Q&A with Marita A. Hansen discussion

Behind the Hood (Behind the Lives, #1)
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New Zealand: Clean, Green...and Gang Violence.

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message 1: by Marita (new) - added it

Marita Hansen (maritaahansen) | 105 comments Mod
People often tell me that my book shocks them,that they thought New Zealand was sweet and safe. Well, every country has problems and gangs are a big issue in some areas of New Zealand.


message 2: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Danilo (jodanilo) Having moved here in Feb, I am just becoming aware of the problems. Yes, from outside, New Zealand is seen as a gentle paradise, but the levels of violent crime seem to be high per capita. If the percentage was translated to a population the size of the UK there would be a big problem. I'd be interested to hear what percentage of New Zealand's violent crime is gang-related. Do you know?


message 3: by Marita (last edited Nov 02, 2011 10:46PM) (new) - added it

Marita Hansen (maritaahansen) | 105 comments Mod
The book Gangs by Ross Kemp says New Zealand has more gangs per head then any other country,with approximately seventy major gangs and over 4,000 patched members in a population of about 4,000,000 people. (NZs population in 2010 was estimated at 4,367,800)


message 4: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Danilo (jodanilo) Holy cow. That's quite amazing. Is it associated with the different iwi in any way, or are the gangs independent of that? Can you be in the same iwi but in different gangs?


message 5: by Marita (last edited Nov 03, 2011 12:39AM) (new) - added it

Marita Hansen (maritaahansen) | 105 comments Mod
Jo wrote: "Holy cow. That's quite amazing. Is it associated with the different iwi in any way, or are the gangs independent of that? Can you be in the same iwi but in different gangs?"

Gangs are different from iwi. An iwi is what tribe a person of Maori descent originates from. It's kind of like saying you're an Aucklander or from Melbourne.

"Iwi" literally means "bone," and can translate to going back to your bones, returning from where you came from: to your ancestral grounds. I read somewhere that the New Zealand book The Bone People has this link between bone and tribal people.


message 6: by Alison (new) - added it

Alison DeLuca | 1 comments This is a fascinating thread. Marita, did you base your characters on people you knew when you were growing up?


message 7: by Marita (last edited Nov 03, 2011 05:43AM) (new) - added it

Marita Hansen (maritaahansen) | 105 comments Mod
Alison wrote: "This is a fascinating thread. Marita, did you base your characters on people you knew when you were growing up?"

Some are influenced by people that I first met as a teenager.


message 8: by Marita (last edited Nov 05, 2011 03:07AM) (new) - added it

Marita Hansen (maritaahansen) | 105 comments Mod
Here's a video that I put on Authonomy when people said that they were surprised by my book, because they couldn't believe NZ was like how I described it. This is one part of South Auckland, Otara I believe, which is not far from Clendon Park (Claydon in my book). The youtube clip is called Gangsta's Paradise-New Zealand. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOWF6e...


message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael Charton | 1 comments Marita wrote: "The book Gangs by Ross Kemp says New Zealand has more gangs per head then any other country,with approximately seventy major gangs and over 4,000 patched members in a population of a..."


I never thought of New Zealand as a place with a major gang problem.


message 10: by Marita (last edited Nov 05, 2011 07:22PM) (new) - added it

Marita Hansen (maritaahansen) | 105 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Marita wrote: "The book Gangs by Ross Kemp says New Zealand has more gangs per head then any other country,with approximately seventy major gangs and over 4,000 patched members in a ..."

It tends to be in certain areas. Whakatane is a Black territory, while South Auckland is very well known for its trouble. I also believe in 2009 the Prohibition of Gang Insignia Act took effect in Wanganui. Last time I heard some people in Whangarei were also trying to push for the ban of patches, but I don't know if it took effect. The Mongrel Mob started out in Hawkes Bay, but I think their well known chapters are in Porirua and Hastings. The Mongrel Mob and Black Power are rival gangs that have had some major clashes. There is also the Nomads, an offshoot of Black Power that have a staunch reputuation that discourages other gangs from coming near them.

There is also the street based gangs which are found in the poorer suburbs. They will also go to other towns to cause trouble, but it's usually to a poor suburb that is close by. It's this type of gang that feature in my book.

But again, as I said the gang problems are localised. Where I moved to in East Auckland (my stay in Singapore is temporary), specifically the nicer areas like Howick, there aren't problems like this.


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