Sunday, November 2, 2008

Critical writings from an O.G

Kia Ora koutou....

I was just doing some online research into Gang culture in New Zealand, partly for my own interests and partly as research for a song I'm working on - then I stumbled across a man by the name of Dennis Oreilly and his blog "Nga Kupu Aroha/Words of Love" ....

I would have to say that this has been the most comprehensive and honest article I have read in any media source with regards to New Zealand gang culture and politics. Oreilly offers us incites that no other mainstream journalist can - being able to be granted access into elusive world of New Zealand gangs. Now I know some of you are thinking "gangs shmangs...blah blah blah" and yes I agree that on the surface it can be a very one dimensional topic. But we are always only limited by the validity and type of information we are fed. Oreilly is still an existing member of the Black Power and works as a community leader and inter gang mediator tirelessly trying steer people away from the trappings of gang life. Not many people can say they have the mana or fortitude to do this type of work but if you read his posts you can see that he is coming from a genuine place.

Of course you don't get a patch from the Black Power by making cups of tea at the clubhouse for the bros and I can tell by the level of respect Oreilly has amongst his peers that he would have been a force to be reckoned with in his prime. He as been able to survive the turmoil long enough to have a sense of foresight and is now using his past to save the futures of others.

One touching article from Oreilly's many is about his trip to Hastings after the killing of baby Jhia Te Tua in what was believed to be gang rivalry between the Black Power and Mongrel Mobb. Oreilly gives a detailed account about meeting the parties involved including the distraught and tearful father of Jhia. Oreilly was also responsible for working with the police in making sure no retaliation attacks were carried out between the gangs. This is the stuff I wanted to know when turning on the 6 o'clock news! He writes with the honesty of and sincerity of a favourite uncle, not bullshitting you or trying too hard to convince you otherwise.

Even if you find it hard to accept that a founding and existing member of one of New Zealand's biggest gangs can make any difference at all or that he actually cares then take the time to read the many articles on the site. You may find that there are people in our communities that have been through the worst and are committed to helping others not make the same mistakes. I myself have family involved in gangs and I know that nothing is what it seems. Whanau is whanau and sometimes the so called "worst" of society are also fathers, uncles, rugby coaches and friends. We all need people like this in our lives regardless of what uniform they wear.

So here's to you Dennis. Ka mihi atu kia koe mo to aroha, me to kaupapa tuturu e pa ana ki te whakapaingia i a tatou tamariki hoki


Mauri ora!


Lisa Loves Life said...

Thanks for this, Flowsion. We definitely need many more dimensions to the story than the one forced upon us by the media. And stories of hope like this are also sadly lacking in the mainstream.

Cat Gwynne said...


Flowsion said...

wow thanks for the responce Lisa, yeah I totally agree that mainstream media are apart of the problem here.

And also thankyou Cat ... It was actually the chats I had with you that made me really want to discuss this topic in detail on the MDTx ...xx