Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mongrel Mob episode of gang series not aired in NZ...

Maori culture has been linked to criminal gang behaviour in a documentary on the Mongrel Mob, part of an award-winning British series on the world's most notorious gangs.

The Mongrel Mob episode will not be aired in New Zealand something which has been widely debated. TV1 is screening the third series of Ross Kemp on Gangs but says it could not buy the episode because it was never cleared for international distribution.

However, it is understood that before Mob members would agree to be filmed, they signed a contract with the British producers preventing the show screening here. Canterbury University associate professor of sociology Greg Newbold was involved in the documentary's research and production and he understood there was such an agreement.

He said the contract would have been signed because Mob members did not know how they would be portrayed and they would have wanted to protect themselves against bad publicity.

The programme, which has appeared on UK television and is available on the internet, has sparked debate around the anti-social consequences of Maori identifying with a "warrior" culture.

It comes less than two years since New Zealand scientist Rod Lea controversially found an over-representation of a so-called "warrior" gene in Maori men. The gene was supposed to predispose people to risk-taking and antisocial behaviour.

Mongrel Mob members spoken to by host Ross Kemp British soap opera star turned journalist attribute their blood lust to a Maori fighting tradition.

Kemp explores the history of the gang, which was formed in Hastings in the 1960s. He follows members into clubhouses around the North Island, and examines their feud with the Black Power gang.

He interviews victims, including the mother of 16-year-old Colleen Burrows who was brutally kicked and beaten to death by Mob members in Napier in 1987.

Members also boast about putting women "on the block", stabbings and other acts of violence.


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