Mongrel Mob packs helping vulnerable whānau

By Kereama Wright

Mongrel Mob Kingdom in Waikato is facing criticism for attaining essential worker status. However, King Tuheitia's spokesperson and the Māori Women's Welfare League President say if the gang didn't help this unseen whānau, then who would have?

Rahui Papa says, "The first concern is that there is a redneck movement out there that is absolutely against Māori providing manaakitanga for Māori, by Māori, into Māori homes."

The Mob is operating with the backing of the Kiingitanga and the Māori Women's Welfare League. 

"They are making the lockdown worse with more employment, poverty and vulnerable and these whānau need help," says Papa.

They are carrying out the operation under Raukura Hauora o Tainui as mainstream services are not making it some whānau.

Kapua and Papa are working with the gang under the national Kahukura programme, established by Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha to support whānau during the pandemic.

However, right-wing blogger and former National staff member, David Farrar, has questioned why police would grant Sonny Fatu essential worker status. 

The kind gesture hasn't come without criticism or suspicion with police accusing the Mongrel Mob of using the operation to distribute drugs.

"The leaders of this group are confident this isn't the case," Papa says.

President of MWWL Prue Kapua says it's not acceptable to make these types of judgements.

"Any illegal activity can't be condoned, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about actually delivering kai, we're talking about delivering care packs to those who need it, we're talking about getting educational supplies to some of our tamariki who haven't received them." 

This Friday, gang leaders across the country will meet with police, iwi leaders and state services to find a way forward.