Video: Take a rare glimpse inside Black Power hui as feared gang vows to cut back on crime and build better future for whanau

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A Black Power member says he and others in the gang want to take responsibility for their actions, and a Black Power hui held at the weekend is a step towards doing that.

Black Power members from the lower North Island gathered to discuss how they can clean up their act.
Source: Seven Sharp

Black Power members from Hawke's Bay, Whanganui, Wellington and Taranaki attended the hui and Seven Sharp was given exclusive access to the event. 

Gangs are being targeted as part of the election campaign, with National promising to give police greater powers to search gang members at any time, in a bid to crack down on drug crime.

Black Power is one of New Zealand's oldest gangs and has a long legacy of organised crime and violence.

Black Power member Eugene Ryder said one of the challenges Black Power faces is "that we are tarred with the same brush of others, and when people think Black Power they think gangs.

"We don't see ourselves as a gang 'cause the first connotation that that brings is criminality, and we're not that. We're a whanau, we're - dare I say it - we're an iwi."

Mr Ryder no longer wants that iwi connected with crime, and he's on a quest to get Black Power clean.

"Not many of us as parents want our children to go to prisons," he said. 

Asked is it possible to avoid prison if you're part of the Black Power, he said: " I think yes. Not every gang member is a criminal and not every criminal is a gang member."

Not many of us as parents want our children to go to prisons"
Black Power member Eugene Ryder

The hui gave a voice to Black Power women and children for the first time.

"I vowed and declared that I would always tell my kids that I loved them all day, everyday even if it was five minutes ago, because I never got that," said Rae Whakatutu. She grew up with a father and stepfather who were both members of the Mongrel Mob. Now her husband is Black Power.

Mr Ryder said Black Power has tended not to include its wahine and children but, "hearing their aspirations just encourages us to be that more involved in the affairs of our whanau as a whole".

He also said traditionally Black Power "either don't send our children to school or send them and don't participate in the school community. So we're encouraging change in those areas as well".

He knows these changes will be treated with suspicion by the public but he wants to make the changes nonetheless.

"What we try to portray is that we want to take responsibility for our actions. And this is one of the steps in doing that."

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