious benefits. What do people prefer, to pretend that gangs dont exist within our society? Hopefully this will extend into other projects.  

Social worker Dave

I suspect that like most entities top guys get the riches by whatever means they can... and those lower in the pecking order who may even be capable of personal reform may mow grass and deal firewood to keep their wolves at bay.

Who's first?

Anyone game to ask for a firewood delivery?

Disappointing attitudes from some

I am really disappointed to see the negative comments here. It shows a clear lack of understanding of the complex social issues that find form in NZ street gangs. We are all put on this Earth together and instead of judging others, I encourage the critics to try and build their knowledge.

It is extraordinary to see these groups working together and wanting to be a positive force in our community. Why now do some continue to criticise gang members? What do the negative commenters want, if not for all people to be in employment, living peacefully and enjoying their families?

I commend both groups for your efforts. Some of your community do understand what a courageous change you have made, and are supportive and excited for the future.

Good on them

Great to see.

first step

is to get rid of their patches and not call themselves "gangs" then it should be looked at whether they get the contact or not.


What next DCC ? Have you fogotten what happened with the last lot of community funding the gangs got in dunedin?

This really does sum up our Council.

We can't make it easy and encourage good quailty investment in Dunedin yet we will pull out all stops for the gangs.

Maybe the can build us a hotel too?

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