Gangs and author share the same patch
Patched gang members do not generally mix well with rival gangs, nor do they tend to gather alongside university academics, but this was an exceptional occasion.
Members of the Mongrel Mob, Devil's Henchmen, Skinheads, Rebels and Black Power gangs rode into the University of Canterbury grounds last night to celebrate the launch of a book containing their histories.
Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand, by Christchurch man Jarrod Gilbert, is the product of 10 years of research.
The mix of gang members was unusual because those gangs do not traditionally tolerate each other. However, Gilbert said the men were invited guests and people he now considered friends.
"Well, it's neutral territory," he said.
Gilbert, an expert witness in gang-related trials, lead researcher at Independent Research Solutions and a university lecturer, said his close association with gangs allowed him to write an unprecedented account of them across the country.
His "fieldwork" was in gang clubhouses, at parties that lasted for days and at violent situations that left him on the wrong side of sound beatings and, on one occasion, with a knife to his throat.
Patched records a detailed history tracing the roots of gangs from milkbar cowboys in 1950s Auckland to today. It contains never-before-seen material and interviews from gang members, undercover police officers, politicians and lawyers.
Gilbert hopes the book will provide a fascinating insight and inform gang-related laws.
In Mainlander today, he speaks about unorthodox research methods and how he came to be so close to New Zealand's most feared gangs.