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Bandidos gang expansion a significant development

Bandidos gang expansion a significant development, UC expert says

January 28, 2014

The Bandidos bikie gang expansion into Christchurch is a very significant development, a leading New Zealand gang researcher says.

University of Canterbury (UC) gang expert and lecturer Dr Jarrod Gilberts says the implication is not only for who they are but also as a representation of the ongoing revitalisation of outlaw motorcycle clubs generally.

"The scene in New Zealand had been on a steady decline for more than a decade but is now experiencing an obvious expansion," Dr Gilbert says.

"The Bandidos were first rumoured to be establishing under a former Highway 61 leader in South Auckland in 2012. Now there is no doubt they are here.

"In Christchurch, a new group, the Rock Machine, have been taken over by the Bandidos in a patch over. What this means is the group is more likely to survive over time because the worldwide Bandido nation, as they call themselves, will lend the local chapter support.

"Traditionally around the world the Bandidos and the Hells Angels have been bitter enemies. The Bandidos and the Rebels have also had serious conflicts in Australia. Whether or not these conflicts emerge in New Zealand is unclear, but I do feel that in a growing scene gang violence becomes somewhat inevitable. In a crowded room, somebody is always going to get elbowed.

"The gang scene throughout New Zealand is on an upswing and Christchurch, as it always has been, is a bellwether city. What happens there is often an accurate reflection of what happens nationally.

"In Wellington and Auckland we are seeing the growth of new clubs and the expansion of others. How many of the new groups achieve longevity is impossible to say, but putting on colours is easy - being able to defend them is another story.

"The existing clubs have had to fight for their right to survive and some may be reluctant to see new groups emerge without challenge. While New Zealand has been remarkably peaceful in recent times, the prospect of gang wars is significantly increasing and I believe is inevitable."

An award-winning author, Dr Gilbert has begun work on his second book, looking at murders in New Zealand.

As part of his PhD thesis, Dr Gilbert spent 10 years with New Zealand gangs researching his bookPatched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand, which recently won the New Zealand Post Book Awards People's Choice Award.

He has launched a new Facebook page – Murder: A New Zealand History – to begin writing and researching for his next book.


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