Auckland Head Hunters deny slick viral video being used as a recruitment drive

A gang expert and Auckland Head Hunters gang members reject a leading criminologist's view that viral video of a Head Hunters memorial ride is designed to attract new and young members.

The slickly-made production featuring motorbikes, burnouts and gang patches, was posted online a week ago, clocking up more than 200,000 views on Facebook alone. 

Canterbury University criminologist Dr Greg Newbold told 1 NEWS NOW the video is likely to have been produced either with the consent of the gang, or even commissioned by them with the purpose of attracting new members.

"They've got that rap music which appeals to the young gangsters - the old guys ... I don't think they'll like that stuff much, but if you want to recruit young people you have to play the type of music they like," Dr Newbold said.

"I think it's a recruitment drive really, I don't think they're trying to scare other people off, but attract people to their brand.

"They want to up their profile."

But a gang expert, sociologist Jarrod Gilbert, refutes that.

"We may see it as public relations. We may see it as something else, because when it comes to gangs we tend to want to find that, right?" he told 1 NEWS.

1 NEWS today visited the Head Hunters west Auckland headquarters where the bulk of the video was filmed. 

No one wanted to talk to us on camera, but two members said off camera that they're offended.

They said it was no way a promotional or recruitment video, rather they were marking the first anniversary of the death of a senior member and wanted to capture it on camera as a mark of respect and remembrance.

A patched member of the Head Hunters pulls a burnout on his motorbike.
A patched member of the Head Hunters pulls a burnout on his motorbike. Source: Outsiders Films/Screenshot

Three years ago police raided the gang's east Auckland pad, seizing more than $4 million dollars worth of assets. Numerous drugs charges were laid.

And just last year police hit them again. 

Earlier this year police announced an extra 200 officers dedicated to gang-related crime.

Today the police were saying little, just that they're committed to clamping down on organised criminal gangs.

Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis, says the impact of gangs on young people is a worry, but he saw nothing illegal in the video.

"We're always worried about the impact the gangs have on young people. But what I saw was a lot of guys riding around on motorbikes and that's not illegal as far as I know," he said.

Gang members told 1 NEWS they don't need new recruits as they have enough members.

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The video has whipped up a storm, with some calling it a promotion stunt. Source: 1 NEWS

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