Sandwich gang humbled by offers
Gang members have been left speechless by a flood of public support for their programme feeding sandwiches to schoolkids.
That's what the Tribal Huks have been doing for two and a half years. They make around 500 sandwiches every day and drop them off to Waikato schools and kindies, before the lunch bell.
It's what Jamie Pink's most proud of as Tribal Huk leader.
''All the violence aside, this is more important.''
People have offered to help after hearing about the sandwich-making operation and Jamie Pink, the angry man with a soft heart, he's speechless.
''Human words don't cut it,'' he says and he twists his knuckle-duster rings as he tries to think of something to say.
There have been offers to help grow the project, grow veggie gardens, send honey, avocados, margarine, eggs, books, money.
''I wanna say thank you so much for the support. I'm not sayin' we're angels and that, but we're not bad people. We didn't expect this.''
Jamie Pink was fed by gang members when he was young and remembers them as generous people who looked after him and his mum when they had nothing.
''If there was a feed at school,'' he says, ''I would go to school for that feed.''
Yes, he says, it should be the parents responsibility, ''but if you've got crappy parents, you're bloody stuffed aren't ya?
''We truly believe that hungry kids will go to school for a feed and while they're there, they can't help but to learn something.''
This is not recruitment, he says.
''If we thought like that, we're not worth existing, to be honest with you.''
He heats up at suggestions the sandwiches are funded by P. The room goes scary quiet.
''If my boys go near P, they get a boot in the arse.''
Pink was in the news seven years ago when he took to about 10 P houses in Ngaruawahia with a sledgehammer after learning his daughter had been offered the drug in the gang's hometown. He was given six months home detention.
''I'd do it again in a flash. You don't mess with our kiddies.''
Tribal Huk has a large following of young men wanting to become members. Many have grown up as hungry kids and turned into angry men.
Poverty ruins them, he says. ''They never forget it.''
The kids who eat his sandwiches still have a chance and he has hopes that aren't gang hopes for them.
''Hopefully they gonna grow up to be decent citizens - doctors and lawyers. But they not gonna grow up properly if they don't get a feed.''
Follow Aimie Cronin on Twitter: @AimoCronin