March 25, 2013
Economics not tribalism driving gangs
A Christchurch researcher says there is nothing inherent in Māori culture that leads young Māori to join gangs.
Jarrod Gilbert has just published Patched: A history of gangs in New Zealand based on a decade of research.
He says all around the world, gangs arise out of poverty, over-crowded housing, family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, poor education and high unemployment.
“In popular parlance, there is this idea that Māori were more tribal enough that they had a biological impulse to join gangs. If you look back to the 1990’s, when the economy was at its lowest, reforms from ’84 were flowing through and it started to bite deep into Pākeha poor, not just Māori and Pacific poor, that we saw white gangs form. I think you can look at social and economic consideration, certainly not biological factors that applies to gang membership,” he says.
Jarrod Gilbert says laws targeting gangs are ineffective because of the attitudes of police.
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