Mongrel Mob members lecture Canterbury University students

Sonny Fatu speaks to students. Photo: Katie Harris
Sonny Fatu speaks to students. Photo: Katie Harris
It's not often Mongrel Mob members get to deliver a lecture on a university campus, but that's what happened today at the University of Canterbury.

Several members of the Mongrel Mob Kingdom from Hamilton spoke to criminal justice students on campus in Christchurch today in a guest lecture organised by director of the criminal justice programme Dr Jarrod Gilbert.

Mongrel Mob senior member Mark Griffiths said the group wanted to help students learn about the Mob and what they do.

"It's to enlighten his students about the ever-changing lifestyle of the Aotearoa gangster."

Gilbert, who has done extensive research on gangs in New Zealand, said although it was not usual to have members of gangs on campus, it was incredibly valuable for students.

"I've had gangs in class before, similarly I have police officers come and talk as well. Last year Police Minister Stuart Nash came in. I'll invite anyone who gives knowledge to our students that will set them up for the jobs they're about to go into. This is about preparing students for the industry," Gilbert said.

He said the Mongrel Mob in Hamilton was moving faster in a new direction than anyone else and was at the forefront of the latest gang developments.

Members spoke on a range of topics including work, women in the Mob and the acceptance of homosexuality in their community.

Mark Griffiths shared his story. Photo / Katie Harris
Mark Griffiths shared his story. Photo / Katie Harris
Griffiths said he used to be one of those individuals looking for material wealth, however, times had changed, and the Mob now wanted people to get jobs and even helped put members through tertiary education.

"It's getting out there, and getting a job," Griffiths said.

Kingdom president Sonny Fatu said the mob had moved on from their past and said although they were no "goodie-two-shoes", there had been a paradigm shift within the gang.

"No longer is it about dying for the cause but living for it," Fatu said.

The Mongrel Mob made headlines earlier this year when they stood guard at mosques throughout the country following the Christchurch mosque attacks.

"They were hurting, and we know how that feels when someone shoots up your house because that happened to my house," Griffiths said.

Griffiths' daughter was seriously injured and her boyfriend killed when a gunman stormed Griffiths' home last year, looking for him.

"We were there for 20 weeks, not because we were there for the applause, we were there for the cause."

With one of the biggest turn-outs of the semester, students were eager to hear from members of the gang.

Second year bachelor of criminal justice student Nathan Walker said he was really interested listening to the Mob members.

"It was very eye-opening. It confirmed things we learned in class."

Griffiths said they believed their attendance would benefit students.

"We are just like everyone else, trying to look for a better way to accomplish common goals."

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